of a Cheap Holiday
by Laura Emery, Field Editor
is usually synonymous with the holidays — especially Christmas.
But this year might be a little different. The economy is
in a slump and many people have lost their jobs. Many Americans will not be
in a financial position to be as generous as they may have been in the past.
It might be time to make a few changes in your
gift-giving practices. It is possible to show appreciation for family and
friends without giving until it hurts.
So while Bing Crosby is dreaming of a white Christmas,
you can be dreaming of a cheap holiday. Following is a compilation of Web
sites that are filled with tips, tricks, and ideas on how to have a
fantastically frugal holiday!
For many people, cooking a fancy meal for loved ones is
extremely important. But what do you do when the budget gets tight? Serve
ham and mashed potatoes? According to New York magazine’s holiday guide, it
is very possible to put together an impressive meal on an unimpressive
budget. New York calls it “the cheap party.” The menu, however, doesn’t
sound cheap. It includes: spicy roasted pumpkin soup with whipped tofu,
shrimp spring rolls, Chap Chae, braised tofu with ginger scallion sauce, Bo
Ssäm, and fresh Asian pears and persimmons. How’s that for a glamorous
Check out this site for more than 63 gift ideas — for
under $10. The list includes everything from handwritten copies of your
favorite recipes to a pepper mill and fresh peppercorns.
Investigate this Web site for 39 tips on saving money
during the holidays. One such frugal tip is to cut up old Christmas cards
and use them as gift tags.
How do you have a cheap holiday without feeling guilty?
eHow.com breaks it down for you. Visit this site for useful and interesting
tips on how to enjoy the holidays guilt-free and debt-free. One of the tips:
“Go over your list and see if there aren’t some people you can take off your
list. Maybe there are kids who are off to college this year, or friends you
have not visited in a while. If you are on the fence, then send a friendly
e-mail and see if they are open to not exchanging gifts this year. You may
be surprised to find out that they will be in complete agreement with you
and have been feeling that way, too, but didn’t know how to stop without
seeming cheap or feeling guilty.”
About.com’s frugal-living section is filled with valuable
information for having a budget-friendly holiday. It includes information on
how to make your own gift boxes; homemade-gift ideas; Black Friday shopping
tips; how to save energy during the holidays; how to save money on sending
holiday cards; recipes that use leftover holiday foods; free and nearly free
ornaments you can make; quick and free holiday centerpieces; free printable
Christmas tags, and how to make your own holiday wreath. In the free and
nearly free ornaments section, you’ll find ideas that include embellished
glass balls, paper snowflakes, origami shapes, toys, and peppermint candy
If you have to go cheap this year, this is the way to do
it! This Web site has a list of brilliant ways to be frugal, while still
honoring the spirit of the holiday with humor and cheer.
Here are five great, inexpensive
gifts and corresponding notes to be lovingly attached. 1) Plate of homemade
cookies — “Wishing you a wonderful holiday, from your ‘crummy’ neighbors!”
2) Loaf of bread: “For being there when you were ‘kneaded,’ for ‘rising’ to
the occasion, large or small. For never ‘loafing’ on the job, for helping
others ‘heel’ with TLC. No matter how you ‘slice’ it, you do a terrific job
loving others — and we love you!” 3) Snickers Candy Bar — “Don’t ‘snicker’ —
just be glad you got something!” 4) Jar of homemade jam — “Hoping your
Christmas is jam-packed with cheer!” 5) Gourmet pasta with a bow and wooden
pasta spoon — “Have a ‘pasta-tively’ happy holiday!” 6) Candle (in holiday
color or scent) — “Best Wishes for a bright and beautiful Holiday Season!”
7) For the teacher in your life, try stuffing Hershey’s Hugs & Kisses in a
coffee mug, bag, or box with the following note: “A teacher can’t live by
apples alone. She/he needs ‘hugs’ too! Merry Christmas!” 8) Or, give a soup
packet with gourmet crackers in mug or soup bowl with the following card:
“Wishing you a ‘Souper’ Holiday Season! ”There are hundreds more of these
ideas at this Web site. It’s definitely worth a look!