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Thinking differently about holiday gift giving

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year-- full of fun, family and friends. But they can also add extra stress and expense. If you’re trying to watch what you spend (or even if you just don’t know what to buy), it may be time to rethink your gift-giving habit and create some new traditions that can be both meaningful and memorable.

Here are some ideas that can keep you in the spirit of the season—and in budget.

  1. Do something together
    Take friends to a restaurant they’ve never been to. Go see a holiday movie or Christmas play. Play paintball as a group. Plan a weekend trip or a visit to an amusement park. Go on a long hike. You’ll get to spend time together and have an experience to remember.

  2. Give your skills
    Know how to do something? Knit a scarf, bake a lasagna or whip up a batch of body scrub. Or, use your skills to tackle an item from their to-do list. Organize a closet, fix a wobbly hand rail, assemble some flat pack furniture. Everyone needs a little help with something.

  3. Pay a bill
    Rather than buy something they might not use, give what you know they’ll need. Get a gift card for a tank of gas. Subscribe to their favorite streaming service. Pay their cell phone for a month. Everyone from your grandfather to your favorite broke college student will thank you for it.

  4. Give “me time”
    Offer to babysit so parents can have an evening out. Watch a pet so friends can have a weekend getaway. Sit with an elderly relative so their caregiver can have an afternoon to themselves. Or just take over the chores for a day so someone you care about can binge watch their favorite show.

  5. Tell your story
    This holiday, why not share your memories? Write in a journal or film yourself telling stories about what your life was like growing up, funny anecdotes about relatives, or favorite family vacations. If you’re younger, spend the afternoon filming your parents and grandparents as they reminisce. It’s something you’ll all be able to enjoy for years to come.

  6. Share an heirloom
    Introduce your nephews to your favorite board game from when you were a kid. Give your daughter a special pair of earrings from her grandmother. Pass on a holiday favorite, like a family ornament, your great aunt’s turkey platter or her secret recipe for banana bread. Chances are, the receiver will enjoy them as much as you did.

  7. Start a savings account
    Instead of purchasing your kids a pile of gifts for holidays and birthdays, put a portion of that money into an account you can pass on when they graduate from high school. A myRewards savings account from Commerce Bank is one great option because it pays you to save.

  8. Have a potluck
    Invite everyone over and have them bring a dish to share. You can do just appetizers, a full meal, or all decadent desserts. Everyone gets to enjoy, and the work (and the expense) is shared.

  9. Do random acts of kindness
    Challenge your whole family to do at least one random act of kindness during the holiday season. Then when you get together, tell each other what you did. Pay for someone’s coffee or toll. Donate blood. Leave a bag of laundry detergent and quarters at the laundromat. Take cookies to the firehouse. Write to a soldier.

  10. Split one big gift
    Talk to your family about sharing the expenses on a gift you all can enjoy—whether that’s a family portrait, a group trip, or research to do a family tree.

Also See:

Ways to spread holiday cheer by giving back

Affordable ideas to have fun indoors this winter

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