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Creative Celebration Tips for the Holidays

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It 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 season. 

Let’s 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. 

But 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 over. 

·     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. 

·     Practice creative 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 crafts materials. 

·     Create Christmas 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 Christmas. 

·     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. 

·     Resourceful 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 Christmas morning. 

·     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 host. 

·     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.

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September 20, 2017

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