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  • 4 Ways to a More Frugal Christmas

    Christmas celebrations need not be expensive or extravagant. Read on for a few practical tips.
    by Tina Santiago-Rodriguez .
  • frugal ChristmasThe holiday season is usually a time for unique traditions — many of us attend daily dawn mass (Simbang Gabi), we get more crafty and creative with our children, and, of course, we scour the shopping  malls for gifts for our loved ones and friends. Some of us may even consider giving gifts with meaning — gifts that “give back” to others in one way or another.

    However, amidst the hustle and bustle of it all, we may find ourselves spending more than what we hoped or planned to. To avoid this, here are some things we can do to cut down on our holiday expenses

    1. Give homemade gifts.
    There are lots of online resources with wonderful suggestions and tips for do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts. Here’s one for starters: Christmas Gift Ideas to Make With Your Child.

    The great thing about homemade or DIY gifts is they are usually one-of-a-kind, and although they may not be as “fancy” as store-bought presents, the recipient will surely appreciate the “labor of love” behind each item.

    2. Use recyclable items for wrapping presents.
    In this day and age, more and more people are aware of how important it is to be environmentally friendly, so using recyclable items (used wrapping paper, old magazines, etc.) to wrap your gifts isn’t something to be ashamed of.

    If you feel a bit shy about it, you could include a little note with each Christmas gift, thanking the recipient for helping you save the environment by “appreciating” your recycled wrapper.

    (Related story: Designer Rina Albert-Llamas on Wrapping Gifts with Style for Less)

    3. Consider having “potluck” for your Christmas (or New Year) gatherings.
    Christmas and New Year are the season for family reunions and get-togethers with friends. If you’re hosting or organizing parties during the holiday season, you may want to consider having potluck meals instead of the host preparing everything on her own.

    Of course, it goes without saying that you must be able to gauge whether the people you’ll be inviting are open to this concept (admittedly, some people may not be open to this idea and we should not begrudge them).

    If you’re having a get-together with people close to you, having a potluck meal should probably not be a concern, as what’s most important is spending time together and building wonderful memories.

    4. De-clutter your home, raise funds and give to others.
    The holidays are a good time to assess what we have in our homes and see what we need and don’t need.

    De-cluttering our homes gives us a chance to focus on the essentials and usually, we will discover that we actually have more than what we need. This in turn will help us count our many blessings and be grateful for what we already have.

    Once you’ve identified the items you don’t need anymore, see if they are either saleable or good enough to give away to those who need them more.

    If you choose to sell them via a garage sale or perhaps even online, you might want to consider donating the money raised to a worthy cause, like relief operations for the victims of Typhoon Pablo, which recently wreaked havoc in Southern Philippines.

    This would be a great time to teach our children about how Christmas is really more about giving and sharing, rather than receiving and getting.

    However you choose to spend your Christmas and New Year, it would be best to take time to reflect on the real purpose behind the holidays: the birth of Jesus Christ and the beginning of another year full of possibilities and blessings.



    Image from dreamstime.com

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