A Frugal Holiday

If I may stray from my usual earth friendly column to my dear audience, I want to wish all my readers a joyous holiday season. I’d like to talk in this column about a topic that a lot of us are facing today, a frugal holiday.

The holiday season is upon us, and no matter what your faith, chances are there will be some gift giving.

With the economy forcing us to tighten our purse straps, many of us are looking for alternatives to the expensive Christmas lists given to us by our eager children whom hope for a great visit from Santa.

Gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive; in fact, some of the best gifts are very low cost or free.

To give a quick recap of my own families Christmas 2006, it was a tight year as we struggled with our finances in an attempt to recover from some unexpected medical bills. Christmas fell upon us, and with tears in my eyes I frantically searched Ebay and the local sale papers and much to my chagrin, I was unable to find what I felt would bring joy to my family within my budget. All in all, I spent under $100 for my family of 5 as well as my extended family who received homemade peanut brittle.

If you’re tight on finances as many of us are, the biggest thing I have to suggest would be to sit down and spend even a few minutes a day to think about that special person on your list. What have they mentioned, even in passing, that would be a great thing to have? Do they have an inside joke that you could pick something up to bring a few laughs? For one of my sons, we had joked about Kevin Bacon and I was able to score the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game on Ebay. Since it’s an older version, I was able to pick it up for under $20. He was thrilled because it brought back a flood of memories from our “inside joke.”

Check out the Dollar Stores in your area. I purchased a basket and wrapped up a great little basket of stationary, pens, pencils, address book etc for under $15 total for my daughter who loves to write.

My extended family loved the peanut brittle so much that I was getting phone calls after Christmas that it was the best peanut brittle they’ve ever had and hoping for some extras this holiday season. It was simple to make, and I was able to purchase the ingredients I needed by watching the sale flyers for the local grocery stores.

Christmas and holidays don’t have to be expensive. It just takes a little thought and effort to bring back the true meaning of Christmas.

Although we had a “inexpensive” Christmas, my teenage son still came to me after and told me it was the best Christmas he’s ever had. To me, that was the best Christmas present I could ever have!

And to throw on my earth friendly spin, just think of the lack of paper boxes and plastic wrap that will clutter up the landfills come rubbish day!

Ann Safford

Ann is a writer who lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three children and a multitude of pets including her dog, two cats, a horse and six chickens.She enjoys writing about natural living, simple lifestyles and frugal living.Her hobbies include spending time with her family, horseback riding and gardening.

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