Make your Christmas season a KISS – keep it simple season. You can keep Santa in the season with simple, low-stress ideas that keep your budget in the green.
Social and commercial pressures to buy, buy, buy from October through December seem to increase every year. In a down economy, many people are down-sizing their Santa budget.
Here are our green tips for a KISS Christmas without Scrooge or Grinch side effects:
* When giving a gift for any occasion, take the time to consider the recipient and his or her needs and wants. Gift-giving should come from the heart. My motto is “If you feel like you must get me something, give me something because you want to not because you are obligated or have-to.”
* Buy local. For every $100 you spend at a local store, approximately $68 stays in the community and supports local businesses – your friends, neighbors and family.
* Gift certificates to local restaurants, gyms, classes, clothing stores, jewelers are great examples.
* Support local artists, writers and craftsmen and crafters. Arts and crafts fairs are fun to shop for local talent and bargains.
* Share your heritage and family history with heirloom gifts. Include a short anecdote or story about why they are meaningful.
Simple, handmade gifts are often the most meaningful and memorable. Here are some of our favorites:
* Books are great for all ages. Choose a book for a favorite child and record a CD of yourself reading it so he can follow along. Great to develop reading skills.
* Create a family calendar with pictures of family members, gatherings and outings and special dates noted on the calendar. Include contact information for distant relatives.
* Create an ornament that represents a special event or travel.
* Recipe book of family favorites.
* Framed recipe cards with favorite recipes from family members written in their handwriting. Spills, spots and stains make them authentic. We’ve done this with recipe cards from family members who have passed.
* Photo collage of the past year’s activities.
* T-shirt memory quilts, pillows or totes from those t-shirts you’ve collected through the years.
* Homemade Christmas treats – include the recipe.
* Time-share coupons – share your time to babysit, dog walk, fix a meal each week, do laundry, garden chores or the recipients least favorite cleaning chore. Be creative.
* Transfer old photos to a CD.
* Each year my mother writes memories of her childhood for her children in a journal. We return the journals to her at Thanksgiving, and she writes new stories each year as our Christmas gift. It’s a treasured gift of her memories and penmanship.
* Seed packets or cuttings from plants in your garden
Gifts from the Heart
Also consider your local Domestic Violence Shelter, Humane Society or other agencies that help people help themselves to an improved life.
More ideas at http://www.retroeco.net/.