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four christmas gifts in a basket

Christmas is a stressful time of year for many of us. The hefty debt from holiday spending is overwhelming, and the thought of facing the post-holiday reality can be nausea-inducing.

The average U.S. consumer plans on spending an average of $1,051 this holiday season. Year after year, we shell out our hard-earned dough on presents like Snuggies, the latest in technological gadgets, socks (with one mysteriously missing only days later) and even expensive jewelry.

What if we went back to the basics and focused less on frivolous spending and more on gifting both practically and thoughtfully? That’s exactly what one money-smart mom from Money Saving Sisters decided to do with the Four Gifts Christmas Challenge, and it’s working out well for her family.

The idea is simple. Pick four gifts – one in each category. You’ll hit your loved one’s wants and needs while keeping the spending and over-gifting under control.


Image: MoneySavingSisters.com

Something They Want

Maybe your loved one has been dying to see a new musical, or itching to carve some fresh powder on the ski hill. Maybe he or she is a craft beer aficionado who’s been hinting at a Beer Advent Calendar all season long. Whatever their passion is, pay close attention and look for a gift that they’d love but might not necessarily splurge on themselves.

Pssst: why not try GroupOn? You’ll find great deals on hobbies & interests

Something They Need

Have a younger brother who’s been prancing around with bad breath all year? Get him a high-powered electrical toothbrush!

But seriously – this category includes items that the recipient really does need. Maybe that brother just moved into his first home and could use a set of silverware, or maybe he’s a new father and needs a cushioned mattress pad for a better night’s sleep (you know, when that finally happens 18 years later).

Something to Wear

Nothing says “Be Merry” like an ugly Christmas sweater. But for those who may prefer to receive more practical attire, why not take advantage of outerwear sales this season?

Stores begin to clear out their winter selections as early as December to prepare for spring items. Score an extra warm, super stylish winter jacket for your loved one at a marginal price!

If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of not having to scrape off car windows and shovel driveways during the most wonderful time of the year, a nice winter wardrobe staple like a cute scarf or hat can still help keep everyone in the holiday spirits.

Something To Read

Knowledge is power. Gifting it is even more so. Avoid the “why would you get me THAT” face when your loved one opens a book by finding something that will really spark their interest. Whether it’s a “history of fashion” book for the young fashionista or a “handyman guide” for the husband whose skills could use a little freshening up, there really is a book for every interest.

Hey, why not give the gift of financial knowledge?

Thinking of participating in the Four Gifts for Christmas Challenge? Share your gift ideas in the comment section below!

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