Holiday time often veers us toward excess. From food to gifts, the pressure to purchase is all around us, whether it’s hyped in the media (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) or in the stores themselves (who among us hasn’t been assaulted by the “Fragrance Police”?).
The phrase “less is more” has a simplicity to it that serves two purposes: It can take some of the commercial pressure off of us to spend beyond a limited budget. It can also bring us back to the thought being what really counts.
So use your imagination! Some frugal ideas can include:
- Babysit for harried parents, so they can enjoy “date night.”
- Bake it! Gotten raves over a favorite savory or sweet recipe? Stack scones, cookies, or homemade candy brittle in affordable clear cellophane. Tie with two-toned bakers’ string or ribbon.
- Cook dinner for a friend; or, host a group potluck as the mutual gift.
- Drink up — water that is; give BPA-free metal or plastic water bottles with decorative name tags.
- Invite friends to an “Eat-in Take-out Night” where everybody chips in. (Hit the dollar or craft store for Chinese food containers and “deliver” your invitation!).
- Make a meaningful charitable donation in someone’s name.
- Slip event “tickets” into festively themed envelopes (visit the scrapbooking aisle). Events don’t have to be headliner concerts; maybe it’s an annual flower show, or a local book signing.
- Treat a workaholic to a coffee break to slow things down.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we create about 25 percent more trash than usual — that’s equal to roughly 1 million tons! Deck the halls this Christmas with an artificial tree, a potted one (think topiary) that can be replanted, or, keep it real, and compost later. Simplify wrapping this year with brown craft paper or scrap fabric punched up with fun ribbon treatments, or stamps. If you do purchase printed wrapping paper, choose patterns and colors that can be used for many occasions all year to stretch their usefulness.
Go green — and save the kind that you can put away for a rainy day, too!
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano