The holidays are coming and you have a balance of -7.26 dollars in your bank account. What are you going to do?
You have five siblings, three sets of grandparents, six aunts and uncles, and two nephews. (Wait, did I forget anyone?) The point is, it can be overwhelming. Especially for college students. Here are 6 tips to save the bank and still have a Merry Christmas, as told by none other than "Home Alone" protagonist Kevin McCallister.
1. Don't wait until last minute!
Shop for Christmas all year long! Don’t start 2 weeks before Christmas when prices are raised. Grab that toy from the dollar tree when you come across one your nephew will love, it doesn’t matter is it’s April. Wow, these winter coats are on sale? It’s July but winter will be back, and Aunt Judy loves blue! Shopping lightly year round will lighten the burden, come Christmas time. You’ll turn around and realize you’ve done half of your shopping without even thinking about it.
2. Pay attention to the little things.
You go to your moms house and realize she has to wash more coffee cups every time you visit. There’s an idea, a brand new set will do nicely! It will be very thoughtful, yet affordable. You notice your older brother has mismatched sock with holes in the toes, there you go, a nice package from Walmart will do the trick. It’s not the Xbox One he wanted, but he’ll appreciate it anyway; no one likes buying their own socks.
3. Get crafty.
Those old wine bottles downstairs can make an excellent set of tike torches for Grandma’s patio. Buy some wicks and citronella fluid and you’re golden. Grandmas love homemade stuff. Get on Pinterest and get to work! “It’s the thought that counts” she always says.
4. Give an experience.
You don’t know Uncle Mike very well, but you know he is a truck driver. He loves country music and coffee. Get him a CD from one of his favorite artists and a Tim Horton’s gift card. Practical, thoughtful, affordable. Your stepmom is a homebody, she would love a couple chick flicks and comedies to watch on her nights off. Get her that new one with Adam Sandler and don’t forget a package of popcorn. “How cute are you” she’ll say.
5. Buy some laughter.
Dad is going through some sort of midlife crisis. He died his hair blonde and started reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”. Buy him a package of adult diapers and one of those walkers with the horn on it. He loves a good joke. Through in a Christmas card and some of his favorite childhood candies and he will have a swell time. Maybe he will even forget about those grey hairs peeking through for a moment. Your stepdad is a gambler. Buy him a stack of lottery tickets to try his luck. Be sure to throw in a fake one or two to get him going. Don’t forget your camera to capture the moment he thought he became a millionaire.
6. Get a group gift.
Don’t forget the in laws. Maybe money is tight but you know your spouse's parents could use some time together. Grab them some scented candles, a bottle of wine, cheese, and crackers for a romantic date night at home. They will definitely appreciate the sentiment. Maybe you cannot get all six of your husband’s siblings individual gifts. Go big on one gift for the whole family. They love throwing family reunions at Tim’s camp and could really use a nice outdoor grill.
So despite your financial woes, Christmas can be affordable. A few tips and tricks can be all it takes to make shopping for loved ones fun, easy, and inexpensive. We’ve all been there. The struggle may be real, but the holidays are a time for happiness, not stress. Family and friends will be thankful for any sign of effort. Go out and show them you care. Merry Christmas everyone!