10 Creative Ways to Make the Holidays Bright on a Budget

10 Creative Ways to Make the Holidays Bright on a Budget - a Boomer's Guide to Gift Giving and Staying Connected During the Holidays

Author: Susan Levine

Many of us have been drastically affected by the economic downturn, despite our best attempts to save for rainy days and plan for retirement. With our Social Security and investment income dwindling down to a fraction of what they once were, it’s clear that this year we're going to have to be more creative than ever when it comes to celebrating the holidays.

Fortunately, there are many ways to enjoy the holidays on a budget – and the Internet has made it easier than ever to find great gift ideas or stay connected with friends and family without breaking the bank. So you don’t have to let distance and travel costs keep you from seeing your loved ones and showing them how much you care! This year, enjoy the holidays as much as ever with my list of 10 easy ways to spend less and still show your love and appreciation to all the important people in your life.

1. Use old knit sweaters to create cuddly creatures. As the daughter of Depression-Era parents, I’ve learned how to use everything sparingly and I know that my mom would be proud of me for “recycling” a wool sweater into a cuddly owl toy for my grandkids. Check out www.Etsy.com for inspiration – you can make a sock dog or socktopus – and even a punky monkey that older kids would enjoy!

2. Take a cue from eco-friendly gifts ideas that use recycled products to create new works of art! This is another great way to use what you already have around the house. I’ve seen beautiful cufflinks created from vintage typewriter keys! For more ideas, check out www.eco-artware.com .

3. Save on long distance phone calls with Skype. If you can’t afford to travel this holiday season, keep in touch with Skype, which allows you to talk with anyone, anywhere in the world! There are no long distance charges here. The service is FREE to all registered users! Your calls originate and take place at your computer and you can chat with up to 100 people or conference call with up to 9 others.

4. Get a webcam and see all of your friends and family without leaving your house! Participating in free video conversations via the Internet helps you view your loved ones who are far away (and you can even watch baby Levi or Ilana take their first steps!). To purchase a webcam, count on tech reviewer CNET to base their ratings on your individual priority: price, popularity, manufacturer, editors picks, user ratings, and product features. Just make sure one of their recommendations is compatible with your PC or Mac. You can then show off your creativity on YouTube, which allows you to upload your videos and broadcast them around the world.

5. Pick up those knitting or crochet needles. Whip up scarves, mittens, and throws for friends and family. The will treasure these hand-made items and all the thoughtful attention to detail that went into making them!

6. Don’t overlook consignment stores and popular discount retailers. Recently, I read an article about well-known interior designers, art museum curators, and other "A-list" people scouring discount stores (Tuesday Morning and Big Lots) for unique clearance items. If they can do it, so can we! And don’t forget about consignment stores where you can discover many great finds at bargain prices.

7. Put together creative themed baskets. You can send someone a garden by packaging some seeds with a couple garden tools. For the college student, you can make a sewing kit (they’ll thank you for it later!) For the newlyweds, print some of the old family recipes and put them into a cookie jar, crockpot or a colorful index box. You can also assemble arts and craft items for any age (and don't forget the stickers).

8. Tell a new story or a favorite classic with picture books . Check out LookyBook.com, named as a best 2008 website by Time Magazine, to see great picture books in their entirety. You could purchase their recommendations at full retail prices or find old standbys in "good as new" condition at garage sales, thrift stores or websites like Amazon.com. Look for "Harold and the Purple Crayon," "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day," "The Hungry Caterpillar," "Good Night Moon," "Corduroy," "The Giving Tree," "Pat the Bunny," "Guess How Much I Love You," and the Dr. Seuss classics.

9. Shop Iliketotallyloveit.com for teens and other discriminating recipients . Check out this site for gifts to satisfy the tame as well as the outrageous members of your family.

10. Donate to charity and make the season bright for others. And finally, for those recipients who either have everything, don't have the space for anything or don't want anything, pick a charity they'd approve and make any size donation. Justgive.org makes it easy and secure to support your favorite charity.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/holidays-articles/10-creative-ways-to-make-the-holidays-bright-on-a-budget-a-boomers-guide-to-gift-giving-and-staying-connected-during-the-holidays-688893.html

About the Author:
Susan Levine is a boomer web entrepreneur and founder of www.50somethinginfo.com , a human-powered vertical search engine dedicated to delivering the best of the net to adults (both men and women) 50 years old and better. Discover more great Boomer sites and tips for senior living at http://50somethinginfo.blogspot.com/

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