Things will be tight in many households these holidays, and spending hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on gifts when youíre struggling to pay the bills and keep things comfortable at home seems a bit over the top. When money is an issue, you donít have to take out loans and max out credit cards to pay for everything on someoneís list. You donít even need to make a list. You can celebrate the holidays
with far less this year than you have in the past and still enjoy the celebration.
Just like your parents can have a big pot luck Christmas
party at their house to cut costs for everyone at Christmas dinner, you can have a pot-luck party at school. If you have a teacher or club room you can use, invite your friends to join you in the pot-luck party. Tell them youíre bringing the main dish Ė some ham you made at home or a great pasta dish. Let them bring other items so that there is a huge collection of things you can share for the last lunch before Christmas
If you have access to a microwave, great, but you can do this without even heating food. Someone makes finger sandwiches, someone makes fruit salad, someone has some chips and dip and someone else brings dessert. Simple, fun and a great way to celebrate together without spending money on individual gifts.
When your parents start looking a little haggard thinking about buying gifts for Christmas, sit down as a family and talk. Santa can do his thing, but as a family, perhaps all of the gift money that you would normally spend on each other can be pooled for some family gifts.
Buy a new television for everyone to share instead of trying to spend on everyone. A new Wii and a few games can fill a Christmas budget these days, but the whole family can find a game they can enjoy together on the Wii. If your budget is a bit larger, you might take a trip together as a family instead of getting any gifts at all. This works especially well when you have a family with teenagers and older children who can see the bigger picture instead of the smaller gifts they might not be getting.
Old Fashioned Christmas
A century ago, families werenít rushing about buying ten or twelve presents for every person on their list. They made small gifts for each other or picked out one special gift. Make an agreement with your family to have that old fashioned Christmas Ė one special, often not very expensive, gift for each family member. If you force everyone to work together and to chip in on the gift, you can pick something truly special that you all will be pleased to see the recipient open on Christmas morning Ė perhaps itís time that it really is the thought that counts.