Getting Double Value for Your Money This Christmas

Are you tired of the commercialism that floods communities and stores as Christmas approaches? Do you think that many of us have enough without giving and receiving more unneeded articles? Do you quaver at the thought of NOT entering into the whole Christmas present deal? What if you could give twice with every gift? Not possible? I assure you it is. Read on and find out how you can get double the value for your dollar this Christmas.

The economy in many countries seems to be in crisis. We are continually exhorted to give to charities and benevolent institutions. How can we help those in need and continue with our Christmas plans? It is great to give and receive presents and no-one really wants to stop this practice. So why not purchase your gifts from any of the many charitable institutions which advertise online, in papers, magazines and through the post? By buying from such organisations, you are not only supporting a charity but filling Christmas lists at the same time.

Gift Basket(74169)Credit: By Goaname (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Many charities have cards and calendars at Christmas. Prices are competitive. For some years now, I've bought cards from the MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painters of Australia). They are good quality, Post Office Preferred size and very acceptable as a card. As a small extra, the West Australian Red Cross has a calendar out for 2012 which is a fraction of the cost of those in newsagents.

As a further example, Save The Children Fund has an online gift catalogue. A quick browse through this and I came up with gifts from $3.95 for a key ring, $5.95 for an oven mitt, $18 Fair Trade chocolates, $45 for a travel wallet and a host of others.

The World Wildlife Fund is another organisation that has cards and gifts for sale, including clothing, calendars, books and toys.

Gift TableCredit: Wikimedia

Many charities have great selections of gifts. Free Trade gifts are a win/win. If an organisation is 'green' as well, you've added another dimension. The opportunity to 'buy' seeds, trees, goats, chickens or cows for a Third World family is another great way of sharing our comparative wealth and many people would not be upset to think their Christmas gift had gone to a good home, so to speak.

And don't forget your local craftspeople. Every community has its artistic and creative people. Stalls abound through the year and if you pick up a few gifts along the way, it means your Christmas shopping is half done by the time December arrives. By buying from local people, you are supporting your community AND buying unique gifts for your loved ones. In our area, we have the choice of pottery, gourmet foods, local olive oil and wines, patchwork, knitting, crochet and other crafts as well as exquisite hand-made cards. Such gifts as these are unique as rarely are any two of a kind exactly the same.

In these days of increasing hardship, you might like to think about keeping your hard-earned money circulating in your own community.

Don't just think 'gifts', think services. Buy a voucher for a manicure at your local beauty parlour for an elderly aunt. A local business owner benefits as does the aunt. Win-win. Local businesses would love the chance to sell a few vouchers over the Christmas season. Your money will stay in your community. Car detailing for a father? Meal at the café for parents? Hair styling/pedicure/manicure/massage? Hardware DIY store? Baby-sitting voucher for a local teenager to mind a friend's children? The possibilities are endless. If local businesses haven't thought about vouchers, ask if they'd be interested.

Have a great Christmas!