Creative Gifts

by mike on December 20, 2009

As I saw yet another Christmas-themed tv commercial the other night, I guess it’s time to admit that is it officially the Christmas shopping season.  This reminded me of my gifts tirade I usually give when I am coaching my clients.  When my clients send me their initial monthly expenses list, the gifts section is often left blank.  I have come to realize this is because they don’t know (or maybe want to admit) what they spend on gifts.  Go ahead, start adding up what you spend.  Scary, isn’t it?  Now, if you have plenty of money and are out of debt, then I say spend as much as you want on gifts.  But, for those of you who are trying to get out of debt and get your financial house in order, it’s time to get creative.  Below are several ideas of great gifts to give without spending much money.  In fact, most of them involve your time which is more valuable to others than money or things anyway!

1.      Coupon Queen (or King).

My favorite inexpensive gift idea is the coupon or coupon book.  Go to Staples or Wal-Mart and get a coupon book.  Make your own coupons to give to your loved ones that will be something they greatly appreciate.  For example, I have given Mandy coupons for me to clean the bathroom for her or take care of all the kids’ needs for an entire morning so she can sleep in or do whatever she wants.  She can redeem the coupons anytime she wants.  Trust me, she appreciated both of those gifts more than any jewelry I could buy her.

2.     Date Night With a Twist.

This is an especially good idea for husbands to give your wives.  It starts with finding a babysitter for the kids.  You arrange someone to watch the kids so that you can have time alone, in peace and quiet for once.  Then, make dinner.  If this greatly frightens some of you, that’s ok.  Make something simple and you will be fine.  Set the table up nice and light some candles.  You can even rent a $1 movie for a full dinner and a movie experience.  This is a much cheaper option than spending $40 going out to dinner and at least $20 at the movies.

3.     What would you like for dinner?

Another great idea for husbands and wives is for whoever does the cooking to offer the other spouse a certain amount of dinners cooked where they get to choose the menu.  For example, for my 29th birthday, I got to choose 29 different things for Mandy to cook or bake over the next few months.  This is great because it can come right out of the regular grocery budget.

4.     Sleep Over!

This is a great gift for nieces and nephews or even grandchildren.  Have your niece, nephew, or grandchild over for a night of fun.  Cook their favorite meal, play hide and seek or other games all evening and just have a night of pure fun.  If they have a cousin near their same age, they can invite them along for even more fun.  Not only will the youngster have fun, you will have fun acting like a kid again.  This costs very little and is something they will remember for years to come.

5.     Artsy.

Unfortunately, this usually is not an option in our home.  But, if you or your spouse have artistic ability (we don’t), making something for someone can be really special.  The recipient will be sure to love their gift knowing that you spent the time and effort making something for them.

The above are just a few options that come to mind.  There are hundreds of others if you just get creative and think about what would really be special for someone.  It will most likely be different from person to person.  Your four year old daughter will cherish something different than your sixteen year old nephew.  Tailor your gift to the recipient and somehow give of your time and they will be sure to cherish it for years.  Before you feel it necessary to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars this Christmas, consider giving your bank account a rest and using your creativeness instead.

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