Recently someone asked me, "How do you handle the holidays when you are unemployed?" That was such a great question that I thought I'd share it with everyone. The holidays are a special time to spend with family and friends. We share our love for others with gifts, time and celebration. However, if your funds are limited this year you might be tempted to say "We aren't having Christmas this year." I am a firm believer that Christmas is not all about the gifts and hustle and bustle. Americans, store advertising, and our flesh have created this spending frenvy during this time. You can and will have Christmas regardless of what you spend.
Here are some ideas to celebrate without spending any or very little money:
- Make sure that your friends and family know what is going on. You don’t want people you normally buy gifts for to be caught off guard if they don’t receive the usual $100 Christmas gift. Support is good when you need to scale back or not spend for the holidays.
- Make crafts. Create some journals, scrapbooks, baked goods, etc as gifts. You don’t need to spend a lot to say you love someone. Those that you love will understand. Also give of your time. Think of ways you and bless family and friends that don’t involve money.
- Re-gift. Some people consider this taboo but it is very useful. You may want to look around your home and find gifts that may not have worked for you but could work for someone else. Don’t feel bad about it either. It may work out for you both!
- Volunteer your time to groups who have even less than you do right now. That will put unemployment in perspective. You must remain appreciative of what you do have. Soup kitchens really drive this home.
- Celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Give cards or letters to friends and family that say what you truly feel. I remember those clearly when people have done that for me.
- Don’t host for the holidays but do take a dish to someone else’s home. Saves you time and money!
- Do a one gift exchange. Everyone in your family buys one gift with a low limit ($20). You exchange them anonymously so there is no pressure. Make it a game!
The bottom line is you can still have Christmas without going into debt, the poor house, or forgo paying bills. Keep your basic necessities first and find new and creative ways to celebrate the holidays.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!