Creative Ways to Give Gifts During the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

| December 7, 2012

Christmas, Hanukkah and the other winter holidays are just around the corner, and many of you may be wondering:  how can I give the special people in my life gifts without breaking the bank?  This article is meant to be helpful to you in that endeavor, so read on!

If you are trying to be creative and thrifty with your gift-giving, the first step is to be thoughtful.  It’s easy to pick up a gift card to a restaurant or store and put money on it.  But what if, instead of buying a gift card to a favorite restaurant, you give a lovely, hand-decorated “I Owe You” promising to make a special dinner for the person.  This way, you spend less money, you get the opportunity to spend quality time with the gift recipient and, if there are leftovers from the special dinner, you have a meal for another day.  So, be thoughtful in coming up with gifts for your friends and family.

Consider offering homemade gifts this year.  You can do anything from making a baked good, such as banana bread or pound cake or cookies, to making a recipe book for that friend who loves to cook, to doing something special with pictures you’ve taken throughout the year, such as making a calendar or memoir book.  If you sew or knit, consider making a scarf or table runner or something similar that you can make in time for the holidays.  Homemade gifts like these will cost you less money than you would think, requiring, instead, an investment of your time.  Plus, homemade gifts demonstrate to others that you have spent time thinking about them and creating the gift that you present to them.  Often times, these sorts of gifts feel more special than store-bought items.

If handmade gifts don’t strike your fancy, consider donating to a charity in the name of your gift recipients.  There are so many charities around, and, often times, a few cents a day are all that are needed to change a person’s life or help with environmental betterment.  Consider the following examples of great charities:  St. Jude’s Hospital helps kids with cancer; Save the Children helps kids under the age of 5 with vaccinations and other health needs and cares for pregnant women in the poorer countries around the globe; Breast Cancer Research Foundation awards research grants for efforts to research and develop prevention methods and treatment for breast cancer; and Women for Women International supports women in war-torn areas with financial and emotional assistance, job-skills training, educational assistance and small business assistance.  These are but a few of the organizations to which you can make donations in the name of a friend or family-member for the holidays.

Another alternative for less-expensive gifts for the holidays is to check garage sales, thrift shops and discount websites for pre-owned and discounted items that will make good gifts for your friends and family-members.  Be sure to shop around and look through all of the available items.  This way, you will not overlook any gem of a gift that would be perfect for that special someone.  Finding super deals at garage sales and thrifts shops can take a bit of time, but the reward is quite worthwhile when you find that perfect gift.

If these suggestions still don’t lead you to the gifts that you want for others, remember the tips from the August 2009 issue of Afrikan Goddess:  shop around, take advantage of layaway options and shop clearance items.  These methods work best if you have a bit of time before you need the item and can result in great savings to you.  Remember to be thoughtful and creative, even in selecting these gifts.

At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts.  Remember that mantra this holiday season.  Your friends and family will love you no matter whether you give them an expensive gift, a handmade gift or no gift.  Be certain to spend quality time with your friends and family, if you can, and remind them of how much you love them, as that is a treasure upon which no price tag can be placed.  Happy Holidays!

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Adwoa Awotwi

Adwoa Awotwi is a Ghanaian-American, born in New York, New York, raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Awotwi practices law in Atlanta with a mid-sized law firm, focusing her practice on securities regulation, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, investment management and general corporate advice. She was featured as an “Up & Comer” in the June 2008 issue of Atlanta Woman Magazine, in large part because of her pro bono and community service interests in activities that will allow her to interact with young people, with a focus on education. These interests have led to her service on the Board of Truancy Intervention Project Georgia, Inc. and her volunteering as a legal representative and mentor with the Truancy Intervention Project. When she’s not working, volunteering or writing for AG, Ms. Awotwi enjoys reading, watching various sports, working out, listening to music and playing with her dog, Lagniappe.

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