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BONUS: 5 Things NOT To Give

 - Dec 12, 2008
References: trendhunter
Ready for your first credit crunch Christmas? Relax, take a deep breath, and let the holiday spirit in. Thankfully there is a superfluity of innovative ways to ensure the holiday cheer stays up while the budget stays down. Here are a few cheap holiday ideas for the recession, but realize there are plenty more to be found online, and an unlimited amount to dream up yourself.

1. For a lot of people, Christmas decorations are a must, even in times where you’re short on cash. You don’t have to spend a fortune though. There are plenty of people getting rid of their old decor on sites like Craigslist, so a peruse through the classified in your city could result in some fun festive finds. If you just want to refresh the lights and baubles you already have, another alternative is to have your friends come over for a decor-swap party.

2. Give away your skills as a gift. Are you a talented writer? Offer to help them craft the perfect cover letter, write a poem, or create a book using a site like (seen in the main image.)

3. Looking for a great idea for your clients or colleagues? Write them a nice recommendation letter on LindkedIn, or something similar to help them out in their career. This would be particularly appreciated by someone who has been laid off or is struggling to find work.

4. Instead of inviting people out for a fancy meal, have them come over to your home for a pot luck dinner. This not only ensures every guest will have at least one dish they’ll enjoy, but it will also save you a whole lot of moolah.

5. Festive clothes on a budget can actually be a lot more fun than buying an overpriced designer piece from the mall. If you’re crafty enough yourself, sew your own, add rhinestones or feathers to a dress you already have, or grab your girlfriends and peruse the racks at your local thrift, then combine your finds to create enviable but cheap holiday outfits.

6. Make something for your friends to enjoy. If you can bake, make a few gingerbread loafs or banana breads and include your secret recipe. If you can make jam, or steak sauce, do that.

7. Paint a small flower pot yourself to match the theme of their home decor. Plant their favourite flower, herb or a baby pine tree. ‘Tis the season, after all!

8. Make your own coupons for tasks like shoveling the drive way for an elderly friend or carpooling for your neighbours.

9. A subscription to their favourite magazine: it’ll remind them, every month of the year, what a great friend you are.

10. Something practical like Skype minutes, an iTunes gift card, or a gift certificate for the Trend Hunter store.

BONUS: Things NOT to give

- Any type of "gift with purchase" or freebie you receive when making a purchase for yourself.

- Any package that has previously been opened or floor models of any kind.

- Something they gave you last Christmas. Be so careful when regifting. (I’ve seen this gone wrong too many times.)

- Anything diet related. If they talk about wanting to get in shape, a box of chocolate Turtles is not OK. Likewise, any gift that implies they’re overweight like The Biggest Loser cookbook or heart rate monitor, is also inappropriate.