Holiday on a Budget: Giving Experiences

| December 9, 2019 | 17 Comments

Family New Years PartyWe’ve been talking over the past few weeks about ways to make the upcoming holiday season more affordable. Most of us need to watch our holiday budgets, and starting to think about gifts early can make a big difference in your credit card statements come January! Many times, the extra time and energy you invest in gifts that you don’t pay full price for end up making the presents more meaningful, besides.

One thing that’s frustrating about giving, as well as receiving, gifts is wondering whether the recipient will really be able (or willing) to put the item to good use. Admit it: You’ve received gifts in the past that you never even cut the tags off of… and you’re probably guilty of returning something to the store when you realized that as much as you love the gift-giver, there’s just no way you’re ever going to use whatever it is that they gave you. So, how do you avoid wasting money on a gift that your mother, father, aunt, cousin or best friend is never going to use? Consider giving the gift of an experience shared together! Here are some ideas:

  • Discuss this with your family ahead of time. You might be able to agree to all go and do something together in lieu of buying gifts. Even if entrance fees or tickets are pricey, you’ll still save money if you’re not buying gifts for every aunt, uncle and cousin. Some ideas might include going on a day trip to a local museum or aquarium; going to the circus; or taking an overnight trip together. If the activity that you wish to do is not appropriate for the winter, consider making reservations or setting a date in the spring or summer instead.
  • holidaygifttipsBuy a family pass to a local attraction and gift it to an entire family instead of buying for each person individually. In my area, a pass to the local children’s museum also gives you reciprocal free entry to various other museums in the country. This might be a great plan if you are buying for a family who frequently travels.
  • Spend some one-on-one time with young family members. Instead of buying the latest gizmo or gadget, take your young nieces and nephews out for lunch or to a movie. This gives you some special time with your family member and lets him or her make a memory of the two of you!
  • Arrange for a monthly meetup to work on a hobby together. This is particularly good if you have an elderly person on your gift list. Visiting Grandma the first Saturday of the month to work on a scrapbook or cook dinner together gives her something to look forward to each month.
  • Give lessons to someone who wants to learn your craft. Do you crochet afghans or baby hats? Take awesome photographs? Grow flowers that are the envy of the neighborhood? Offer a few lessons to your best friend or to a teen in your family. He or she will learn a new skill, and you’ll be able to enjoy the camaraderie.

Remember that giving gifts during the winter holidays doesn’t have to be about spending a lot of money! Sometimes the investment of time and energy is worth even more, and memories of experiences shared are priceless.

Comments (17)

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  1. Megan says:

    Those are some really great ideas – usually the DIY gift suggestions aren’t really much better than what you would buy at a store – they might cost less, but they’re still going to sit on a shelf – but these are things that people will really enjoy and value – I know I would much rather have a trip to the museum or an afternoon learning how to cook than another tchotchke!

  2. Samantha Baker says:

    I love these ideas!

  3. Amber Nara says:

    Great Ideas, and you could not be more right about recieb-ving things we don’t use. My mom is a last minute shopper and she will by random non-sense stuff. So I am going to share this post with here and see if she won’t tag along with me to get som x mas shopping done early this year!! Thanks a ton, this was extreamly helpful. I enjoyed!!

  4. Catalina says:

    That sounds neat! and doable…

  5. Bee C. says:

    We do baking for the adults and only buy presents for the kids–it works out well that way!

  6. Elizabeth Owens says:

    Discussing ahead of time is a big problem for us!

  7. Mike W Davis says:

    Our family does a draw of the name 1 person,then we play a game who stold the gift–limited money-no more than $10.00 for either gift–perfered if it was made–then we always pot luck a huge meal,and try to invite one guest or family to join us. We have had such a great time being together. I really enjoy your ideas,thanks.

  8. Carole Ingram says:

    We do a family game (one woman gift and one man’s gift)… generally, it has to be valued up to $25.00. This way, we aren’t all making ourselves broke to purchase each other gifts. I also like to purchase items year round when it’s a super good deal and it a very “smart” gift that the person will enjoy.

  9. sheila musselman askins says:

    great ideas! i am always looking for gift ideas …that mean something instead of just buying toys that will be forgotten about a few months after they are received!

  10. Faith Bosnick says:

    These are great ideas! We just bought our first home and I am now staying at home with the kids! We need ideas like these that keep us within our budget! I am so glad I found this blog! 🙂

  11. Kathy Idol says:

    With families having so hard of a time now with having money for gifts, there are some super ideas here. Thanks for your ideas & thanks for your site.

  12. Sarah B says:

    Great ideas. And such important lessons to pass on too.

  13. Anne says:

    I think they`re really good!

  14. jodi bradshaw says:

    christmas is expensive for us without gifts by themselves – we hardly travel back home because it takes a big chunk of our change in itself. we normally just send my step son home to his mom instead all 3 of us going up.

  15. Barbara P. says:

    I love these ideas!

  16. Deb Dorrington says:

    You have given us a lot of good ideas, especially talking before hand about the gift giving process. Often times we have a tendency to over spend and this year I’m hoping it will be different. Thanks for sharing this post.

  17. Smldada says:

    These are some great ideas. I love the children’s museum idea.

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