Monday, September 19, 2011

MrsDrPoe: A Homemade Holiday

This Money Monday we'll be continuing the series on "Giving Gifts without Going Broke."  Last week we exhibited some cost effective gifts ideas that could please our loved ones as well as our budgets; as I shared, I always have the hardest time purchasing gifts for my dad.  Because of this, I often put the most time and effort into his presents, which are typically homemade and sentimental.

One of my favorite examples is a poem I wrote Papa Wolgemuth many years ago titled 'Butterfly Kisses.'  I printed the poem in pretty colors and font on a small piece of paper that was credit card size when folded in half.  I laminated it with tape, and when I gave it to him, I shared my intention that he could carry it with him in his wallet and think of me.  I had a few minutes alone with my dad on my wedding day- he used that time to show me that he still keeps the poem in his wallet...

Based on the joy that I've had giving and that my dad's had receiving these gifts, I've always had the desire to try having a 100% homemade holiday where those involved make the gifts for everyone else, only purchasing supplies.  Upon hearing this, some folks automatically think either: "What a cheapskate!" or "I couldn't do that because I'm not good at anything that anyone would want!"  

In response to the first thought: since the theme of this series of posts is about trying to find ways to save on gift-giving, I will mainly be focusing on cheaper homemade gifts. But a homemade holiday does not have to be cheap!  One of our dear friends does carpentry in his spare time; his gift of an beautiful end table for our wedding took a lot of time and money to make, and we continue to appreciate it so much!

In response to the second: Everyone's good at something.  Part of what makes a homemade holiday difficult and meaningful is that you have to put extra effort into the's not as simple as buying the latest CD or this winter's must-have fashion items.  It takes time to think about the person and how you can help him/her.  In fact, I think homemade Christmases would greatly aid us in directing our focus to spiritual things and serving others.

While I'm not sure that either side of our family would go for it, I've never attempted to bring this desire to fruition because Mr. Poe is completely opposed to the idea.  There are probably lots of Mr. Poes out there who, for whatever reason, dislike the idea of making Christmas presents themselves, but even if your family has one or more of these folks, that shouldn't stop you from giving homemade gifts, especially if it's the best thing for your wallet.

For a Homemade Holiday 

1) List the things you're good at...and not just the usual suspects- list everything.

To get you started: knitting, crocheting, sewing, photography, cleaning, organization, poetry, painting, babysitting, cooking, woodworking , jewelry making, automotive repair/maintenance, accounting, math, engineering, your college degree in ___, couponing, grammar, landscaping, singing, playing an instrument, manual labor...

2) Think about your gift recipients and what they like, need, and want...and to help you think outside the box, answer the following questions:

What do they complain about: doing taxes, needing a night out without the kids, auto repair bill, mowing the yard, helping the kids with homework...

What do they compliment you on/ask for help with: decorating, clothes/jewelry, organization, couponing, photography, landscaping...

3) Match your recipients with an appropriate gift, plan, and save.

Your mom's garden is full of weeds, she always tells you that she wishes it looked like yours but she doesn't know where to start - a voucher for your landscaping service (you could pair this with some pots or small plants you find on sale)

Your sister just had her third child under the age of 5 - a few "coupons" for free babysitting (perhaps coupled with some popcorn from your couponing stash and Blockbuster express codes for a free movie or a voucher)

Last time Uncle Jimmy took his car to get the oil changed, they charged him fifty bucks...he's had it - offer him "coupons" for your service free if he buys the oil (you could even spot him the first month's oil)

Your mother-in-law loves clothes - you sew like a skirt coming right up

Your brother loves cars and has empty wall space - you take great pictures and live in a huge metropolitan area where fancy sports cars run rampant...

You love your husband, and he loves chocolate - type of 365 reasons why you love him, buy 365 Hershey's kisses and replace the "Hershey's" tag in each one with a reason

Your niece just moved to NYC - get to work on a knit scarf, hat, and mittens set

While a homemade holiday takes more time and effort, it will definitely help you to think more about others while also helping you to give without going broke.

What types of homemade gifts do you give?


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