Five ideas for a giving holiday

Happy Holidays! Let’s all remember that the holidays are not about “stuff” – the holidays are about family, friendships, appreciating what we have, and focusing on what is important to us.

Most of us have a lot to do, but less money than ever. Here are five quick and inexpensive ideas for a more fun, frugal, and giving holiday:

* Personal gifts. Kids and crafty adults can offer home-made baked goods, quilts, drawings, paintings, and more. How about a live plant or flowers – remember to include instructions for care.

* Framed children’s art. If you have school-age kids, ask them to create a drawing or painting. Present it in an inexpensive frame, along with a photo or handprint.

* A family guestbook. Buy an inexpensive journal, whether it’s sophisticated or funky. At the holidays, ask everyone to sign their name, and add a short note, comment, or good wishes. It’s a great way to remember special occasions, and you can pass it on to children and relatives. This idea came from Leslie M. M. Blume’s blog and book, “Let’s Bring Back.”

* A $20 Secret Santa. Why not start a Secret Santa tradition? Just set a dollar amount, and everyone secretly chooses one person or chooses numbers out of a bowl. You won’t have to buy gifts for everyone, and you won’t worry about forgetting anyone.

* Holiday potluck dinners. Who says you have to do it all? Instead of hosting a holiday dinner, ask everyone to bring an appetizer, entrée, or dessert. It’ll lessen your stress without lightening your pocketbook.

What are your favorite Christmas and winter holiday traditions? How can we save a little to share a little more?

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