Is Christmas a happy time full of anticipation or a burden and financial strain?

Do people even appreciate the gifts you buy?

** Let's examine why we buy gifts **

If it's because it's expected, maybe it's time to make a change. Other people you exchange gifts with may be thrilled if you ask about cutting back or not exchanging gifts this year.

** Ideas for holiday fun instead of giving gifts **

Have a trim-a-tree party and everyone bring food or perhaps one ornament.

Have a pizza party and bring board games to play, or watch movies.

Have a reminising party - everyone has to write down a memory and make enough copies for everyone. Designate someone to gather a copy of all the memories and create a family or friendship book. Get it bound inexpensively at an office supply store.

Set up a movie camera and have everyone talk about their memories. Usually when you hear someone else's memory, it brings up a memory you had forgotten. Send copies of the movie to everyone there.

Have a Christmas decorating party. Make the red and green construction paper chains you made as a kid. String popcorn and cranberries to put on the tree. Have someone organize materials to make hand crafted ornaments.

Have a Christmas cookie baking session. Or have everyone make their own favorite cookies and bring them for a cookie exchange. Have hot chocolate, hot cider, or cold drinks available. Have a cheese or vegetable tray to offset the sweetness.

Have a Christmas card making party. Have plenty of colored paper, pens, scissors, stickers, glitter, and other craft supplies.

** Do you have any other ideas for inexpensive fun around the holidays?

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