Power of Two used to share an office space with a great little operation called Catalog Choice. These guys run a free program that can help you stop junk mail–thereby saving money, resources, and your sanity! Catalog Choice recently emailed out a collection of cost-wise, eco-friendly Hanukkah and Christmas ideas. These tips are a great way to get more involved in the holidays, do something creative and think “out of the box” (literally). Here are their ideas combined with some Power of Two pointers. Enjoy!
Top 10 money-saving Hanukkah and Christmas ideas:
- Reuse packaging material, especially foam peanuts, bubble wrap, etc. You can also make packing insulator out of old newspaper and scrap paper or fabric.
- Wrap creatively. Old comics, maps, sheet music, fabric and wallpaper scraps can all be used as creative gift wrapping. Decoupage, paint or color food tins and boxes make unique gift containers.
- Skip the stocking stuffers. Stocking stuffers are usually synonymous with useless stuff. Little toys and cheap gifts that don’t serve any purpose except to unwrap are better left out.
- Give the gift of time or talent. Take someone to a play, concert or movie. Make your own gift certificates that offer your talents like photography, massage or organizing.
- Buy outdoor light strands that are wired in parallel. The other lights will still work even if one goes out, so you won’t have to trash the whole strand. Better yet, buy LED holiday lights. These use significantly less energy, last longer, and don’t pose as much of a fire hazard since they don’t get hot.
- Keep gifts simple and meaningful. The vision of a tree with presents overflowing underneath is powerful, and in the end, deceiving. “One thoughtful gift is better than six wrapped packages of unwanted gifts.”
- Instead of struggling to wrap an oversized gift (like a TV or exercise machine) hide it and give the recipient clues. Turn it into a treasure hunt.
- Plan previously loved or homemade gifts. Books, a restored piece of furniture or a rebuilt bike can be cherished for many years by many people and become family heirlooms.
- Make the holiday meal a potluck. As with Thanksgiving, taking over the entire meal yourself can be incredibly stressful and a financial burden. Get everyone involved by staging a potluck or asking friends and family to come over early and help cook.
- Compost your leftover food. Compost is a fantastic free soil conditioner, plus, gardening is a great family activity. Teach your children how to care for a worm compost bin and grow your own “victory garden”. You could even gift seeds, plants and bulbs from your yard.