Thinking of hiding in the attic, or in the closet, or in the toilet (even if it stinks!) this Christmas for lack of gifts to give to the young ones and the not so young in your gift list?
Well, you’re certainly not alone. There are many people out there wishing and dreaming loads of real money to rain from the sky.
Christmas is just too expensive for many people to bear – despite the bonuses given to office workers.
But … good news! There’s a way to beat the holiday spending blues! In fact, there are nine ways to celebrate Christmas without the expense headache.
Here are the nine ways to de-commercialize Christmas:
1. SWAP — Everyone brings a wrapped gift within an agreed spending range or limit. All the unidentifiable gifts are piled in one spot and everyone picks a number from a bowl. The fun starts when No. 1 picks a gift and opens it in front of the group. “The second person has a choice — to either take the gift No. 1 opened or select another unopened gift. If the second person “steals” the previous gift, No. 1 gets to open a new gift. The third person then can take either of the opened gifts or open a new one.
2. SECRET SANTA — Everyone participating draws a name from a bowl and buys a gift for that person — usually with a spending limit. The gifts are presented anonymously, often placed on a table with the name of the recipient on the wrapping. Sometimes each person in the group submits a wish list and the Secret Santa purchases something on that list.
3. UN-SECRET SANTA — The same as Secret Santa, except that the giver of the gift is not anonymous. Each person draws a name and buys a gift for that person.
4. RE-GIFTING — Don’t listen to the voices inside your head telling you how inappropriate re-gifting is. This is actually being done by many people. Consumer Reports found in a 2006 survey that 24 percent of respondents re-gifted during the 2006 holiday season. Just make sure you remember who gave you that ornament last year or re-gifting could be very awkward.
5. POOL YOUR RESOURCES — Forget gifts and have a party. Everyone chip in An amount for decorations, food and maybe even entertainment. Each potluck dish is that person’s gift to the group.
6. FOR CHILDREN ONLY — Adults in a family or a group of friends agree to exchange cards, or perhaps only a token gift between ourselves. The bulk of the budget for holiday gifts goes only to the children.
7. DONATE IN OTHERS’ NAME — You can buy someone a flock of ducks or a goat through the Heifer Project. Visit its Web site (http://www.heifer.org) to learn more about it. Basically you donate things for a family in the developing world to help them become more self-sufficient. You can tell your brother or sister that you donated a water buffalo in his or her name to a poor family in Bangladesh. You can also tell your annoying boss that you donated a pig in his name for charity.
8. LIMIT SPENDING — Sounds simple enough: Everyone agrees to limit the price spent on gifts to a certain amount. But to make it more interesting, create a new “theme” each year. You could have a puzzle-and-game year, or a year in which all the gifts have to be made in your home state.
9. PLAN FAMILY OUTINGS — Create other activities that don’t center on opening gifts. On Christmas Day, instead of buying lots of gifts to open on the big day, go out to a Christmas movie or a holiday musical or concert. Combine it with dinner in a special setting or have a pizza party.