‘Tis the time of the year again when we all go out of our way just to give something special to our loved ones – family, relatives, godchildren, co-workers and friends. We may be feeling generous too to pitch in something nice for the manong who attends to our daily parking in the morning, the ate who diligently keeps our comfort rooms clean, or the runners we send to the bank for our cash transaction needs, as a gesture of appreciation. The list could go on and on. The spirit of the season of giving is so empowering; we sometimes tend to overdo it. Before we know, our salaries and bonuses have been depleted, leaving many of us large in debt at the start of the year.
Celebrating the holidays, however, does not need to be expensive. As a popular Christmas song goes, we can have a little and merry Christmas at the same time. We can still give thoughtful gifts without wreaking havoc to our budget. We simply need to be aware of the expenses creeping behind and be cautious to avoid them. All it takes is a little imagination and creativity and, not to mention, planning. Below are some practical gift-giving strategies to keep in mind:
Make a list and check it twice. Instead of giving a present to each and every member of your lineage, maybe you can consider giving a present per family or limit the gifts to the children mainly. Christmas is, after all, for their enjoyment.
In the office, maybe you can opt to have an exchange gift instead of giving every co-worker a gift. This way also, everybody goes home with something of considerable value.
Avoid the holiday rush and the unnecessary stress that it brings. Shop for items the whole year round, if you have the money anyway. Scout for good bargains in bazaars and buy in bulk to avail of discounts. Prepare a list of items to be purchased beforehand to minimize trips to the store.
Do your own packaging and gift wrapping. Packaged products on sale at the stores are usually more expensive.
Before buying a new roll of scotch tape, a reel of ribbon or a set of Christmas tags, check if you have excess packaging and gift wrapping supplies from last year and be sure to exhaust them first.
You may want to try using boxes and wrappers made of natural and/or recycled materials for packaging. Be original and creative.
Consider giving personally crafted items or homemade treats such as baked brownies or crinkles. These are not only made with natural ingredients but made with love. People will certainly appreciate the time and the effort that was put into preparing these gifts.
The advent of technology has made communication easy and in real time. Consider sending an e-card instead of paper greeting cards and posters to loved ones here and abroad. It’s not only cheaper but it is also one way of saving on paper and the trees used in making them. Go green.
Make a holiday donation budget. Save a penny or two every now and then for your Christmas gift-giving plans. By the end of the year, you’ll be surprised at how much it adds up to.
Stick to your budget. Avoid the temptation of loaning just to buy extravagant gifts to impress. We are not measured by the size or the price of the gifts that we give. Truly enough, it’s the thought that counts.
Finally, remember that what really matters are not the material things we give or receive on Christmas day but the warmth of the company of people dearest to our hearts, celebrating with us in this most wonderful time of the year.
These tips are already late, but I love to share what I’ve just learned this season of giving gifts. xD