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Phoenix Forward magazine

Creative gift giving for the holidays

Creative holidays

Although the holidays often mean enjoying the company of friends and family, the pressure to spend a lot of money on store-bought gifts can turn this time of year into the anxiety season.

“Without taking the time to be thoughtful about gift giving, many people run out at the last minute and overspend,” says Marci Danielson, MS, area chair of the psychology program for the College of Social Sciences at the University of Phoenix Idaho Campus.

But with planning and some ingenuity, Danielson says, you can give creative gifts. Here, she offers six ways to do it:


Make personal coupon books.

Giving your time is an easy way to save money and shows that you put thought into what the people on your gift list could really use. For instance, maybe you have friends or relatives who need a babysitter or help with gardening or another household project. “You can collect these ideas and put them into a handmade coupon book for a person on your list,” says Danielson, a marriage and family counselor.


Adopt a needy family.

Join forces with your loved ones and give presents to a less fortunate family rather than exchanging gifts among yourselves, Danielson suggests. Checking with charities in your area or at your house of worship are just two options for finding families that will be grateful for your help.


Hold a white elephant exchange.

Have a holiday gathering and ask everyone invited to bring a “recycled gift” instead of buying something new. You might find that an item you didn’t fancy is exactly what someone else has been looking for.


Donate in a recipient’s name.

“There are tons of cool sites online like Kickstarter™ [to help support creative projects] and Indiegogo®, where people can donate to a worthy nonprofit,” Danielson points out.

Or, she says, “for a relative who has a particular interest or hobby, simply make a small donation to a like-minded charity in their name. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money.”


Combine your resources.

Rather than giving many small gifts, Danielson suggests pooling funds among extended family members “to offer something that can have a larger impact,” such as a weekend getaway or a gym membership.


Check out online discounter deals.

If you’re on a limited budget, Groupon® coupons or LivingSocial® deals can help you score deep discounts on all kinds of goods and services.

“My father is really into photography,” Danielson says,” so I gave him an online photography class, which normally costs $75, for only $25. He could learn all about how to use his new camera without leaving the house.”

Related article

How to celebrate the holidays on a budget


Kickstarter is a trademark of Kickstarter Inc.
Indiegogo is a registered trademark of IndieGoGo Inc.
Groupon is a registered trademark of Groupon Inc.
LivingSocial is a registered trademark of LivingSocial Inc.

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