Girl Making Christmas Presents.
Girl Making Christmas Presents.

8 Ways To Think Outside the (Gift) Box

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Every holiday season, the idea of giving gifts to everybody you love can cause a lot of pressure. You may even end up spending more than you can truly afford just to prove your love for someone. As we all know, this year has proven to be challenging for many. Allow yourself permission to reflect on if it still makes sense to give gifts in the traditional sense. You can decide that you do something completely new to honor family time together, but not have to give gifts. This is your life, you can create it however you want. There are no rules and it can be fun to find new ways to approach this year’s holiday season. To help you get started, here are 8 new ways to think outside the box.

Support small businesses or minority-owned businesses.

If you still want to give gifts to your loved ones, the first place is to start with a budget. Make sure you’re only spending the money you truly have on these gifts. Then you can consider supporting small businesses or minority-owned businesses, as they may need the extra support. Start by looking online for local small businesses. You can also ask your friends if they know any businesses that may need some extra love. Support them by purchasing their products or services and telling your family and friends about them too. As a small business owner myself, I know how valuable word of mouth is. Nothing is appreciated more than a referral from a happy customer. 

Donate to a charity or organization in honor of someone.

Another way to give gifts is by making donations to a specific charity or organization in honor of a loved one. For example, let’s say someone you love has experienced a medical condition in their lifetime. Instead of giving them a material gift, you can donate to a specific charity or organization that supports that specific medical research in honor of the person you love.

Give the gift of services.

Gifts that really pay off for the recipient are usually the ones that help someone or provide an inner investment or experience. Giving the gift of financial planning to someone by covering the costs of the financial planner fee is a good example. You can search for a qualified certified financial planner by using the CFP board search engine. Another idea is paying for someone to have a life or career coach session to help them get started on a new path or career in life with the intent they continue with the sessions on their own thereafter. Or even pay for someone’s therapy session if they are going through a hard time in life. You can search for a licensed therapist online.

Open up an Investment account for someone.

You can even open up an investment account for your kids and buy into a diversified mutual fund that can grow to provide them assets once they turn 18. Take it a step further and go through the process with your child. Teach them how to open the account, add money into it, and invest in a specific investment. Financial education is a gift that can pay off for years to come. What better way to teach your child the importance of investing than by helping them get started!

Organize Money free experiences.

Plan special experiences with someone by carving out the day to do a hike or beach or picnic in nature and share all the reasons you love that person. You can write love notes, to your kids, parents, best friends, and significant others. Ultimately, sharing from your heart can create a meaningful connection. Usually, these free types of gifts are the ones that make a lasting impression and memory with someone and can be healing and beautiful for the receiver and the giver. 

Host a Gift exchange.

This helps you only buy for one person versus many. This can be really fun and if you decide to do the exchange over zoom or a social distant meet up outside, it can invoke great cheer and laughter as sometimes these gift exchange games are a hoot!

Leverage credit card reward points.

Many credit card reward points go unused every year. Make this the year to review your points and redeem them for cash back to pay for gifts, gift cards, or other items. This can be a creative way to give gifts and not come out of pocket per se. 

Invest in yourself.

And finally, the importance of investing in yourself.  Prioritizing self-care practices, and factoring that into one’s budget, has always been one of my biggest tips for clients. This year has really enforced us all to recognize the importance of that. We all need to make sure we are finding ways to spend time and money wisely to take care of ourselves from a holistic well-being point of view. Whether it’s carving out time to do a day trip in nature, or establishing a savings goal in your Mint app to try out a new self-care routine monthly. Self-care can also look like hiring a professional licensed therapist. Regardless of the method, self-care is more important than ever and should be considered as a gift to yourself this holiday season.

As a bonus, you can get a head start on next year by using the Mint savings features. You can even set up a specific holiday fund and save throughout the year for next year’s holiday gifts or anytime next year.

Regardless of how you decide to celebrate your loved ones during this holiday season, remember to focus on love. Love is healing and we all could use an extra dose of love’s powerful healing capabilities this year. Wishing you the most memorable and wonderful holiday season yet!

Brittney Castro

Brittney Castro, CFP®, CRPC®, AAMS® is the founder and CEO of Financially Wise, Inc., Entrepreneur and Speaker. Connect with her on Instagram or Linkedin. More from Brittney Castro