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Broke? Get creative with giving

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 7:06 am

Q.: The holiday season is upon us, and this year has been an interesting one financially for me. I would like to send my family and my friends gifts, but I don’t have the money.

What are some creative ways I can give gifts without being embarrassed? – Giving From the Heart, Hillside, N.J.

A.: Please don’t feel compelled to spend money that you don’t have. Being more broke will only compound the potential for embarrassment, which is not a path to happiness.

But you do have options. Go shopping among your things. Do you have a favorite book that one of your loved ones would appreciate? What about an article of clothing that could be a favored hand-me-down? An art object that would be perfect in someone else’s home? Think about your loved ones and envision who might truly welcome such a gift.

A heartfelt note written to each of these people about the value of your relationship could be a wonderful gift that they will treasure for life. And an old standby for great cooks is to make something edible that your loved ones may enjoy. There is some expense to home-cooked gifts, so if you go that route, be sure to keep costs down.

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or C/O Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.