Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas For the Financially Challenged

There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute to do your holiday shopping.  Holding out for the sale of the century often results in you having to rush around like a mad man (or woman!) to find the most sought after gift items of the season.  Adding overnight shipping charges or driving to thirteen different retailers isn’t the best way to be economical.  Here are a few last minute holiday gift ideas for the financially challenged:

giving-bread

  • Give the Gift of Your Time. Offer to babysit for free one afternoon for your best friend who works outside the home.  Promise to do all the cooking one evening for your time pressed neighbor down the street.  A handyman?  Help paint your brother-in-laws house and or cut down unwanted tree limbs.  Believe it or not, the gift of time is a priceless commodity.
  • Give the Gift of You. Spend time over the holidays with your loved ones in whatever way that you see fit.  Traveling long distances by car or plane may not be in your budget but you can call your loved ones, send them an e-card, or host a video call using Skype.  Take a lot of pictures and post them to a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace for everyone to see. Twitter in real time as you and your children open gifts so that every member of your family will feel like they are a part of your big celebration.
  • Give the Gift of Gratitude. Create a list of special moments for that you have shared with the most important people in your life.  Handwrite it out, post it online, or record it to post on YouTube.  Rather than call and thank a person for a gift, create a handmade card using scrapbook paper, ribbon, glitter, and stickers and write a personal message inside.  With email being one of the most popular choices in communicating with people from all over the world, Thank You cards have fallen by the wayside.  A quick way to brighten someone’s day, the gift of gratitude never disappoints.
  • Give the Gift of Charity. Spend Christmas serving hot meals to the needy.  Make a donation in the name of a loved one instead of buying a generic gift.  Drop off an unwrapped toy or game to various organizations like the Salvation Army or Toys for Tots.  Purchase gifts for local artisans and crafters who donate part of the proceeds to impoverished people.

Rather than spend your precious time and dollars searching for the latest fad in electronics, opt instead to preserve your sanity and your bank balance by giving from the heart this holiday season.  A gift doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be worth its weight in gold.

Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer for ChickSpeak, Buzzine, DisFUNKshion Magazine, Student Stuff, and a guest contributor for Wisebread.  She loves thrift related topics and can spot a bargain a mile away.

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Filed Under: Personal Finance

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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.

3 comments
Goran Web | Net Age
Goran Web | Net Age

On the subject of holidays I just want to wish all of you a prosperous and peaceful 2010, may your wildest dreams be realised. All the very best to you and your families. God bless.

Expense Report
Expense Report

That's a great list and I agree with you that gifts should not be that expensive. It should be sincerely given with thoughts of providing good feeling for every recipients. BTW, Happy holiday to you!

Credit Girl
Credit Girl

All great ideas that do not require much money but rather invested time. Another thing is making baked goods and handing them out to your loved ones. It'll allow people to enjoy it instantly and will also bring those who love sweet foods together.

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