The custom of giving gifts can create pressure for a lot us. It can be an added financial drain particularly in the current economic climate. As well, there are the issues that arise when nephews, nieces, etc. get married or have kids – the gift list seems to multiply! Of course, giving gifts is meant to be joyful, not stressful. So, why not restore some of the joy and take away some of the anxiety by opting for some inexpensive and meaningful alternatives to store bought gifts. Here are some ideas.
Make a donation of time or money to a charity in the name of the gift recipient. This is very easy to do. Most charities allow you to make a donation as a gift to a loved one and will provide you with a special card or memento to give to your loved one. It will remind them of the charity donation you have made in their name. Alternatively, you could create your own card for your loved one describing the donation of time or money which you have made in their name. It will make the gift recipient feel good to know that they are helping someone else.
Handmade gifts are inexpensive and meaningful. There are lots of options for easy to make and practical gifts that the receiver will really appreciate. Besides the popular and useful idea of a knitted scarf or socks, you could try making a book mark, a travel storage pouch for jewellery, a photo frame or album, or a trinket box. You can often find free instructions for these types of projects online. Use recycled fabrics and materials for a useful, inexpensive and meaningful gift option.
If you live close to the gift recipient, why not simply invite them over for a meal? There is nothing more valuable than spending time together. If you like cooking, a meal cooked from scratch is a sure way to make your guest feel special. And, who can resist a specially made birthday cake? Making a meal from scratch tastes extravagant because of the time you have put in. Yet, raw ingredients such as produce, flowers, eggs, etc are cheap to buy. A home-cooked meal is an affordable and worthwhile alternative to a store bought gift.
A final idea is an ideal solution if you are overwhelmed by the way your gift list has grown over the years. Instead of buying individual gifts for each member of a family, buy a family gift. For instance, why not give a gift certificate to a favorite family restaurant or activity? This idea works well at Christmas and other gift giving holidays. It brings the family together and can cost much less than lots of individual gifts.