Sometimes the best gifts are free!

Christmas is finally here and all of our thank you gifts have been given. I find myself on the last shopping weekend, sitting in my cozy warm living room next to my Christmas tree and for the first year ever, I’m -not worried about the credit card bill looming in the future. I’m also not out in this horrific weather, scrambling to buy those last minute and often most expensive gifts.

Our homemade soap and baked goods were a smashing success and I felt really good giving them. Even my husband was flabbergasted over how thankful people were, and finally jumped on board with the lavender soap he’s been giving me lip about since November! Because what woman would want a bar of handmade, all natural, organic calming lavender soap? I mean really!

I feel relaxed and content and ready to move on to doing some more baking and creating for the family. They are, after all, the most important people to thank during a time of giving. I can attest to this, especially after this week! My five year old broke his arm and had to have temporary pins put in and a giant plaster cast put on. Needless to say he couldn’t go to school and we were left with no idea of how to take care of him while we were at work. As you know, we don’t have the funds to pay for more care.

Angels of mercy in the form of our mothers and grandmother stepped up to the plate and miraculously stayed when they were saddled with my flu ridden 18 month old. Kind of a sick and twisted Christmas miracle, no?

They have also graciously agreed that Christmas is for kids and have cancelled all adult gift exchanging to help us stay on budget; And you know, they’re right! I don’t need another pair of fuzzy socks to tell me that I’m loved and appreciated and neither do they.

Wow, yet another lesson in fitting a family into a budget; sometimes you need help from the outside. If we hadn’t told them that we were making an effort to pay off old debts and learn to live a more balanced life, expectations would be that we participate in a gift exchange. By being open and honest we received the gift of understanding and a willingness to help us reach our goals.

To be honest, we were terrified that our family would be hurt and angry that we weren’t buying gifts for them this year, but they were just fine with it. In fact, I think my brother’s kind of relieved given he just bought a house.

I still plan on giving them each a token of appreciation for all they have done for us this year, but it will be budget friendly and homemade. If nothing else, staying out of the consumer craziness this season has given me enough stress reserves to get through this round of sick kids and preparing for the hectic holidays.

When we finally make it to the black and have a budget for gift giving, I think I will keep it small and continue with the homemade goodies. They are by far more thoughtful than anything I could buy, because let’s face it; a chrome coloured coffee maker is somehow less warm and fuzzy than a tin of chocolate fudge made with care. Consumer gifts will have their place, but I refuse to go back to the stressful crowd fighting to get the newest model of waffle iron or single serve beverage machine.

I like this new budget friendly, low stress Christmas. I’m more holly jolly and grateful. I hope you are able to enjoy your holiday and may you have a ‘0’ balance on your January credit card bills!

Happy frugal holidays!



avatarAuthor Bio ~ Kara  (39 Posts)

Kara is a 32 year old mother of two little boys, balancing a career in social work with a crazy family life. After helping others all day she loves nothing more than to play with the kids, curl up with a good book or cook up a storm. Learning to balance a budget and live within her means is Kara’s next great adventure!

5 Responses to “Sometimes the best gifts are free!”

  1. Good for you staying away from the malls this Christmas. Our family has always given small gifts, never expensive appliances, TV’s etc. It’s the advertisers who have convinced people they need to spend hundreds of dollars to demonstrate their love. All nonsense of course, as you proved with the success of your home made thank you gifts. Way to go!

  2. I so enjoyed reading this. I’m with you all the way. Personally I would far rather spend time with friends and family than receive presents at this stage in my life as I have everything I need.
    I make sure my gifts of appreciation are meaningful and useful to those have been kind and helpful but I spend more effort than money.
    I hope you and your family have a great Christmas.

  3. Christmas ornaments handmade by my daughter and I will be our gifts this year. It’s not just about not overspending… All the general consumerism around Christmas seems over the top when folks are already living that lifestyle all year round. I’m not embarrassed about giving handmade gifts. Christmas ornaments are actually useful, so are soaps, baking etc. :-)

    Did you share the recipe you used for the soap?

  4. Please share yoru soap making recipe! I think I would like to give gifts that can be used next year – other than baked goods.

  5. Sounds like your holidays are off to a good start, Kara. Merry Christmas!

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