We hear it all the time, "Jesus is the reason for the season." Some of us celebrate his birth by remembering that he was God's gift to us. I know this season puts most of us in the giving mood/spirit, but you cannot give what you don't have. My husband and I keep it simple. We tell everybody in advance that we will be buying gifts for the kids only. And when we do give something to the adults, it's because we can afford, and we do not expect to receive anything in return. Do not feel obligated to give anything to anybody. Do not borrow money to buy Christmas presents. Don't max out your credit cards either. With that said, there are small things that you can do to show your neighbors and family and friends that you love them. It is the thought that counts. And those who really love you will understand that.
If you have friends who don't have family members near by, get together with them and make them feel special. Cook their favorite meals and invite them over for dinner. Who doesn't like a home cooked meal?
Christmas is the best time to bring out the Martha Stewart in you. There is nothing more precious than a handmade gift. It is thoughtful and affordable. And the best part is that it brings out your creative side. I hate baking because of all the measuring I have to do, but I have been crocheting scarves and hats for family and friends. And trust me, I did not have to pay a lot of money for the yarns.
Kids learn by following what you do. While you are getting deep into your DIY project, tell the kids to do the same. Make them create colorful Christmas Cards for their friends. They can also write stories or create other things based on what their skills are. My kids wanted to buy things for their friends this year. So I told them to break their piggy banks or come up with something creative that does not cost a lot of money. So they broke their banks.
If you are an anterior designer, decorate a neighbor's home during the holiday. Most Christmas ornaments go on sale after the holidays are over. Stock up for the next year and offer your service free of charge. Or just give away the ornaments. The Christmas tree that we have right now was a gift from a friend. So are some of the ornaments, the 10-piece nativity set, and the center pieces.
I don't care what anybody says, gift wrapping is a skill. Sometimes I wonder how people do it. If you are good at it and you know somebody who does not have time to do it, or don't have the skills, offer to do it for them. You can also offer to cater a Christmas dinner party for free.
My best friend taught me how to crochet and I thought it was the best gift ever. A gift doesn't have to be a piece of something that you can hold. It can also be something you do right now that will have an everlasting effect on somebody.