Alternative holiday gift ideas

Canada Life - Dec 19, 2023
Tired of budgeting stress during the holiday season? Try these alternative gift ideas to celebrate the true spirit of giving.
Woman making cookies with two children

This holiday season, give more without straining your budget

It’s that time of the year again. We decorate our homes, warm up with hot chocolate and watch films that celebrate the season. It’s also a time that can bring stress for many of us. From finding the right gift for each person, to keeping it all within budget, gifting can be a challenge.

This holiday season, take a different approach. Instead of taxing your wallet, use these ideas to inspire more meaningful giving.

1. Record your family history.

What better way to get together as a family than to celebrate your journey through the generations? Collect photographs, letters and other documents from family members to get started. Save letters and greeting cards and create a family scrapbook. Use your phone to record interviews with older family members. If you enjoy quilting, make a family history quilt. Use different sections of the quilt to depict different branches of the family tree.

2. Give homemade baked goods.

From cakes to cookies, who wouldn’t appreciate homemade goodies you made for them? If you enjoy baking holiday treats for your own family, make a few extra batches.

3. Create personal vouchers for helpful services and fun events.

One person might love a voucher for an evening of babysitting – or dogsitting. Another might get a kick out of a voucher for a pickleball or video game with you. Handwrite your vouchers and decorate them any way you like.

4. Visit a local nursing home.

Your time is one of the most profound gifts you can give to anyone. Especially to a senior who may not have many material needs but would appreciate companionship. Call a local nursing home to fix a time when you can visit. If it's allowed, take your children too. Have them prepare handmade greeting cards or craft items as gifts.

5. Give your own handicrafts.

The ideas here are limitless. For many crafts, your biggest investments are your time and imagination, not money.  For example:

  • Embroider handkerchiefs with lines from poems or witty messages.
  • Customize plain mugs by drawing on them.
  • Make jewelry storage frames and handmade jewelry.
  • Put together food mixes in a jar – brownies, chutneys, sauces and more.
  • Pick herbs from your garden and make them into wreaths or give them in jars.

This holiday season, as you think about your gift plan and budget, take a moment to reflect. Think how many people might benefit more from the gift of your time, attention and care than from a shower of material items. When you give of yourself, your gift becomes priceless.


This information is general in nature, and is intended for informational purposes only. For specific situations you should consult the appropriate legal, accounting or tax advisor.

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