Five Ways to Master your Holiday Spending

Whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukka, the Epiphany, or another holiday I’ve failed to acknowledge, you’re probably gearing up to spend a bit of dough on your loved ones in the next few months.

You know how it goes…. you go overboard in your spending in December, and then in January you’re eating rice and beans so you can repay your credit cards before they are due. Could your holidays look different this year? Could you actually save money in January and start off 2018 in an amazing way, rather than repaying old debts?

Start saving now

Unless you get paid monthly, there are at least three pay periods before the holidays. Cut something on each and save $250 a pay cheque. That’s $750 in total, which should cover a large portion, if not all, of your holiday gifting expenses.

Calling All Makers!

Whether you’re a dude or a gal, you can make something. Is this something you can give to your friends? Recently Greenpeace had a call to action to make something rather than buy this year. The world needs you, and people need your love and friendship, not the crap that you give to them. I find this works extremely well when giving to the opposite sex, as they may have different skill sets. Here are some ideas of things you can make:

  1. Baked goods. If you have a house party, bring something to eat rather than splurging on wine…
  2. Wine… unless you make your own wine, which is the perfect gift in pretty much any social situation.
  3. Woodworking. Can you make a coat rack or coat hooks? These are practical gifts which would wow anyone.
  4. Art. Do you paint? Do you sketch caricatures? I know I’d rather receive your interperative rendition of me rather than some discount bath and body products. Are you a photographer? Blow up one of your photos and frame it, voila!
  5. Knitting and sewing…. that homemade scarf you make isn’t going to go to Goodwill, unlike the one you buy in a store. Why? Because the receiver will appreciate it more.

These are suggestions I’ve made based on my skills, but feel free to go nuts with the creativity. We need more makers.

Dinners and Dates

Since I’m an adult and earn an income, I can buy anything I really want, right? What is more worthwhile to me is a nice evening with someone who is dear to me. Invite your friend out to a “Christmas Dinner,” your treat, and bring a box of homemade cookies, and your friend will be feeling warm and fuzzy, guaranteed.

Buy Nothing

If you know someone who feels the same way as you do… is a minimalist, loves the environment, or is trying to reduce consumption, mutually agree that going forward your gifts will be “buy nothing gifts.” Whether that means you cook each other dinner, write a heartfelt letter to each other, or regift something you think the other person would enjoy, commit to buying nothing for each other. Challenge yourself to appreciate someone without relying on a gift to do so.

Socially Responsible Gifting

Buying nothing isn’t possible with certain friends. Instead, give them something which has a story. When the open the present, explain the story behind the gift. The Reformation uses over stock materials and tracks your environment savings. TenTree plants ten trees for every item purchased. How is that for feel good gifting?

Please be sure NOT to support any initiative which promotes the trade of animals (ie to buy a goat for a family).


This has been my go to gift for years. I’ve given workshops, movie ticket experiences, sporting tickets, symphony tickets, restaurant gift cards, and yoga passes for someone to use as they choose. This is a wonderful gift that someone can experience outside of the holidays and which supports the local economy.


Have you been inspired to change your gifting this year? Commit to less waste, less plastic, and less resources. How are you changing it up?