Christmas is in the air and the excitement is all over the streets. From lights and Santa statues decorating our lawns to wreathes hung on the doors of our favorite shopping stores, strolling around outside this time of year has become a daily breathtaking and magical experience.
With this kind of holiday atmosphere, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and splurge a bit too much on things we don’t need. Even though lots of shops have Christmas sales, most people don’t remember the materialistic things in retrospect. It’s who you spend the holidays with, the long and meaningful talks you have with friends and family, and the love you feel from them that is most memorable.
So, to get in the real spirit of the holidays and make this the most unforgettable Christmas your family’s ever had, here are just a few ideas for gifts that don’t cost a dime (or hardly any), but are more valuable and meaningful than anything you can hope to buy at the shop.
Swap your most treasured belongings with other family members
This idea is courtesy of my friend, Diana Bell. She told me how the most memorable Christmas for her was when each family member gave another family member his or her most prized possession. It’s much harder to give someone something that you own and love than buying something new at the store. However, the fact that it comes at such a sacrifice for you is true to the very meaning of Christmas, and will make you savor the gifts you receive, knowing they were all loved and cherished by your loved ones who are trusting you with it.
Create a scrapbook of you’re favorite family moments
Creating scrapbooks and decorating them makes for a memorable Christmas gift. There are many online tutorials on how to decorate and personalize your scrapbook, all you need to do is to choose the ones you relate to the most, gather up old family pictures (or specific pictures of that family member growing up), and voila – you have the perfect gift that will be looked at again and again, for many more Christmases (and family gatherings) to come.
The wheel goes round and round, and when you give back to society, not only do you help out those in need but you earn yourself a tremendous and very special feeling of satisfaction. Each family member can volunteer in another person’s name to an organization that that person chooses. Or, you can spend the day volunteering together. Whatever you decide, helping those less fortunate than you will definitely be a memorable and humbling experience, and make your Christmas unforgettable.
Bake your kid’s favorite Christmas cookies, prepare your husbands favorite Christmas dinner, write a poem, draw and craft – whatever you create, your family will love you for it as long as you take the time and put in the effort. When I left home, my mom gathered up all my favorite holiday recipes and wrote them down for me in a personalized recipe book so I can continue her tradition and make them for my own family. I treasure that recipe book and plan on giving it to my (future) child one day when they leave home.
Adopt a dog/kitten
So you’ve done the research on budget and costs, you’ve read all the books on how to take care of a dog/cat, you’ve got the experience, you’ve thought it over multiple times, and you’ve decided to get your kid a puppy or kitten for Christmas (fully prepared to take responsibility for it as a family and to commit to it forever). While many people prefer to buy pets from reputable breeders, there are many cats and dogs that are fighting for survival in animal shelters across the country. These animals are sometimes put in high-risk shelters, and their adoption can literally be a matter of life and death for them. What better way to teach your child about the spirit of Christmas than to save a life? Take your child with you to the shelter and pick out the dog or cat that suits you and your needs. Your child will remember the experience and understand that by taking their new pet in they are giving them the greatest gift of all – a forever home. (Bare in mind – this idea is only for people who have thought about getting a pet in general and are aware of the major responsibilities and commitment that taking care of a pet requires).
Whatever you decide to do for Christmas this year, just remember that nothing beats quality time with your family to make your kids feel loved and special. Have a merry merry Christmas and happy December holidays!