Giving Holiday Gifts on a Budget

aaaHow Much are You Spending on Gifts This Holiday Season?

When you are strapped for money but want to give holiday gifts make a list of how much you want to spend per person.

First, check the Internet for the best prices for stores that are close to you. Making the list and determining your budget beforehand makes it easier to not overspend. Once you go to the store you will find hundreds of great gifts to give that you had not thought of when making your list of gifts. Only buy the items on your list.

One of the most popular and easiest gifts to give the parents you work for is the gift of time. For example, nannies and au pairs can always make homemade gift certificates to give to the parents for one evening or overnight free babysitting.You can also make gift certificates promising gifts for the future, such as a dozen homemade cookies per month, for a year. Anything handmade such as knitted mittens or home baked treats are always appreciated.

Another inexpensive but heartfelt gift is to help the children make presents for their parents. The craft project made by the children will be your gift to your employers. Plan a trip to the craft store with the children, give them a budget, let them choose the craft, then help them make and wrap the gift.

You can also create child-centered gifts, such as photo albums or calendars from pictures you have taken of the children over the year. The family will love a casting of a child’s hand print or footprint as a garden decoration using a kit from a hardware store.

When giving individual toys to each child choose safe, age-appropriate gifts that encourage creative play rather than passive play. Instead of choosing electronic toys, electronic games, and DVDs, give gifts that from the child’s interests and abilities. The best way to do that is by choosing simple toys like: blocks, costumes, puppets, balls, sand and shovels, clay, stuffed animals, and generic dolls which invite children to create their own scenes. It’s the process of using their imagination, literacy, or physical exercise that’s important in creative play.

Another low cost idea is to give the entire family a theme basket, rather than individual gifts. For example, you can make use game-night as a theme. Include a board game, a puzzle, and cards in the gift basket. Or, create a hand-assembled basket containing a family movie, hot chocolate mix, and microwave popcorn.

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