Have Yourself a Very Creative Christmas
10 Ways to Stretch Your Savings and Touch Their Hearts
by Anita Agers-Brooks
Shh, don’t tell. I’m going to let you in on some of my creative Christmas secrets this year. These are gifts I’m giving members of my own family and circle of friends.
The ideas were born out of necessity. In the past few years, life blindsided us with a couple of large, unexpected financial curves, and the medical bills from my husband’s April heart attack sent us into a monetary tailspin. We’ll pull out of it, but sometimes, all you can do is grip the wheel and ride until God puts you back on a straighter course.
These unforeseen circumstances forced us to pinch our holiday pennies even more this season. Instead of feeling bad about it however, I’m quite enjoying many fun discoveries.
It takes me back to our first, young years together, when money was tight but we were loaded with love. Back then, our gift giving reflected a spirit of gratitude and joy, and now, we are getting the blessing of experiencing the same things afresh.
After celebrating the beautiful gift of Jesus Christ, my husband’s survival is the most treasured present I will receive this year. It’s all a matter of perspective.
So when your heart feels more generous than your wallet allows, how do you lavish love through giving?
I’m glad you asked.
If you have a long buying list for Christmas, or you aren’t sure how to stay within budget while making certain everyone gets a gift, I have good news. You can have a very creative Christmas while stretching your savings and touching the hearts of those you care about.
Through research, I’ve discovered ten great gift ideas, many inexpensive, while a few are even free. To make them even more special, add the warmth of personal touches. I’ll offer ideas for those as well.
I think like me, you’ll find you not only save stacks of cash, but by putting this kind of thought into your giving, you will definitely be blessed—and so will the receiver. When you read through the following suggestions, I think you’ll understand what I mean.
10 Ways to Stretch Your Savings and Touch Their Hearts
52 Things I Like About You: Take a deck of cards and a permanent marker, then on each card, list something you like or love about the person you are gifting. Throughout the year, your recipient can shuffle and pull, or read one weekly in order—either way, he or she will appreciate your kind acknowledgements and personal compliments.
Think of Me Meal: Write out one of your specialty recipes, buy the staple ingredients, and make a basket so the person you give it to smiles as she prepares a convenient home cooked meal that makes her think of you.
Free Babysitting Coupon: For couples with children, give them a certificate for a date night and your commitment to watch their kids. But go a step further, include a few tips for maintaining a successful relationship and/or a prayer for theirs specifically.
Gratitude Plate: Take a plain, white dinner plate that can be baked in an oven, write a message of thanksgiving on it with a permanent marker. Bake 30 minutes at 150 degrees. It’s the gift that will keep on giving gratefulness.
Hot Soup Mug: Fill a large mug with a packaged soup mix and small bag of crackers. Write a note with a warm greeting.
Movie in a Jar: Fill an empty jar with movie tickets or a DVD, microwave popcorn, candy and a coupon saying you will watch with them at a pre-scheduled time.
The Story of Us: Write a condensed version of your special moments with the gift recipient, the traits or talents you especially appreciate in him or her, or a shared dream.
Uninterrupted Attention: Create a certificate for two hours or more of uninterrupted time together—no phones or other electronic devices. Offer them a Daycation, Weekend Getaway or Playcation with you. Even better? Suggest you spend this quality time giving to the poor or serving those in need.
Spicy Life: Nacho Run of the Mill Gift: Buy a microwave safe dish that can be used for making nachos, fill it with a bag of tortilla chips, canned cheese, jalapeños and salsa. Add a note praying they experience a year of zest and zeal.
Blessing Cookies: For a truly unique gift, make a batch of homemade, personalized fortune cookies, especially good for those who may have everything else. (I prefer to call them Blessing Cookies, as I suggest you insert customized notes of prayer, blessings and/or Bible promise Scriptures inside each one.) For the recipe, and to find other inexpensive gift ideas, follow this link: anitabrooks.com/creative-christmas-ideas-when-money-is-tight
This holiday season, why not give yourself the gift of staying within budget? You can start the new year right, with no big credit card bills and the satisfaction of knowing your loving effort made lasting treasures. A creative Christmas isn’t just good for your bank account—it’s also great for lowering stress, strengthening bonds and touching hearts. After the year I’ve had, a peaceful holiday sounds wonderful to me.
Anita Brooks motivates 21st century women and men to dynamic break-throughs, blending mind, heart, body and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, Certified Personality Trainer and Common Trauma Expert. A multi-published, award-winning author, Anita’s titles reach a wide range of audiences in the Christian and general marketplaces. She fulfills her mission to help people make fresh starts with fresh faith, sharing hope and healing from the page and the stage. Connect and keep up with Anita on social media or at anitabrooks.com. Email <http://www.privatedaddy.com/?q=YmdfZ1B-2BbXx-2BWFpvRW1gTXofVDtxZUt1ZA-3D-3D_404> for more information.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.