A lot of people get married for the gifts and the party. My husband and I got married because we loved each other–you know, all those warm fuzzy reasons you say the “I do’s”. For us, the gifts and the little party were the awesome bonuses that made it feel extra special and meaningful.
That got me thinking… it’s a tough time of year. Many people cannot afford to give gifts for the holidays or for special events. But there are a lot of things you can do instead. It is (or should be) the thought that matters most. These days, taking the time to congratulate someone, or send them a thoughtful note/gift, means a great deal when there seems to be so much to do and pay attention to.
Here is a list of ideas that may take your time, but take much less money:
For a romantic gift:
- Arrange a romantic night for your significant other: candles, a hot bath, a foot/body massage, cooking their favorite meal….
- Fill an envelope of coupons for your friend, roomie, or loved one. (good for anyone!) Some coupon ideas could be: doing the dishes for a week, veto of a movie pick, cooking dinner for a week, cleaning the house–top to bottom, a relaxing foot massage, an evening free from watching the kids for much-needed “me” time…. You get the idea.I did this for Jake, and he is saving them to use over years and years!
- Give them a whole day where they don’t have to “do” anything they don’t want to–you take all the stress, all the tasks and chores, everything!
- One year I made a huge jar of 2 dozen pickled eggs for my guy–he loved them! Only cost me 5 bucks!
For a friend or loved one:
- Make cookie, granola, or soup mixes in a jar. (Click the above picture for great suggestions from www.SquawkFox.com)
- Make a phone call to someone you have been planning to chat with for ages. Talking with someone “live” is so much more meaningful than a typical gift bought at a big box store, or a brief email or text message.
- Design a handmade card just to say, “I’m thinking about you.”
- Bake a homemade batch of cookies, fudge, or other sweets.
- Make a homemade ornament for their tree.
- Do them a favor: watch their kids for a night, or maybe help them unpack those boxes from their move a year ago!
- Invite them over for dinner and play games or visit.
- Create a small photo album with pictures they would enjoy–or a disc would do too!
- Compile a care package if they are having a tough time, or moving. Fill it with silly things: a can of soup, a box of cereal, dried fruit, an old nostalgic photo, a little letter,… comfort items.
- Make a scrap-book for them (My sister-in-law made me one of these my first year I moved far far away. It made me cry!).
- Compose a mix CD of your favorite tunes.
For a special event:
- Write a hand-written note to the person you wish to congratulate. When we got married, there were folks who conveyed their congratulations in really thoughtful, sincere notes and cards. Those meant the world to us–just to know they were giving us their support and affection.
- Give them a basket of local goodies/fresh produce.
- Find a great, affordable antique or vintage item from a local shop or flea market.
- Give them something of yours that is heirloom, or treasured–maybe they always wanted it. My aunt gave me a 20-year-old cookie jar from her collection! My friend hand-embroidered towels and hand-sewed a quilt!!
Sometimes it’s the things that cost the least that mean the most, because you put your time and heart into it. Truly grateful and loving people are always most touched by a thoughtful effort–no matter the cost!