Katie from Rolla, Missouri writes:
Everyone else in our family makes a lot of money and buys expensive Christmas gifts for us. I’m getting ready to become a stay at home mom, which will stretch us even more. I’m wondering how to buy presents for the rest of the family without looking ridiculous and being embarrassed. My husband and I can have Christmas without lots of presents, but the extended family gatherings are stressing me out financially. How can we get around this and still seem generous?
You can save money on gifts by shopping wisely and presenting them nicely. Here’s a perfect example: One time I found my mother in law’s favorite bath gel on clearance for $1.00 instead of the $8.00 it normally costs. I bought all they had left and then, for several holidays, I made nice gift baskets with new items from the dollar store, yard sales and the thrift store. She would never have known that the $30 value only cost me $5-$7 for each one! Of course, we put the money we would have spent toward paying off our credit cards to get out of debt instead of just spending it.
Buy family or couples gifts instead of individual ones. Present the whole family with a fun game and maybe a basket with popcorn and some hot cocoa mix. Give a couple a pair of tickets for a movie with a coupon for free babysitting. Of course, you could always suggest things like drawing names or just getting things for the children or something like that.
Listen to what they like. Then keep your eye out for good deals at clearance aisles, thrift stores and yard sales. If someone collects something small, make up a nice little gift with several of those small things. Here’s a good example: My daughter collected penguins last year. We collected several over a few months and then made a nice box filled with penguins for her. She never knew and wouldn’t have cared that the cost was only a couple of dollars. It made a huge impression because it was something she liked and because of the way we packaged it.
Remember when shopping for gifts, it’s not so much how much you spend but how you present it. If you think about it, when you pay more for something at the store, what you’re often paying for is just the presentation. Sometimes you can make a small or inexpensive gift seem like it cost more by the way you present it or wrap it.
Also remember you don’t always have to spend money for gifts. One of the gifts I treasured most was a set of pillow cases my husband’s grandmother gave me. She had made them as a young bride and stored them away. It wasn’t even the fact it was homemade because I embroidery my own pillow cases all the time but it was more precious because it was a family heirloom – something of hers- that could be passed down. You could do this with anything. My grand kids mention knick knacks they love and different things. As they get older I will tuck the thing they loved in with something else little for a really nice gift.
photo by: voxtheory