Ways to make gift giving more meaningful (and less expensive)

More than 2 in 5 shoppers expressed feeling pressure to spend more and buy more.

According to last year’s Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey, involving 1,000 interviews, more than 2 in 5 shoppers expressed feeling pressure to spend more and buy more. However, there are ways to purchase fewer gifts, spend less money and still enjoy gift giving.

October’s Real Simple offered such solutions as:

‒ Pitching in on one gift for someone special, a parent or grandparent, for example.
‒ Doing something together: meeting at a home — or renting one — and playing games, watching movies or making crafts.
‒ Purchasing a recurring gift, such as fruit, cheese or meal-prep kits, that everyone in a home can enjoy.
‒ Swapping favorite baked goods.

And, of course, there is always the popular white elephant/Yankee swap/dirty Santa gift exchange. Each person brings one gift and puts it under a tree or in a pile. Each person picks a number, and the person with the number 1 chooses a gift first. The next person can either steal the first selected gift or choose another — and so on. The person with the last number is able to see all the unwrapped gifts and steal from anyone or take the last unopened gift. The person hosting the gift exchange can specify the theme: gag, practical, coffee- or wine-related, candles, etc.

Secret Santa and name choosing routes save money as well. Instead of purchasing gifts for all family members or everyone in a book club, for instance, individuals might be able to budget a little more on that one special gift.

Real Simple also suggested making gift giving a charitable endeavor. Let friends and family know that the gift giving budget this year will benefit, for example:

‒ An orphanage in a third-world country.
‒ A local family struggling to make ends meet, who might need utilities paid or groceries to stock their pantry.
‒ The community pet shelter in need of food, blankets or medicine.
‒ Area foster children.
‒ Homebound individuals, especially the elderly, who may not have friends and family members with whom to celebrate the season.