The Holidays are Priceless

Give Great Gifts – Keep Your Cash

Free-Gifts-headThe holidays happen every year. We know what December and January bring across all countries and cultures. And in the US it’s thrust on the shelves and in our eyesight as soon as summer stalls. Know what’s cool, though? You don’t have to start saving or spend time shopping to present someone with a thoughtful gift that steals the show. Free your bank account, and some space on your shopping list, by incorporating these gifts into your giving this season.

A word is worth a thousand picturesNothing shows how much your thought counts like putting words on paper. A few quill-and-ink ideas that share what’s on your mind in kind that are favorites of mine?

  • Encouragement Jar—Inspire friends, coworkers and those you just plain love on scraps of paper. “Be Brilliant!” “Enjoy the little things…” “I dare you to keep going,” and, “You are always stronger than you think you are,” can be enough to boost anyone, any day. And if you’re looking for inspiration, well…in a word, Pinterest.
  • Word CloudCelebrate and remind someone how amazing they are by choosing words that fit their personality. Adjectives, nouns, verbs…there’s no limit to what you choose to use. I had a great time creating one for each of my kids on wordle describing everything I love about them.
  • A Simple LetterWhen was the last time you sat down and penned a letter to someone near—or far? There’s something about a handwritten note or thoughts that go on for pages that makes for a very intimate gift. Scribing on stationary can bring beauty, too. But it’s the time you take that makes it a timeless keepsake.

Create Something GreatImagination and your own two hands are likely to design a gift that is one of a kind. Using found objects (in nature, recycling and otherwise) and art supplies you have in-house, you can bring anything to life, from something suitable for framing, to tossing on a couch to displaying on a desk—with pride.

  • Original ArtAny mix of mediums that get your creative juices flowing—and your artsy side showing—goes here. From sculpting and assembling, to painting or sketching, photography and pastels—there are no limits.
  • T-Shirt PillowsA favorite wearable plus scissors, thread, a needle and anything fluffy you can stuff it with can equal a pretty cool (and personal) conversation piece.
  • Painted RocksChoose a cool or quirky color scheme, an inspiring word or quote, or the simplicity of a name and you have a pretty solid gift that can act as anything from a traditional paperweight to a fun display piece for home or office that will bring you to mind, every time.

Family WayFeel compelled to spoil your nearest and dearest? Do so. Go ahead and do it without spending a dollar —and present them with some priceless pieces.

  • Family TreeYou may have had the project due back in 4th grade, but when was the last time you researched and displayed your family tree? Sites like MyHeritage allow you to research—and create—a tree that covers all branches of your brood. This gift will put roots down that grow the appreciation of family among young and old.
  • Food/MealIf you can prepare it, they will freeze it, heat it, eat it (or eat it as soon as it hits the kitchen). When your pantry is stocked with simple staples, it’s no surprise the edibles you can assemble. From soups to casseroles to desserts that might trump dinner, you can’t deny it: food is love.
  • Fun & GamesPick a day to play a game favorite—or favorites—with family or friends. Something simple outside, like a crazy game of TV Tag or Kick The Can, or unfolding the Monopoly board and having kitchen table time until the last dollar is spent are ways to create laughs and loving memories that’ll last.

So, yep, it’s the thought that counts…

About the author: Heidi Alger

Heidi Alger is the mother of two low-maintenance, high-energy kids under the age of 10. She offers financial guidance, budget tips and lifestyle advice keeping the challenges of modern military families in line, writing alongside an award-winning team at Pioneer Services. Her grandfather, a CW04, served in the Army Security and National Security Agencies during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Follow Heidi on Google+.

Contact: Heidi Alger


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