Celebrating Christmas on a Budget...
Now a days....it's a well accepted fact that economic crisis is being experienced anywhere. The cost of living is getting higher. Cost of foods, clothes,shoes and other personal stuff is killing our pockets and hard earned money. Sometimes...we find ourselves faced with so many financial problems ... but we also do not want to deprive ourselves of the joys of celebrating the holidays. After all, this is the best time of the year to celebrate with family and friends. I myself wanted to have a meaningful celebration. I do not want to pass any occasion unnoticed. But..Christmas should not be equated with money. There are lot more ways to celebrate Christmas without causing a pain to our pockets and not bringing ourselves to more debts that we will surely be facing for the coming year. The following are my ideas on how to celebrate a meaningful Christmas without over spending....
photos courtesy of google
- Gift giving is a traditional way of celebrating Christmas and I myself do not want to take it out from my list. However, there are so many ways to give gifts to family and friends without causing you to spend much. Try home made gifts. I already mention this one on my previous blog. If you are good at cooking try giving foods as gifts. It can be some sweets, cakes, bottled preserves, bottled acharas, a special dish, home made cookies or it can be some jars of dried herbs. This can even be more special by adding a personal message printed on a cute and decorative paper. Packaging is the secret. Make it cute and attractive. This will surely be a winner! Relatives like parents, grand parents, or even friends who are also mommies will definitely appreciate these kind of gifts which are considered a labor of love.
- You can also give a kind of gift which has something to do with the recipient's hobby or life style. If she is into cross stitching, try to give some cross stitch set even the small one. If your friend is so madly in love with gardening, try to pick a cute jar or pot from a garden shop and plant it with something that can be derived from your own home garden. Potted herbs in cute pots is also another alternative. If the person is someone who adores pictures...try to make some collage of his/her own photos and put them on a nice picture frame. The options are endless...all you need is time, attention, a sense of creativity and a small amount of money.
- For a change, you can also try a Christmas gift in a form of vouchers or gift certificates that they can use for a free "spa" service, salon service, a special massage, or a movie ticket for two.
- For "noche buena" and "media noche", try to cook and prepare foods which are tasty, nutritious and easy on the budget. It's the presentation that matters. If possible, just get away from the traditional foods that are so expensive. Try to scout for some recipes on the net that are unique and special.
- Instead of going to malls and get lured with buying unnecessary things, why not opt for a walk in the park, a picnic, or an early morning walk in the beach where you would only be required to bring a light breakfast with some breads, fruits and coffee, then be back home for lunch.
- For traditional family reunions, instead of hosting the whole gathering, you can suggest each family to bring a special menu of their choice which can be put in all together on the buffet table.
- If giving gifts to each member of the entire clan is such a pain in the pocket. Suggest to have"exchange gifts" instead so each person will only be required to bring one gift. Those who are well off can sponsor some gifts that will be distributed in a form of raffle draws.
- Do some house cleaning and decluttering in the house. Goods or items that were found to be of no use like old books and toys which are no longer applicable for your kids, old wardrobes that are still good but are not being use and some personal stuff that just collect dust in your cabinets, can be packed for give away to street children or less fortunate families within the neighborhood. Organize a gift giving activity with your kids and let them have a feel of the true meaning of Christmas.
- Hear mass with the whole family.
Christmas is a special occasion and not merely a season of spending and over joying with lavish foods and material things. The true meaning of Christmas should always be incorporated in it's celebration.
After all, it's the thought that counts... :)