Let's be blunt. The holidays can be really hard if one can't afford to give gifts, a position that many people are in these days. And then there are folks who, for a variety of reasons, want to simplify their lives by avoiding gift-giving.
What if you're in that situation? What if you aren't, but want to respect those who are? We have solutions for you!
• Be proactive in making others feel comfortable. If you know someone is hurting financially, make things easy and be the first to suggest that this year, you give each other the gift of not exchanging gifts!
• Consider low/no-cost presents that are fun for you both, whether it's a cookie or soup exchange, a hike in the woods, a book club based on library finds, a night devoted to driving around and looking at Christmas lights, or just getting together for silly TV and snacks.
• Get crafty. Decorations from greenery in your yard, old wool sweaters felted in the dryer and cut into ornaments...even if you don't think you're crafty, search the web (Pinterest is a good start) for easy ideas, and enlist friends for help if you need courage in trying something new!
• Encourage friends to bring unwanted items like clothes, books, games, and movies, and host a swap party—everyone brings home something gently loved and new-to-them! (Donate what's leftover.)
• Help others. Purge closets and donate to a charity. Serve in a soup kitchen. Figure out a chore exchange. Find ways to volunteer in the community as a team.
• A cup of coffee or tea with good conversation goes a long way in the gift department.
Remember that gift-giving doesn't have to be grand or expensive—it's the memories you'll make that will last!