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A Christmas Full Of Kindness on a Budget.

Many of us are struggling financially right now, and many of us are concerned about the waste we create, so I thought I would write a short blog with some ideas of gifts you can give at minimal cost.


First thing is Christmas cards. I really LOVE cards! Birthday cards, just because cards, you are wonderful cards. But, as much as I love the prettiness of Christmas cards, and the humorous ones, I stopped sending them years ago.


One of the things I love about cards is that they are personal; the card was chosen for me, with a little note; but, at Christmas, because everyone felt they had to write so many, there was little to nothing beyond, To Vie, Love Me. I didn’t like feeling like I was adding to someone’s already overbrimming to-do list. I also realised that I was sending over 100 cards at Christmas, which cost a lot in time, money and trees! And there was rarely time to write a personal note.


So, a few years ago, I decided I wouldn’t send them anymore. I was concerned about people being annoyed, but, when I said I was going to donate the money to charity instead, which meant I was doing something good in far less time, they were happy. Now, I buy Greggs gift vouchers and give them to homeless people. What’s especially lovely is that others on my social media feeds now do similar. And, as someone who runs a community project, we REALLY appreciate any donations.


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Many of us are fortunate enough to have too much but, sadly, this year, many of us are struggling financially, and Christmas feels extra stressful, so I thought I would share some ideas that I hope will help.


First, lots of us like decorations but it can be expensive to buy new. Now, I am someone who loves to do crafts in theory but, in reality, I have glued my fingers to each other, and I’ve even managed to sew myself to myself. I’m not a natural! But I saw this on YouTube and I thought it looked fun to make; and the main “ingredient” is the inner tube of toilet rolls! It’s also a great activity to do with children. https://youtu.be/ANp4J_ZZtKI


And there’s always paper snowflakes. Instead of using new paper, you could use stuff from the recycling bin. All the possible colours available in there! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ua_tS8Zmv8


And now a few ideas for gifts.


I am going to share a few things I do with my clients and that I have done for friends. And they can nearly all be created with things from around your home, with possible top ups from your local pound shop. They’re also great things for children to make for relatives and their friends. It’s great to share the activities with children, as it’s an ideal opportunity to just chat, as well as having an activity to entertain on these colder days.


As a large part of what I do is about showing people how brilliant they are, these gifts are all about showing the recipient that you think they are wonderful!


Lots of us use sauces or jams that come in jars; give them a good wash as these are ideas to use them.


First idea, make a wishes jar. Clean a jar and lid then fill it with these things or with ideas of your own: a coin, a plaster, a wrapped sweet or other food item, a tissue, two pieces of paper. On one piece of paper write words to this effect:


A coin because I wish you always have enough to buy what you need;

A plaster because I wish you healing from all hurts;

A wrapped sweet because I wish for you to never go hungry;

A tissue because I wish you will always have someone to dry your tears;

And, on the other piece of paper, write a note about why you appreciate them, under, a note saying because I always wish you love.

Put the lid on and, if you have it, wrap a piece of ribbon around the lid to make it a little prettier. You could even put a bit of glitter in the jar to add a bit of sparkle, if you have it.


The second gift idea for a jar is a notes of love jar. Gather together lots of little pieces of paper; on each piece, write a short note about why you love/appreciate the gift receiver (you can do this over several days, as, even when you love someone, under pressure, it can be hard to think of lots of reasons why). On the outside of the jar, stick a piece of paper that says, “Reminders of why you’re loved”, or something similar. Again, add a ribbon and glitter if you want to. The recipient can then open the jar and take out a note whenever they feel they need to.


Another gift idea is a memories jar. This is an especially lovely gift for a child to give parents and grandparents. Write lots of notes of favourite memories shared. This is a beautiful way to show that moments matter more than things.


Another beautiful gift from a child to a relative is a framed photo; now, you could print off a photo and buy a frame; or you could do my next suggestion. The child could draw a picture of them with the relative, perhaps doing the most favourite thing they love to do with them, or their best memory with them, or all the things they love about them. Then you can both make a frame out of cardboard (it could be a cereal box, or a tissue box; any kind of cardboard) and decorate it. Here’s a how to for a photo frame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZfKPpucr5w And here’s another, as I tend to mix and match to what suits me:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG54jgqesn0


One thing that most of us feel we don’t have enough of is time so these next ideas will help with that. First, radical suggestion, ask them for what they need! Then, if you can, give them vouchers for what they need. Here are some suggestions:


  • Babysitting for one night (or a weekend, if you are especially kind!);

  • Cook them a meal;

  • Do some cleaning - you can suggest a time limit or specify what you are going to clean, like the oven, or defrosting the fridge/freezer;

  • Do some gardening - again, you can say for two, or so many, hours, or to do something specific, like all of the weeding;

  • Offer to do a car boot sale and sell some of their stuff;

  • Walk their dog, or offer to pet sit;

  • Pamper them! Give them a mani/pedi or a shoulder massage.


If you have your own business, and you have friends that do, too, swap skills! You could swap two hours of marketing for two hours of accountancy; or graphic design for PR. And, if you work in the health or wellness industry, you could offer a massage or reflexology treatment in a swap for whatever your friend does. Please don’t think people will think you are cheap; as a business owner, who talks to lots of other business owners, I can assure you that there are lots of us that would love to do this!


Please do add your own ideas in the comments! I know they will be really helpful.


It can be hard to tell people you’re doing something different but always remember that how people respond is entirely due to them and not you; if you tell someone that you need to do Christmas on a budget and they don’t like it, or don’t understand, that’s their issue; if you tell someone that you want to have a more environmentally friendly Christmas, using the whole reduce, re-use, recycle ethos, and they disagree, maybe reduce them off your Christmas list.


I really hope these ideas have helped, or at least given you ideas of things to do. If you do any of them, please share photos with me; I would really love to see them! And I would love to see the responses of the people you gift them to.


If you would like other ideas, although not specifically written as Christmas gift ideas, there are things that can be adapted from my "A Little Box Full of Family Fun" cards, that were written to boost family communication and confidence, without costing a lot of money; in fact, like the ideas in this blog, most things can be done with things you already have at home. The box of cards also makes a great gift. Here’s the link: https://www.vieness.co.uk/product-page/a-little-box-of-family-fun


Christmas shouldn’t be about stress; it shouldn’t be about proving someone’s worth in monetary value. True Christmas spirit is in love and kindness; I wish you lots of that.



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Guest
Nov 07, 2022

Love all these ideas and I stopped sending Christmas cards years ago due to the added stress at Christmas and great idea to get gift cards instead as then you know it directly helps someone

Thank you for as always thinking of others x

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