How to Give Like Santa On an Elf’s Budget


I love to give awesome gifts! Sometimes I feel like my heart is Oprah exclaiming, “You get a car and you get a car and you get a car!” but my bank account is like Mr. Scrooge rattling “Bah Humbug!” It is possible to give abundantly on a budget. But if you’re going to skimp on cost then you’ve got to make up for it with meaning and thought. Here are some helpful ways to give great gifts this season without ending up like Tiny Tim.

  1. Give a Group Gift. I have a boat load of nieces and nephews so if I sent each family individual gifts I’d blow my whole budget in one shot. Give one gift the entire family can use. This year I’m sending my one brother a cool game that one person can play alone or the whole family can play together. I think it’s kind of cool to give a gift for a group because it’s something they can do together and make memories they’ll cherish forever.
  2. Agree to do kids only. I’ve done this with some family and friends for a few years. After all, as parent the best gift, I think, is watching the joy on your child’s face as they open gifts.
  3. Set a spending cap. Have a discussion with friends and/or family. Tell them you’d like to be wise with your finances this year and to do so you would like to agree on a price cap of whatever works for your budget. If some members are able to give more generously, then they are welcome to do so but this is what your family is able to spend comfortably. When you discuss it openly beforehand then it isn’t uncomfortable later and no one feels bad for not being able to give more. In fact, I’ve found that most people are in the same boat and love the idea of a spending cap. We’d all love to give generously to everyone but the reality is a lot of people live paycheck-to-paycheck and aren’t able to spend a fortune at Christmas time.
  4. Exchange gifts for an Exchange. Instead of getting every single person a gift have a book, an ornament, homemade cookie, or a white elephant exchange. My father-in-law’s family is huge and they have a massive get together every Christmas and they do a white elephant gift exchange and it’s a blast.ce25tfirw7
  5. Make a gift. Some of my favorite gifts are handmade gifts. My one friend made a gorgeous wreath for me one year and now I think of her every year as I hang it and as I pull in my driveway and see it every day. There are limitless gift making ideas on Pinterest.
  6. Gift a voucher. I know this sounds childish but let me tell you something, one of the best gifts I got as a new mom was a voucher from my mom to clean my house. She did and it was glorious! There are so many possibilities with this option and it depends on your talents and relationships. If you’re close enough you can gift a babysitting voucher or house cleaning voucher. If you can play an instrument you can gift a voucher for a few music lessons. If you are into photography you can offer to take some family photos. You can mow their lawn, wash their dogs, wash & detail their car, change their oil, take down their Christmas lights, whatever you know how to do.
  1. Family Dinner. Buy a nice casserole dish for the recipient to keep (there are some cute, affordable ones at stores like Marshalls and Home Goods). Make your favorite dinner dish and/or dessert, print out the recipe on a cute stationary card, attach it and deliver it for dinner.


I hope some of these tips inspired the giver in you. I hope you’re able to put at least one of these options to good use. I’d love to hear your holiday budgeting tips. Share them with us in the comments below!


Thanks and have a blessed and Merry Christmas!




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