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8 Ways to Be a Generous Gift-Giver Even When Paying Off Debt

Can you keep making extra payments on your debt and still buy presents for everyone on your list? If you’re trying to get out of debt, you might be dreading the holiday season. Even if you spend just $20 on each person, those numbers add up—and fast!

Well, guess what? You can still give gifts and keep your debt snowball rolling. All you need to do is get creative. So set your Christmas budget (no matter how big or small) and get ready to think outside the box! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get crafty.

If you’re handy with a glue gun, your options here are limitless. The world—or Pinterest, at least—is your oyster! You could create a photo album, put together a family cookbook, or even paint a canvas if you’re artistic. Whatever you do, just go easy on the glitter.

Homemade gifts don’t have to cost a lot but still send people the message you were thinking of them. When you make homemade gifts, you also have the chance to spend time with your family. You can hold a craft night and bond with your kids or hold a bake-a-thon and bond with your spouse or partner.

Give your time.

Experiences are way better than things. So give the gift of time and experience rather than stuff. And you don’t have to splurge on a fancy vacation to make it happen. Offer to shovel someone’s driveway, run their errands, or even clean their kitchen. A little elbow grease can go a long way.

Thrift it up.

You probably know someone with kids! Offering to babysit for someone you know might be better than any brightly wrapped present under the tree. Now they can go get their Christmas shopping done—or just have some good old-fashioned alone time!

Write a heartfelt letter.

If you know someone whose love language is words of affirmation, this is the perfect gift for them—and it won’t cost you an arm and leg. Consider handwriting your letter and putting it in a picture frame. Ultra classy, but easy on the wallet!

Bake homemade treats.

Who doesn’t want to chow down on some cozy Christmas goodies this time of year? Whip out a baking sheet and a bag of flour then go to town. You don’t even need wrapping paper. Just pick up some cling wrap or craft paper and tie it with ribbon. Presto!

Use old gift cards.

Americans have left more than $45 billion in unredeemed gift cards on the table since 2005, according to estimates by WalletHub. If that Home Depot or Williams Sonoma gift card you got last Christmas isn’t really your dish, use it to buy a closet organizer for your college-age kid or a mixing bowl set for that gourmet chef in your family.

A Netflix, Hulu+, or AmazonPrime Subscription.

The pandemic has people streaming more than ever before. And depending on the media habits of the person you’re giving the gift to, a gift card to one of these subscriptions may go a long way to helping them out.

Dollar Store Stocking Stuffers.

You may like the idea of stocking stuffers, but you don’t want to tack on another $50 to your Christmas budget. Head to the dollar store and stock up on little gifts like candy and Chapstick. That lets you focus the bulk of your gift-giving budget on the presents under the tree.

To focus less on material things and more on the spirit of the season, consider a joint donation to a favorite charity with the adults on your list, or volunteer together over the holidays instead of exchanging gifts. With some smart planning and just a little creativity, you’ll be on your way to a merry Christmas indeed!

If you have credit card debt, are having a hard time paying your bill, or feel stuck in your financial situation, we want to hear your story. Our Listening & Lending® Solution is all about developing a close partnership with you and looking at your whole financial picture to put you on the path toward financial success.