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Managing the urge to splurge

Readers, this week, we feature some light-hearted ideas for the holidays.

Seriously, readers, you need a break from the never-ending stream of serious, distressing topics of late invading your consciousness.

We holiday gift givers come in so many forms: impulsive, generous to a fault, real strict budget planners, meaningful-gift seekers and the like. Probably, over the years, we have all experienced being each type — depending upon our personal financial situation at that time.

By now, careful planner-type Bermuda residents will have met their Christmas gift budget. Surprises tucked away, with only the wrapping left to go.

Good for you.

Impulsive: some of us, who have leaning-to-procrastination tendencies for various reasons, find that because we have put off the cumulative purchases that the budget purchase plan becomes the impulse plan.

The thinking then overwhelms — with time running out — the motive is to just to get shopping over with. The result. Holiday budgeting goes down the drain, credit card balances rise, and the Christmas spirit is tinged with early post-holiday anxiety before celebrations even begin.

Holiday budget planners: impulsive procrastinators are not the only ones with some holiday paralysis. Families don't always have excess cash, but feel duty-bound to meet gift-giving expectations. It isn't always easy to communicate to the relatives that the celebration needs to just as joyful, but not quite as euphoric as in other years.

Making the holiday meaningful: everyone, almost, I venture to say want to have one holiday experience or gift that is tangible and meaningful, particularly, today with the trend of unimaginative gift cards, electronic apps, and good old cash in an envelope.

Here are some thoughts on making the celebration meaningful, while maintaining the budget.

• Reduce your gift list.

• Reduce the choices.

• Set a dollar limit.

• Collaborate with relatives, or friends. Pool your resources. One great gift per person is so impactful compared to numerous small presents.

• Implement a voluntary giving contest — among your friends — maybe your relatives too, if we revolve with free spirit people. A small prize, eg to the person with the most innovative gift — produced or purchased at a set agreed-upon amount.

• Make something yourself, with relatives, friends, children: handmade, homemade, repurposed, or recycled. Some craft ideas require ingenuity, perhaps a bit of sewing knowledge, or hammer/nails. More to the point, all handmade, repurposed items need imagination, participation, and the idea of making it fun.

Some ideas. Helpful links are below, but here is where you use your imagination by searching the internet, particularly Pinterest. The myriad of ideas are truly fantastic.

Repurpose, decorate old/beaten up furniture, a chair, a bureau, a table, a tray, mirrors, picture frames with new paint, shells, buttons, etc.

• Paints.

• Drawings.

• Print pillows.

• Inexpensive sofa throws.

• Shells.

How to: hit the second-hand stores, thrift shops, rummage sales for old jeans, furniture, knick-knacks, the beaches for shells and driftwood, share reduced price paints with friends.

Be bold. Why can't you have a purple or an orange chair, or a bureau the front of which is decorated with flowers, seascape scenes, etc.

• Rejuvenate old picture frames or mirrors with paint, glued shells, buttons, other interesting small objects.

• Sofa pillows. Dig through your closets for old clothes, printed skirts, bright sweaters. Piece together a print to recover a pillow, or turn a sweater (or two) into a sofa throw. If you can't sew, staple the fabric together. You can always persuade your granny to sew it properly later.

• Sofa throw, warm and comfy. A little more expensive — purchase a yard of polartec in a bright colour, plaid or print — cutting a fringe on each edge.

• Make a scarf for men or women with a smaller one-quarter yard. Voila! No sewing needed.

Driftwood items — trending popular

Painted driftwood with twining lights make a nice corner accent piece or even a Christmas tree.

Driftwood wall hanging with shells — easy to make, children can help.

Driftwood monogram plaque.

Shells as a map of Bermuda. Glue those pieces to a turquoise sea painted cardboard, plywood, or fabric background.

Shell necklace, wrist or ankle bracelet.

Decorator Jeans Wear

Jeans — thrift stores carry these, generally, reasonable. The entire jean is your palette — inspiration abounds through the internet.

Jeans shirts. Buy large sizes, paint scenes on the yoke, attach buttons, other types of discarded old jewellery, lace, patchwork, etc. great for informal wear, each one unique.

Can't hammer a nail, sew, paint, or glue? Make presentation food gifts.

• Purchase thrift shop attractive teacups, bowls, vases, decanters, plates, casserole cookware, trays.

• Fill with tea, cookies, homemade breads, crackers, party mix, mac n' cheese, always big favourites.

• Can't cook either. Then, combine dry raw ingredients together — say for chocolate chip cookies, or shortbreads, then package up in recycled jars or new plastic containers.

• Origami birds and stars. Use any paper, plain or coloured, used Christmas wrapping paper. Inexpensive, easy to make. String together to hang on windows, and tree.

• Scrounge thrift shops for cheap costume jewellery. Recycle into original designs for clothes, wall hangings.

Remember, keep it simple, keep it cheap, and don't worry about any of these homemade attempts being store-bought picture perfect. The real beauty of making something by hand is that everyone participates. Everyone creates.

It is not too late to make a gift from the heart. Even if you don't make the Xmas deadline, these gifts are great for anytime giving

Happy holidays, readers!


DIY , Cool Recycling Furniture Ideas

Driftwood shell wall hanging,

Driftwood door plaque,

World shell map,

Jeans inspired,

Origami stars,

Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All proceeds earned from this column go to The Reading Clinic. Contact:

Cost conscious: try hitting the charity stores, like the Salvation Army thrift shop, in a quest for innovative gifts (File photograph)

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Published December 15, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 15, 2018 at 12:23 am)

Managing the urge to splurge

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