Wrapping up Gifts on a Budget

Years ago, Forest and I experience a rough time with our finances. The three of us were living on $850/month from unemployment. That Christmas, I wanted to thank the people who had helped us.

I mentioned this idea to Forest and he casually said sure, until I gave him ‘my list!’ On that list were 300 names! “300 people” – he exploded! “We don’t even know 300 people!” I started going through the people (and of course their kids) and we did in fact know that many people.

He said we don’t have any extra money – – remember?? I decided to figure out a way to thank all of these people. A couple asked me to make a wedding dress for their daughter and she paid me $300. Now, how could I make gifts for 300 people on $300?

I happened to see a picture of a gift bag from simple brown paper sacks in a magazine. My creative mind pictured gorgeous bags. As a result of that simple idea, I did in fact give 300 gifts for less than $300 that year.

We had a lot of ‘gift bags’ to make and I finally asked Forest to help with 30. If you know Forest, you know he waited until the last minute. One evening we had about 10 friends over for a dinner (to receive their gifts). After dinner, Forest was in charge of entertainment. Guess what he did?

Yes, he got everyone into a circle, handed out paper bags and the 12 of us each made 3 gift bags (he wanted to give me ‘extra’!). Of course, I was upset he hadn’t done it on his own. He was smiling from ear to ear that he had figured out how to meet his commitment and have fun in the process. How typical of us! I’m so thankful I’m learning how to be more like him and have more fun!

The biggest gift I received that Christmas was realizing that giving is not defined by the amount of money in my checkbook or cash in my wallet – – – it is defined by the appreciation in my heart. I also learned I can get up tight or laugh along the way as I give. Whatever the occasion – – you can give and bless others if you choose to. Just let your heart lead the way.

This idea went on to be featured on television and in a book. I have also done a YouTube video showing you how to make simple, yet beautiful gift bags from simple brown paper bags. (Visit  www.lifestyleforhealth.com/giftbags.)

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