So I just had my birthday. It was the big one. I guess I’m no longer a kid, at least physically. That’s right, I turned the big 40. I guess it’s time to start thinking about retirement and senior care arrangements about now.
OK, not really. After all, I don’t really plan on ever even growing up. Just ask my wife. But in honor of another year, my sister asked for a list of gift ideas for both my birthday and Christmas. I finally sent a couple of ideas almost a week later. Sure, life is busy. But I was also struggling to come up with anything that I really needed or wanted.
And with that, here we go right on into the Spending Season……. I mean the Christmas Season.
Now don’t hear me wrong. I have no problem with giving gifts. I will be giving gifts myself this Christmas and will enjoy receiving gifts as well. I’m not going to be a scrooge. Not about Christmas.
The only thing I hope to inspire here is a little creativity in your gift giving. I’m not even going to talk down about spending money in general. Hey, if you’ve earned it, you can do what you want with it. If you are going to spend it, just make sure it’s something that will be worth at least your cost in the eyes of the receiver.
Have you ever done a white elephant gift exchange? They’re fun and the entertainment alone may be worth the cost. The look on my coworker’s face was priceless when he opened his gift to see two large, framed photos of my goofy face.
When we are looking at the larger purchases that we may be making for our close family and friends, are you buying something that will be of value in their eyes? Or are you spending a good chunk of money on a large white elephant gift that won’t even get a laugh because it wasn’t meant to be funny? They just aren’t sure what they are going to do with it. Is your gift really worth your cost if you bought them something just to buy them something and then it get’s put in the closet until they move and have to sneak it out without you seeing that they’ve never even opened it.
I understand. This may take a little more work on your part to figure something out for them. At least start by asking them. A gift idea may sound dumb to you, but if they asked for it they will value it. Can’t get a list from them? Find your inspiration elsewhere. There’s this thing called Google that likes to suggest unique gift ideas. When I googled ‘unique Christmas gift ideas’ (It was RESEARCH! I promise.), the very first link that came up was “500+ Unique Christmas Gift Ideas That Don’t Suck”. How’s that for a resource? Or, perhaps, consider giving experiences rather than stuff.
Many of us will work very hard to make sure we are getting the best value when purchasing a new car or home, signing up for a new cell phone plan, or even picking out the right bag of chips at the grocery store. Are you putting in the same evaluation of value when you are doing your Christmas shopping?
Again, this is not an over-all cost issue. My wife and I received a KitchenAid mixer one year and I LOVED IT. I do the bulk of the cooking at baking at home and was super excited about it. But that’s no small price tag. Another Christmas I got a small box with just bits of fur and feathers in it. That’s it. See, as a hobby I tie my own flies for fly fishing. These were materials I had put on an online wish list. They were a few bucks per item and nothing more than fuzzy stuff my dog would love to get in to. But they were what I wanted, were on my list, and so I was very happy with the gift.
Be intentional with your gift giving this season. Not just the intention of giving to be giving, but giving something that will be valuable to the recipient. Make sure you get the most for your money. Make sure the recipient gets the most for your money.
I guess it’s only right that I do make at least one passing comment in this direction: Life is full of priorities. No family or friend in their right mind will be happy with a gift from you if buying said gift makes you homeless. Be careful with your spending. Set limits, stick to limits, yada yada yada.
If you would like a little help figuring out your budget for this Spending….. I mean Christmas Season or just for life in general, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources would be happy to help. I’ll put them on the spot here, but they may even have a suggestion or two about good Christmas gifts. And if Randy hands you a couple of picture frames to re-gift, let me know so I can buy him some more.
All you have to do is go online or call us at 605-330-2700 to schedule an appointment. We can meet in-person, over the phone, or even provide counseling over the internet. You just need to make that first step of contacting us.
Enjoy your Christmas season. Enjoy your gifts. Enjoy giving gifts.
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net