5 Alternatives to Spending Money on Christmas Gifts

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

The holidays often come with tremendous pressure to buy gifts for loved ones. During this time, most people feel pressure to give the best present and make a good impression. However, this expectation can come with a big price tag. Rather than going into debt to show how much you love your friends and family, try to find alternate ways to demonstrate your love. Here are a few suggestions for how you can show others you care without breaking the bank.

1. Volunteer

Christmas is not only about friends and family, but also about the people in your community. Offer the less fortunate the gift of your time and talents. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter or offer your expertise to members of a community in need. Make volunteering a group activity by inviting friends and family to join you. This is a great way to show younger family members the value of giving back and remembering the needs of others. One place you can search for volunteer opportunities is Volunteer Match.

Be aware that finding volunteer opportunities at a major volunteer organization during the holidays may be challenging. Organizations such as the Salvation Army tend to be popular among holiday volunteers, so you may have better luck volunteering at local community organization. If you desire to work with a larger organization in the future, consultant and communications expert Jayne Cravens recommends inquiring about opportunities at least four months in advance.

2. Donate

Instead of making Christmas about spending money on expensive gifts, redirect your money to a charity. Making a charitable donation is a great way to celebrate the holidays. Just make sure to thoroughly research the charity so that you don’t get scammed. Many organizations are doing wonderful things, but it’s still wise to do your research and make sure that your money actually goes where it’s supposed to. Charity Navigator and Select Check can help you learn more about a charity and how donations are spent.

3. Make your own gifts

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Put your talents to work. If you have a knack for arts and crafts, consider making gifts for your loved ones. Making a gift will mean more than a store-bought present. It shows you care enough to take time out of your day to create something special.

4. Re-gift

Did you receive a gift that you never use or don’t like? Then give it to someone who may love your unwanted present. This will not only make someone’s day but also free up some closet space. If you have some reservations about re-gifting, don’t worry. A survey by American Express found that more than three in four consumers thinks re-gifting is OK. Just make sure your gift is in excellent condition. Even though it’s the thought that matters, it’s not so thoughtful to re-gift a used or badly worn item. Also check and make sure that you don’t re-gift an item to the person who originally gave the gift to you.

5. Opt out

You also have the choice of not purchasing gifts for anyone. This is a smart choice, considering the fact that the average American spent $882 on Christmas gifts last year. Let your friends and family know that you would rather spend time with them than shower them with costly gifts that may get returned or remain unused. You can show your appreciation in other ways, like offering to cook dinner or troubleshoot a computer problem. Be creative, you’ll be richer for it.

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