is the best of times – in the worst of times. The holidays are upon us, and
although we should be rejoicing, most of us find ourselves dreading the coming
face it: these are hard times, and for many who work hard to support themselves
and their families, Christmas is where they see their hard-earned paychecks and
bonuses get blown away in a month-long spending spree.
here are a few tips, which, with a little advanced planning and a few family
resolutions, may tide you over the holidays with plenty of holiday spirit left
Make a list of
persons you intend to give a gift to. Go over the list two or three times and
assign a price range and possible gift items across each name. Don’t hesitate
to further lower the price ranges when you think your budget can’t cope. Think
of gifts that can be shared like table games instead of individual gifts. Note
down, too, where you can buy some specific items so that you don’t run around
like a headless chicken come shopping time.
Shop wisely. Try
bargain centers like Divisoria, Greenhills, and haggle. After all, you have as
much right to get your money’s worth as the seller has to make a profit.
gift-giving. If you’re artistic, you can make a lot of crafts as gifts.
Materials are cheap if you know where to look. Divisoria is usually the mecca of
cards with the kids. It’s not only a good chance to spend time with them. Your
relatives and friends will also appreciate the effort you put into your gift,
even if it’s just a Christmas card.
Believe in the old
adage “It’s the thought that counts.” A gift need not be fancy, as long as
it comes from the heart.
If you plan to give
expensive gifts, buy them as early as January and pay throughout the months
before Christmas instead of after. That way, you don’t have to worry about
shelling out money for installments during the cash-strapped months after
Make your own
wrapping material. Or better yet, recycle. Use cut-up pages from old glossy
magazines or your child’s discarded coloring books. Use plain brown craft
paper and jazz it up with your own designs. Watch craft shows for more tips on
artful ways to recycle paper.
Try a new approach to
gift-giving: Write the names of all family members on sheets of paper. Fold each
sheet and drop in a bowl. Then let each family member draw one name and buy a
gift only for that person. That way, everyone gets a present without being
over-whelmed. You also spend less time opening gifts, and more time talking,
remembering, and just being together.
decorating does wonders. Instead of buying tinsel and ornaments make colorful
paper cutouts to hang on the wall. String some popcorn, thread colorful candies
and jellies and hang them on the tree. Then watch the children enjoy them on
Dye some old socks
red and green. Sew the names of family members on each and hang them in the
living room as Christmas stockings. Come Christmas eve, fill them up with
inexpensive treats. Children will love them.
Even adults won’ t
mind finding little gifts in their stockings-small vials of perfume, a new tie
clip, a pen, a pair of earrings, their favorite chocolate bar. This practice
saves on wrapping paper and boxes, too.
Hold potluck parties,
share the work and expense. With a potluck party, you and your friends get to
try out each other’s heirloom recipes. Draw lots or vote on who gets to be the
Whip up something new
for your Yuletide table. Take down those recipe books from the shelves, dig out
those dusty clippings. You will surely come across recipes that will suit your
budget and please your family’s plate.