– Amy Hannold, FamilyTimeandMoney.com
The following is a buffet of ideas, written to inspire you for what may be facing you this month
December is a month of gifts, hectic schedules – and emergencies n’ Winter Weather.
Emergencies take no holidays. If you’re stumped for a great, beloved gift that you can afford for someone on your list, consider helping those around you prepare for an emergency. Flashlights, bottled water, canned food, pocket knives, tool sets, blankets, batteries, battery or crank-powered radios, canned food, books n’ games, first aid kits, phone cards, gloves, thermal wear, hand-cranked can openers, tool boxes, duct tape, camping supplies, whistles, dust masks, hand sanitizer, wash-wipes….
All of these items given individually or as a collection will be much appreciated in the event of an emergency. Save your loved ones both time and money – get them emergency supplies for Christmas. If you’d like to support the Red Cross, you can buy prepared kits and food supplies at your local chapter of the Red Cross. You can also give the gift of a Babysitter training or First Aid/CPR class – think how valuable that gift would be to a family you know, and whomever they may save some day down the road.
Give Yourself the Gift of Peace and Calm (in the event of an emergency) – ‘Tis the season for buying blank DVD and CD-RW disks – at great prices. Or, you may have a supply of these on hand already. While you’re online shopping, composing your holiday letter – or simply surfing the net, copy treasured family photos and movies to disks. It’s been proven that women who have their family memories ready, at hand, to take with them as they evacuate their homes in an emergency are so much more useful and efficient in helping others – because they have their memories safe, with them (or stored in a safety deposit box).
Treasured Gift for Generations Idea: When you get together with relatives this holiday season, record on paper, on audio, or on video family stories, traditions, and history. Safely recorded and stored, these will be invaluable for years to come. You may have grown up (and grown weary) of Grandma’s Depression stories, but think how precious they’ll be to your children.
Christmas Decorating, On a Budget- I visited my local charity thrift store today and scored some great holiday decorating supplies. I found small corsage-sized picks with holly, small musical instruments, and wrapped packages. We were lucky enough to also find artificial swag material and a big bag of red bows. Finding these items at such a discount inspired the “un-crafty Me” to decorate my home. You may find supplies at thrift stores, or advertise for extra supplies with your local Freecycle.org group. While you’re decorating, make a list of items you want to buy post-Christmas, to have on hand for next year. As you’re unpacking your holiday items, save wrap and boxes to pack these items away in January.
Give Gifts that Give Delight All Year! Magazine subscriptions make great gifts. Subscriptions can be purchased very affordably from Amazon.com and BestDealMagazines.com. Magazines you subscribe to will offer great deals on gift subscriptions this time of year.
New Year’s Poppers: Kids from pre-school age and older love to make these. Begin saving your cardboard paper towel and toilet paper rolls. Buy individually wrapped candy in bulk. Poppers can be easily made by cutting the cardboard roll in half, and then wrapping them in their original shape in wrapping paper. Leave a bit of paper at each end, the second end open to stuff with candy. Tie with festive ribbon on both ends. Your New Year’s Poppers should “pop” open from the middle when snapped in half, where the tube was cut in half, presenting the candy. Stickers, small toys, and messages are also great “Popper-Stuffers”.
2010 Calendars; Gift the Gift of Organization, Recognized Birthdays and Fewer Missed Appointments: Give calendars as gifts – better yet, have “Calendar Parties” or designate portions of time during your family get-togethers to synchronize your calendars. In your family circle, you can plan to recognize birthdays, milestones, and anniversaries. What better way to stay connected throughout the year! Greeting cards can be affordably purchased at second-hand stores, for every occasion. Add a collection of cards and envelopes (and stamps?!) to your calendar gifts or stocking stuffers.
Taking some of these ideas and crafting them to meet the needs and interests of your loved ones will help you avoid the chaos of buying at the mall. When you give the gift of time, emergency preparedness, and organization – it’s you who will be remembered long past the ribbon and wrap.
Frugal is “way-in” right now, so don’t fret if all you can afford is canned food and baking staples right now – these can be great gifts. Coupons, sales, and discounts lead to great gift baskets. Consider the faves (or needs) of someone you know. Add a thoughtful card or letter – and
you have a great gift!