Gift presence this Christmas–and avoid spending a fortune on gifts! Spend less money and create more memories. Here’s how.
Christmas is just around the corner, and, for many, holiday shopping is in full swing.
Soon, I’ll be posting an in-depth gift guide that my husband and I have spent hours curating with our favorite picks and best deals this season.
I’m a firm believer that the very best gift you can give someone is the gift of your presence.
Although traditional and thoughtful, all tangible presents eventually fade. But when you gift presence in someone’s life–taking the time to form lifelong memories together–it will endure.
Plus, when you gift presence, it can be the most affordable gift of all–or even free!
Since I’m typically a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person, I have way too many memories of spending all day on Christmas eves past, rushing from store to store, just so my loved ones would have something to open on Christmas Day.
As I think to the gift of presence, I’m filled with memories of the years we were low-income and barely making ends meet.
During one of the most stressful periods in our family’s life, we had to stop giving to anyone outside of our children all together.
It was then that we learned to get creative and either make gifts or practice the gift of creating memories–to gift presence–in order to show our loved ones that we cared during the present-giving season.
We think we must give tangibles, but oftentimes, it’s the small and thoughtful gestures that carry the most meaning.
Check out these:
6 Ways to Gift Presence to Your Family
1. Listen to (or play) music together.
Whether it be at your church’s Christmas cantata or at a community event, listening–and singing along–to the tunes of the season can put you in the Christmas spirit and create lasting memories. It’s essentially a way to gift presence!
2. Attend a Christmas play.
Many churches offer free admission to Christmas plays, or perhaps you prefer to attend a performance at your child’s school. As you laugh (and maybe even cry) together at the scenes portrayed, you will form memories that will last a lifetime.
An alternative can be to attend a living nativity. We have one in our town that is a hit with our kids each year.
3. Check out holiday lights together.
While large-scale light shows that charge a hefty admissions price are popping up more every year, there are still plenty of opportunities for free light viewing together.
Our town has a display with music that starts after Thanksgiving and continues through the week after Christmas. We stop by as a family as often as we are able.
We also love to just drive through our neighborhood on the way home from other events. Our girls are entertained, and it doesn’t cost us a penny.
4. Volunteer as a family.
Whether it be at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or just packing Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes together, your children will not only learn how to serve others, but they will also revel in the gift of your presence while volunteering together.
5. Bake and deliver cookies to your neighbors.
Most of our neighbors usually keep to themselves (unless it’s Halloween night). We love the excuse to knock on their doors during the holiday season.
My girls and I usually spend a day baking some kind of sweet treat and then deliver them to people on our street.
This is something the girls have begun to ask about each year, as they have already formed memories around this gift of presence that is, in turn, giving an edible present to those around us.
6. Watch a favorite Christmas movie and sleep beside the tree on the eve of Christmas Eve.
This is a new tradition we started last year, and my girls love it!
We spread their sleeping bags on the floor of our living room, right beside the Christmas tree, and we popped some popcorn and watched The Nativity Story together.
We hope to continue this gift of presence every year!
Get a FREE Holiday Planning Guide with Money-Saving Tips
Want even more inspiration for how to give the gift of presence instead of spending a ton of money (you might not have) on gifts that won’t last?
Check out this FREE holiday planning guide from Suntrust. You can download the guide here!
Also, check out Suntrust’s super handy (and free!) holiday budget worksheet here. Their simple worksheet can help you save money this holiday season.
Go here for even more holiday planning tips!
What are your ideas on how to gift presence to your loved ones? Do you see creating memories together as a way to save money yet still give to each other?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.