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Finances Q&A: Christmas on a Budget

  • Deborah Nayrocker Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2012 12 Dec
  • COMMENTS
Finances Q&A: Christmas on a Budget

Dear Deborah,

Our family is on a limited budget this Christmas. I’d like to cut back on spending yet keep the holiday cheer. Do you have any suggestions? 

How about discussing the idea of drawing names within your giving circle of family, friends and business associates? Decide on a spending limit. Ask people in your giving circle for ideas of what they would like to receive. Then make appropriate gift choices from the list. You can have just as much fun exchanging gifts this way. 

There are many ways to show your thoughtfulness without spending a lot. Give gifts of your creativity and your time. Consider presenting something handmade such as baked items (favorite cookies or treats) or composed (music or poetry). Photos of family members can be framed as gifts. 

Attend holiday craft shows or bazaars for a variety of gift ideas. Choose unique and useful items for the people on your list. By making purchases at local markets, you’re also supporting your local community.

Short of cash? Give a coupon for future services such as lawn care, a special meal or childcare. 

Along with gift-giving, consider sending a holiday letter to family and friends. This is an opportune time to send a letter to keep in touch with the people you care about. 

Here are some tips for writing an effective Christmas letter:

  • Make the letter interesting and newsy. 
  • Write things that you want to be remembered.  Be truthful.
  • Experiment with different letter writing formats: 1) Highlight different types of events, such as the happiest event, the most humorous event, and the most disappointing event. 2) Highlight family accomplishments and activities. 3) Write your letter in a chronological format. 4) Write about significant experiences and the lessons you learned from them. 

My parents wrote Christmas letters. Years later it has been meaningful to read these letters as part of our family history. 

“Letters take time to write, usually much more time than talk. They require a certain level of artfulness and thoughtfulness in expression. Then they remain, to be reread, perhaps to be stored away for another day of reading.”  -Thomas Moore

Copyright 2012 Deborah Nayrocker. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint required.

Deborah Nayrocker writes on personal money management topics, showing others how to take control of their financial future. An award-winning writer and columnist, she is the author of The Art of Debt-Free Living and Living a Balanced Financial Life. Her website is www.ArtofDebt-FreeLiving.com.

Publication date: December 14, 2012

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