Taken from USA TODAY MONEY BY NANCI HELLMICH:
In the wake of the madness of Black Friday, many Americans are looking into the holiday season of Christmas thinking about what gifts to buy their family, friends, or loved ones. For many there is already a hint of worry or concern about crossing everyone off of the gift list. Do you get those socks for that distant third cousin twice removed?
This may be extra challenging for the millions of senior citizens who are retired and living on a fix income. There is also a challenge for many of these elderly Americans in having the health or means to get out and shop for these gifts. Added on to these impending problems may also be the added mentality of sentimental gifts. Most senior citizens want to buy gifts that have a personal touch for the individual who they are purchasing the present for.
What is are some solutions or fixes for these issues? Columnist Nanci Hellmich wrote an article with a few tips for the retirees or simply any Americans on a budget that fall into this category.
- Cut down your holiday list. Look at the list of people you give presents to, and see if it’s time to take some of them off the list.
Author of the book “Decoding the New Consumer Mind” told Hellmich “It’s painful to do because if someone has made it to the list, obviously you care about them. But I think many people will be flat-out relieved to be off the list, because if you give them a gift then they think they have to give you one in return.”
It might be almost a sense of relief for both yourself or others if you can give gifts out want not just obligation.
- Consider giving away family heirlooms or sentimental keepsakes. What are the family heirlooms that you may no longer use and are simply gathering dust in the attic or closet? Who is the daughter, son, or granddaughter that has been asking for that particular set of your mother’s silver, for years? You can use the Christmas season as an opportunity to pass down that silver set. Not only does it help you save money, but there is a deeper meaning than money or materialism behind the gift.
- Give to charity instead of buying gifts. This Christmas season could also be an opportunity to start a new family tradition. You can begin teaching the younger family members about the meaning of giving rather than receiving. Instead of drawing names for gift giving, get every family member to choose the charity or organization of their choice to donate the amount of money you would spend on the gift to the chosen charity or organization.
- Write down peals of wisdom. Brain Kelly, founder of Brain Brands in Chicago suggested to Helmich that American senior citizens could write down pithy quotes, witty insights or common phrases used by your family and giving those as a thoughtful gift.
- Share your time and talent. What is your unique talent or special gift? Are you really good at sewing or crocheting or cooking? Then use this as an opportunity to share your gift as a gift with someone you have on that gift list.
Yes, the holiday season can be a stressful time. There are list that must be crossed off. Gifts must be bought. The Christmas dinner must be cooked. However, there are changes that you can make or adjustments in carrying out your holiday planning that can be both economically smart or spiritually uplifting.