Being part of a large extended family has its advantages and disadvantages, especially during the holidays. We all look forward to coming together. Sometimes I laugh so hard that my belly aches!
It used to be that after the holidays my wallet would also ache, but not anymore!
I would need to buy more than 20 gifts if I purchased one for every family member. Many years ago the adults in our family made a pact that we would give gifts to each other without spending money. We challenged ourselves to be thoughtful and creative.
Through the years we have cherished some of the most memorable gifts, and spared our wallets. Here are just a few:
One of the ways we shared the gift of time was by offering “coupons” where we offered to babysit for family members with young children. It gave them some freedom when they needed a break with their spouse away from the kids.
One of my sisters worked on a childhood memory book and gave it to all of us one Christmas. She spent hours capturing our fondest moments as kids and packaging it in a neat little book. It sits on my coffee table today and has become a source of many delightful conversations.
One year we decided to write letters to one another to express the unique characteristics about each family member and why we were so thankful for them. On Christmas day with tears welling up in our eyes, we read the letters that had been written to us. I will always cherish those letters.
Although Christmas is less than a month away, I am not stressed out about spending a lot of money on gifts! Instead, I can look forward to the belly aching laughs that I am sure to enjoy with my family.
Sylvia is a financial educator at Virginia Credit Union and loves teaching about personal finances. Her biggest challenge is to “practice what she preaches,” so she's always looking for teachable moments to keep her healthy financially and to share with others.
Other stories by Sylvia W.