Cash-Strapped at Christmas: A Plan
College students are busy winding down the fall semester with some exams coming to an end this week while other students are already on winter break. With Christmas looming, a number of students may be wondering how to buy gifts for their parents, siblings and other loved ones with barely two nickels available to rub together.
Rest assured, few people will have any expectations that you will be giving gifts this holiday season. Still, if you are of the giving mind, there are a few creative ways to bless those whom you love with a very thoughtful present at Christmas.
1. Kid watching. If you like younger kids, why not offer to watch your siblings, your cousins or other family members so that the parents can go out on a date night? If you are feeling particularly generous, volunteer for New Year’s Eve as the cost of sitting may be too prohibitive for some to afford. Make a card for the recipient to announce your child sitting intentions.
2. Just bake it. Time-pressed families may have little time to prepare for Christmas, including handling desired baking chores to make their holiday favorites. The ingredients for making a batter of cookies may already be on hand — put some time and love in your work and present your gift wrapped in colorful cellophane and displayed on a Christmas designed plate. Add a bow for visual interest.
3. Just make it. Perhaps you have a talent for cooking. Or for sewing. Or maybe you are handy with wood or metal. Offer to serve a family a dinner or a special meal, taking your talent for Mexican, Japanese or Kenyan fare and applying these as a gift. For the other options, look around the home for something that can be recycled or repurposed — take those old bed sheets and make curtains or turn that old book case into a cabinet or an armoire. If you do not have time to get your project done before the holidays, finish the job before you head back to school in January.
4. Your skills. Never underestimate your skills. Especially your technological skills. Sure, you can break out the shovel and clean up after the next snowfall and you can just as easily drive someone you know to the airport. What you’re particularly adept at are all things technology including how to program a cell phone, how to update a website and what software to download to protect a computer. Chances are that someone on your list could use a tutorial or have you perform a key action on their behalf. Anyway, the best gifts are personally targeted, right?
There are endless ways for you to gift people at Christmas without money being involved. Don’t worry about the financial end of things — your efforts speak loud and clear, demonstrating the love and concern that you have, regardless of your current financial status.