Buying gifts for Christmas can be a big – and expensive – exercise. So how about doing things differently this year, and saving yourself emotional and financial stress, not to mention money.
The world over, December is the time when retail sales are at their highest as people do their Christmas shopping. A big part of this shopping is getting gifts for the people we love and care about.
Gifts are an integral part of the spirit of the festive season, but who says only a big shiny gadget, piece of jewellery or toy counts as a gift? As you prepare for your December festivities, take some time out to think about gift-giving, and consider doing things differently this year.
• In big extended families especially, it can be unaffordable to get a gift for every nephew, niece and cousin. Instead of buying something cheap and meaningless just to have a present for every person, consider an experience that a household can enjoy, such as a voucher to go to the movies. Alternatively, take your nephews and nieces on an outing to the beach, or the zoo, or stargazing at the planetarium. For the older ones, a live-music venue where they can discover new bands could be fun. Whatever you choose, such an outing will be an experience to remember and, as a bonus, you get to spend time with the youngsters in your family.
• Think about what would have real meaning to the people on your gift list. For instance, if your brother cannot afford to go home to see your parents this year, make a tank of petrol his Christmas gift. Or if your best friend has a secret wish to play the guitar, get her a few lessons. And that aunt who loves gardening? Get her an hour with a plant expert.
• Make a list of your household’s favourite activities to choose an experience gift. If, for example, you and your partner and kids enjoy camping, everyone’ gift to everyone can be a few days at an extra-special campsite. The money you would have spent on buying gifts for each other goes into your camping kitty.
• Get people things they need – and by this, we don’t mean socks for your husband or a new kettle for your wife. For instance, a family that has fallen on hard times will appreciate a voucher from a grocery store or a back-to-school hamper far more than plastic toys.
• Look for opportunities to give the gift of time. If friends or relatives recently had a new baby, offer your services as a babysitter. You can make it fun by giving them babysitting vouchers they can redeem with you. You can give similar time vouchers to an elderly person who needs help to get their shopping done, or someone who takes care of a handicapped child or parent.
The secret to successful gift-giving is knowing what has value for other people. The five love languages are a very useful tool to help you figure out what to get the people in your life.
Love Language 1: Words of affirmation
Words of praise, encouragement, gratitude and kindness are hugely important to some people. Whatever you get this person, make sure you spend time writing a beautiful card.
Love Language 2: Quality time
For people who value spending time together without distractions, going on outings together will be a precious gift.
Love Language 3: Gifts
If your love language is gifting, you do want something you can touch and feel, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Love Language 4: Acts of service
A helping hand is the best gift for some people. Your job is just to figure out what would help him or her the most.
Love Language 5: Physical touch
If physical touch is your thing, imagine the joy of getting unlimited hugs from your teenage son as a gift this Christmas!Go back