For years, I’ve been what you might consider a “Scrooge.” I never liked the hustle and bustle of the holidays or the stress it brings out in people. Since having children, though, I’m even more determined to find a way to enjoy the holiday season without getting caught up in commercialism or stress.
Below are some ways I’ve found to focus more on giving than spending this holiday season.
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1. Deliver Cookies to Your Neighbors
I not only get to bake with my kids, but we get to spread some good cheer to those around us.
How well do you know your neighbors? I only know one of mine. But there are several I’ve never met, even though they live across the street from me.
By making cookies in my house, I not only get to bake with my kids, but we get to spread some good cheer to those around us.
2. Pay Off Someone’s Layaway
Every holiday season, you’ll hear of wealthy individuals calling and paying off someone’s layaway items at a store.
Even if you don’t have the big bucks, you can still make somebody’s day!
Simply head to the layaway counter at the store of your choice. Ask to pay off someone who has a layaway that is close to completion, like $20 to $30 away from picking up their order.
3. Volunteer at a Nursing Home
Personal finance blogger Jen Smith from Saving with Spunk is aggressively paying off debt this holiday season. So she opts to donate her time. “My friend met the activities director at a nursing home,” Jen told me. “She said her residents love the holiday season but are mostly stuck inside for it. So we picked a night, and we’re going to hang lights, make crafts, and sing carols to bring the Christmas experience to them!”
I thought this was a wonderful idea, and it goes to show that sometimes the gift of your time is much better than the gift of your money.
4. Stick to the “Four Gift” Rule with Children
In an effort to cut down on overspending, my husband and I follow the “four-gift” rule when it comes to our children’s holiday gifts. The rule says that you will only give your children something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.
That way, you don’t go overboard when it comes to presents. We successfully did this last year, and we plan to do it again this year.
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5. Spread Holiday Cheer
Lastly, the best way to truly focus on giving and not spending is just to spread the holiday cheer. When the lines are long at the store, or drivers get impatient, try to be kind in return, even if it’s hard. You can also do random acts of kindness, like filling up a parking meter.
Kayla Sloan, a personal finance blogger, says that she likes to “go Christmas caroling or offer to help elderly neighbors run errands.”
Ultimately, your holiday wish list might be long, and you might be hoping to get and give several presents this year. But don’t forget that when you also take the time to focus on giving you’ll not only make others feel better, you’ll feel great too because you’ve done something nice for someone else.