Tips and tricks for financially feasible gift-giving over the holidays
The holidays are always a fun time to spend with your closest friends and family. Each year, it brings us joy to surround ourselves with the ones we love most. However, when it comes to buying gifts for the whole family, budgeting and planning what to get and for who can be a daunting task.
Christmas shopping was never something I had to think about as a kid (Santa Claus didn’t allow me). When you’re young, money isn’t exactly the first thing on your mind.
Now that I’m older, the task has been passed on to me, but I never realized just how difficult and expensive Christmas shopping can be. For struggling students, some of whom may or may not have part-time jobs, finding the extra money to spend even twenty bucks on four or five people can feel next to impossible.
In the past, I have helped my parents with Christmas shopping, which was a huge challenge. In my family, we try to discreetly investigate what other members of the family want, but we tend to end up more confused than we were in the first place. As we grow older, I feel like it’s always a challenge to figure out what we want for Christmas; for the most part, we have everything we could ever wish for. From toys and video games, to a pair of headphones, gift ideas come much easier in your younger years.
As students, we have many obligations that require us to spend money, which can make it difficult to be able to provide everyone in our lives with the gifts they want. Now, you don’t want to overdraft your bank account just for the holidays. I’ve never bought gifts for the whole family or my entire friend group; I usually only buy gifts for a handful of people. For example, my closest friends and I throw a small Christmas party where we buy presents for just one other person. It’s a good way to spend a small amount of money and be able to give something special to a friend.
Remember, sometimes making a gift for someone, or just spending time with family can really show them how much you care more than a store-bought item. Try taking the time to create something by hand; make a card or put together a small scrapbook of memories. Maybe take your siblings out for an afternoon of skating, or treat your mom to dinner at her favorite restaurant. The list of possibilities is endless once you get creative and work within your budget.
I used to give my parents gift ideas for the family, and that was my contribution to the shopping. This year, I plan to start by getting presents for my siblings, then I’ll see if I can afford gifts for the rest of the family. But of course, the holidays aren’t all about material things and spending money. Budgeting has helped me combat holiday-induced stress, but at the end of the day, remember to spend as much time with loved ones as you do shopping for them.
Feature graphic by @spooky_soda