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3 ways to give generously on a budget

As the year draws to a close and and year-end pressure sets in, it can be hard to get in the Christmas spirit. The demands of the work day combined with the social pressures of the holiday season are a lot to juggle. The days get shorter, and the list of gifts to get for everyone gets longer. Christmas is meant to be a time of glee and giving, but at varying times and for many poeple it can be difficult to give generously. Sometimes what we have to give is meager. 

If you’re like me, your budget may be tight or you may not have a lot of time to go Christmas shopping. Although you may feel like you do not have much to give this Christmas there are some cost efficient gifts that will allow you to be generous with your heart. Even if your budget is tight there are still plenty of ways to be generous this Christmas. 

DIY gifts 

Even if you are not the most artistic person, a heartfelt handmade gift is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. The beauty of DIY gifts is they cost very little to make  and the fact that you put time and effort into creating a thoughtful gift makes them  memorable and meaningful. If drawing and painting aren’t really your thing, there are plenty of other creative gift ideas to chose from. For example, you can preserve a family recipe by getting it framed. Or you could make candles with mason jars. You can even get an app to make a portrait of your family home. When you get creative with it you can make just about any DIY gift that is sure to be a great one. Here is a link with inexpensive DIY ideas: 50 Homemade Christmas gifts {15 minutes!} - It's Always Autumn 

Experience gifts

Often the gifts that people remember are experiences shared together rather than material possessions. When I was a kid one of my aunts would always leave a letter for me under the tree. The letter would say that she was going to take me out to lunch and shop for a new outfit. I always thought that picking out the outfit together made it more special than having it wrapped under the tree. A great idea for an experience gift could be going to visit a local state park, or going to get hot chocolate and driving around to see Christmas lights. Depending on where you live there are lots of possibilities. 

Give your time 

If there isn't enough in your budget for material gifts, give your time instead. Similar to gifting an experience, you can also gift a task. Think of ways that you can help a friend or family member with a project that they need help with. Maybe your mom’s car needs detailing, or your brother needs help with repairs on his house. Taking the time to help them with their needs will show that you really took the time to think about what they really needed as a gift. 

If you feel so inclined to give to those outside your friend and family circle there are plenty of ways you can be generous to your community this holiday season. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Donate to a soup kitchen. Bake cookies for first responders. Look and see if you have any spare blankets or towels that your local animal shelter could use. Make cards for residents at retirement homes. 

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Just as Christmas is a time to remember God’s greatest gift to us, Jesus, it is also a time for us to give to those around us. Don’t think that just because your financial budget is tight your generosity has to be too. I personally think that one of the best ways to give is with your time. Whether that be spending quality time with friends and family or volunteering at a local charity- your presence this Christmas is an invaluable gift to those around you. In essence the gift of Jesus is Emmanuel, God’s presence with us.

Madison Myers is a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in marketing, and a young professional. She has traveled to a majority of America's National Parks and is eager to see them all.