Alternatives To Traditional Gift Giving

When you make your list of Christmas gifts to buy this holiday season, remember that the most expensive or extravagant gift is not necessarily the best gift. Useful or alternative gift ideas, including Christmas crafts and charitable donations, can be appreciated by many people on your list.

Homemade Gift Ideas

Giving homemade items helps you save money and can add a memorable personal touch to your holiday. Christmas crafts and baked goods are personal and thoughtful, but can be given to almost anyone. Making homemade gifts in groups or batches is even more cost-effective. If you have talents in making specific crafts, such as quilts or knitted scarves, these can make wonderful homemade gift ideas that recipients are sure to cherish.

Holiday Gift Exchanges

If you’re planning Christmas gift giving with a large group and your holiday shopping budget is tight, you and your friends or family can participate in a gift exchange. These arrangements help to limit the number of presents each person needs to purchase.

Each person can choose the name of one other person in the group. Recipients can know the identity of the people buying their gifts, or it can be kept a secret (often called “Secret Santa”). If you’re having a Christmas party, you can have a “Yankee Swap,” in which each person brings one gift, and participants take turns choosing and trading gifts. At the end of the party, each person leaves with one gift.

Alternative Gift Ideas

Christmas gift giving doesn’t need to be expensive; alternative gift ideas can be inexpensive or even free to put together.

You can offer services in the form of “coupons” for cooking a few dinners for a friend’s family, or babysitting your neighbors’ children so they can have a much-needed night out. A charitable donation in the name of a family member or friend is also a kind gesture, particularly if the charity is close to the heart for the recipient. A shared volunteer experience is another nice way to spend time with family during the holiday season, while giving back to those in need in your community. Christmas gift giving with alternative gifts means you can give (and get) a favor that is truly useful and allows you to have a shared experience with your loved ones.

Practical Gifts

Though they may not always be the most exciting Christmas gift ideas, people on your gift list will likely appreciate a practical gift that will help them with their everyday expenses. Gas cards and grocery store gift cards can help with everyday costs, especially since these can increase during the holiday season. Another great gift is a small gift card to a coffee shop; $10 to $15 may be a small amount, but it can pay for a week’s worth of coffee.