CostumesGift IdeasGreeting CardsHolidaysParty Planning

Best Holiday Gifts for Financially Struggling Families

Updated on November 12, 2016
Source

These are the kinds of gifts that would be most appreciated by families who are going through tough financial times.

There are many families in America who may not be homeless or starving, but they're struggling. Meeting the needs of providing a normal family life is a strain. If you have friends or relatives who are having financial troubles, choose a holiday gift that will make their life a little better all year long. The gift ideas below are things that would be wonderful for families like mine.

A food bank in Virginia.
A food bank in Virginia. | Source

I'm not Starving, but . . .

People already have ideas about what to give to the very poorest of the poor. Those who have no food in the refrigerator, and maybe no refrigerator at all. But that's not the situation for me and many other American families. We have a home and we're surviving, but keeping everything together is difficult.

For my family in particular, we are what they call "house poor." The definition of "house poverty" is this:

"Someone who is house poor dedicates so much income to housing, he or she may have difficulty meeting financial obligations and discretionary income is usually limited..." — wiseGEEK

In our case, it's not mortgage payments; it's rent. Rent and utilities for a place in Los Angeles that will accommodate our whole family eats up most of our income, and covering the rest of life's expenses is a juggling act.

Families like mine don't quite need blankets and a box of canned goods, but we don't really want a spa day either (I mean, it would be fun, but when we get back from it our day-to-day existence will be just as hard as it was before).

When the holidays come around, that family you know that's having money troubles will really appreciate a present that makes maintaining a normal life a little easier.

Here's What We Really Want

Nice Clothing

Especially clothes for the children. Grown-ups can often go a long time without buying any new clothes, but children have this habit of growing. Every time we turn around, they're bursting out of their things again. We always need new clothes and shoes for them.

NOTE: Children's clothing should be given as Mom's or Dad's Christmas present, not the children's. Give the children toys or games for the holidays. The Little Match Girl would be thrilled to get shoes and socks for Christmas, but your niece and nephew want Legos, just like any other kid.

If you decide to get clothing for an adult, choose something that will last for a long time. Look for sturdy fabrics (machine washable, please!) and classic styles that won't go out of fashion next week.

Give Something the Family Uses a Lot

Some items always get used up quickly. I'm a choir director, so something I go through a lot of is blank CDs (and CD sleeves). What is your friend or relative always running out of? Giving them a hefty supply of it leaves them with one less thing to keep up with.

Low-maintenance Toys

For children's toys and games, you want to get something that won't break easily and will provide long-term fun without additional expenses. The ideas below are things that have been really good for my kids.

Razor A2 Kick Scooter (Blue)
Razor A2 Kick Scooter (Blue)

My mother bought my boys Razor scooters years ago, and they have held up extremely well.

 
K'NEX Education - Intro to Simple Machines: Gears Set – 198 Pieces – Grades 3-5 – Engineering Education Toy
K'NEX Education - Intro to Simple Machines: Gears Set – 198 Pieces – Grades 3-5 – Engineering Education Toy

Building toys are good because kids don't outgrow them quickly. They adapt to the child's changing ability and creativity.

 
Source

Helpful Kitchen Gear

Food is one of the biggest expenses for any family, and cooking from scratch is a big money-saver. But cooking from scratch also requires a lot more time and effort. A person who may be working multiple jobs can find it difficult to muster up the energy to do a bunch of cooking.

But a nifty time-saving kitchen gadget can make things a lot easier. Consider kitchen items that can help a family trim their food budget (AND improve the nutritional quality of their meals!).

  • Bread maker
  • Juicer
  • Rice cooker

You can find more ideas here.

Mom or Dad Might Like a Kindle

Farther down on this page I talk about being careful not to give a gift that will bring additional expenses. But there are lots of titles that are available for free on the Kindle, so this could be a really abundant gift for the parents or even the kids! Free books for the Kindle.

Gift cards? Sure!

It's especially good to give a gift card that will cover spending that they already needed to do. Think necessities, not luxuries.




Other gift ideas

  • Fix or replace something that's broken.

    When finances are tight, it's hard to pull together the cash to repair broken items (as I write this, my oven is not working and I'm not sure when we'll be ready to get it fixed). Take care of that malfunctioning appliance or patch up that hole in the wall.

  • Get their car serviced for them.

    This is something that people will often procrastinate when they're low on money.

  • Pay a utility bill.

    If someone is always racing to stay ahead of disconnections, getting a bill paid current can be a godsend.

  • Maybe a gas card!

    One year for Christmas my aunt gave gas cards to everyone she knew. I loved it!

  • Or a bus pass!

    Passes for the Metro in Los Angeles are expensive, so not everybody would be able to give a gift like this. But anyone who did would be giving a serious blessing to someone who relies on public transportation.

  • Buy them a savings bond or some stock.

    When they're struggling to take care of routine expenses, they don't have much opportunity to put money towards the future.

  • Start (or donate to) a college fund for their kids.

    Again, look toward the future.


Source

Give us something that we can re-gift!

Really!

When the holidays come, families who rarely buy anything but necessities for themselves face the prospect of spending their meager cash buying presents for others. Being relieved of some of that burden is a blessing in itself.

To give someone an item they can re-gift, you would have to give it to them before the holiday actually comes. If you're close to the person and they know that you know their financial situation, it won't feel uncomfortable and it will be appreciated.

If you're in a position to be really generous, here's an idea for a perfect hat-trick holiday gift:

  1. Give them a present for themselves that they will really love.
  2. Give them another item that they can use as a holiday gift for someone else.
  3. Brainstorm with them about what gift they should give you that you would really value but doesn't cost money. Help with a project? Babysitting services? There's probably something that they're really good at that you're not so good at.

Maybe a book about figuring out your finances?

In The Trenches: Financial Survival During Times of Hardship
In The Trenches: Financial Survival During Times of Hardship

Don't assume that any time a person has financial difficulties it's due to mismanagement. But for some individuals, advice about money management can be helpful. This book offers practical tips for dealing with financial challenges in a family.

 
Source

Avoid giving a gift that will lead to more bills!

Don't give them something that they will have to spend money to use.

Will that fancy phone require them to upgrade to a more expensive service plan? Better to pay their current phone bill for the month.

Will the gym membership mean spending money on gas, babysitting, and "appropriate" workout clothes? Give them some home exercise equipment instead.

Will the game system for the kids cause them to beg Mom and Dad for every new game that comes out? Buy a drama-free toy.

Share your gift suggestions!

This area is not the guestbook. Please leave regular greetings in the guestbook at the bottom of the page. This space is for gift suggestions, so any comments here that are not gift suggestions will be deleted.

Big THANK YOUs to all the folks who have left such great ideas in this space. Keep 'em coming!

Suggestion box: What are other good gift ideas for families in financial straits?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Karen 4 months ago

      Love this article. We are a successful family that met an under privileged boy at a restaurant near a park in a re-gentrified area (playing corn hole!). We have him over regularly, but this give me rea, and solid direction. I felt embarrassed to ask anyone in the family what was best because I thought that would seem demeaning. Thanks for this!

    • pitlock profile image

      pitlock 3 years ago

      find out if they need a tree get them a real one take them with, where I live you can go cut your on down. Be their secret Santa and take a meal or two over there, maybe just goodies cause, they probably can't really do that either baking can get expensive.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I wish I could have some xmas. I am so poor that I am below poverty level, I can't find a job, I always wake up alone on xmas and feel so alone and left out that I cry. I wish I could get even 1 present. that would be nice.

    • profile image

      djroll 4 years ago

      Terrific ideas that are practical and can be used to give to so many who are struggling.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      how happy i am to give agift to others chismas is not abot geeting it is about giving an i am going to give not get have a vary marry chis mas

    • shawnhi77 lm profile image

      shawnhi77 lm 4 years ago

      Beautiful site I love it. I think gift cards are a great idea because that gives families more freedom to get what they really want. One of the best places to get discounted gift cards is GiftCardGranny.com and PlasticJungle.com. You can get a gift card and a discount and that way you can stretch your money and help a family in need.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      A gift basket full of consumable necessities (toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dish soap, diapers-if applicable etc)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      If you know the person uses a pre-paid phone, give a "minutes" card

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      gift certificate to the grocery store or drug store

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Brilliant ideas, Joan. How about a gift of cash?

    • profile image

      eddierog 5 years ago

      Join a local free cycle group and give things away that you no longer use or need.

      A win win situation for all concerned, your also helping your local community and

      stopping people throwing things away and causing a bigger problem with landfill

      sites.

    • Toni-Roman profile image

      Toni-Roman 5 years ago

      #1. There are waiting lists for free house insulation/energy efficiency programs. Get your church to go as a group to a poor family with a huge winter heating bill and insulate the house in one day like on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. This might be a Habitat for Humanity collaboration. Screen out those who waste power on electricity-driven Christmas decoration.

      #2. Find a homeless family and figure out arrangements for a semi-permanent home for them. Chances are one or both father and mother has a job but that employment has not prevented their eviction. If not, then help them find work and child care if both parents want to work. I really hope this suggestion helps both volunteer groups looking for ideas as well as some family in financial straits.

      Merry Christmas !

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      big hotels in cities just throw away left-over food or wilted vegetables. families in need can benefit from that. all they have to do is knock at their doors. do you think it is easy?

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Give a promise to help with a task or project (e.g., cook meals for a week, clean out the garage, wash the floors, and so on). Give a poem that you wrote. Give a walk in a local park. Give an afternoon worth of help at a soup kitchen where you will receive a meal in return. Give something unexpected (For example, one year I put about 200 sticky notes all over the house that said "Happy Birthday." Cost: Nothing since these were left over notes.) Give a back rub. Give something that you made (e.g., Make a toy, sew a garment, and so on).

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      A suggestion, hard since you have covered everything. I was thinking maybe some family's in this situation may have games like the wii or Xbox. What about new controllers or headsets since they need replacing. I also love to put a family board game under the tree every year. Inexpensive, but something we can do and have some laughs. This year I chose "Operation". My kids maybe had it years ago and I think I would get a kick out of it too! Inexpensive, and something to bring smiles to our faces.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Great lens, much needed information. The US Congress should look at this. I'm also chasing utility bills and paying high rent, single mom, 2 jobs. Not enough to meet the monthly needs. Can be very hard just to face the day wondering if I have enough to pick up TP! I have been given more can goods that we can possible eat, most of it is stuff I wouldn't be able to put a decent meal together with. So, thanks for your tips. GREAT

    • profile image

      BestBuys4Baby 5 years ago

      Some really good ideas here, times are tough and practicality rules!

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      I have gotten so really good ideas for gifts thanks to you. Thank you!

    • profile image

      nsixx99 5 years ago

      I really like the part of helping with utility bills or gas, those really are great gifts. The gift of saving money is huge. Great lens!

    • richDik profile image

      richDik 5 years ago

      There is some really fantastic ideas here.. especially giving a gift that will lead to more bills! Good thing to remember when gift giving.

    • JackieSonia profile image

      JackieSonia 5 years ago

      This is such an informative lense. I got a few ideas from here. I usually would give my sons gift cards. Now I shop for their children instead. When the family starts to grow, it's almost impossible to get gifts for everyone.

    • TrevorLedford profile image

      TrevorLedford 5 years ago

      My mom just got me some tires for my car, something that I really need now and is very appreciated!

      I also know that for struggling parents with kids, most of them would rather that people get things for their kids, especially around Christmas. We all want our kids to have good memories around the holidays.

    • profile image

      nursecraft 5 years ago

      Maybe a gift card for gasoline? If a car is available, the cost to run it can be overwhelming.

    • LoneMeadowLark profile image

      LoneMeadowLark 5 years ago

      I am blessed in that my son has just this week really gotten the hang of potty training, and it is just in time because I had no idea how we were going to afford diapers. So, for people with young children, something as simple as diapers can be a blessing.

    • profile image

      tastycat 5 years ago

      Good idea in these bad times. Even a hot meal would be good. And don't forget about house pet,a bag of food which would further then a can of food. Any kind of help would be a blessing.

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 5 years ago

      Being in the Mid-West, I send struggling friends children mittens, hats and gloves. Socks, if I know sizes, too.

      You helped me think of other ideas. So thanks for writing this.

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      The idea of gift cards is super for places like grocery stores (Kroger's is big where I live); practical department stores like J.C. Penney, Kohl's, Walmart; Home Depot (they stock cleaning products!), bookstore like B&N, Amazon, etc. which stock a variety f things that kids also like - and interestingly enough, kids like picking out their own stuff; Joanne's, A.C. Moore, and Michael's for home stuff and more kid stuff...thanks for an important and well thought-out lens.

    • profile image

      sarahsalleluia 5 years ago

      How about a night out at a restaurant?

    • profile image

      baby-strollers 5 years ago

      Great ideas - Starbucks for mom and dad - maybe splurge a little?

    • markettrol profile image

      markettrol 5 years ago

      Gift cards for Target or Walmart....let them choose what they need.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A tray of homemade lasagna or ziti with a loaf of garlic bread - yum! They will love it!

    • profile image

      rabbitowner 5 years ago

      Look for cheap bargains on ebay. There are a lot of misspelled, badly listed clothes, shoes, books and etc., most of them brand new and they go for nothing. They sell also a lot of thing in bundles, which you can just pick up from your local area.

    • TopToysForKids profile image

      TopToysForKids 5 years ago

      There are so many well reviewed items on Amazon that can be had for just a few dollars. Look at the reviews and base it on that. Also an idea is to trade one person something of value to them for something that you may be able to give to someone.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 5 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I'm getting spices. Everyone uses spices and it doesn't cost a lot. At Penzy's you can get a really awesome set of about 6 spices for around 25 dollars. Every time that they use them they will be reminded and be a part of their dinner! I'm getting it for my sister who got a new apartment focused on the spiceness she loves and baking for my mom! And their shipping costs are affordable. That's what I'm doing. Oh yea, I might separate an orchid plant for a friend at work.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      @joykennel: Yes! A family game is a great gift!

    • SheilaVine LM profile image

      SheilaVine LM 5 years ago

      Plant some spring bulbs in a pot.

      Cheap to make and great to get makes the spring come sooner. Flowers are a treat for the lady of the house.

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 5 years ago

      An invitation for dinner is always a nice gesture, as well as gift certificates for dinner at a nice restaurant. Naturally, cash is something that will pro'lly never go outta' style.

    • joykennel profile image

      joykennel 5 years ago

      Blokus is a fun family game too--under $20

    • joykennel profile image

      joykennel 5 years ago

      Rory's Story Cubes--fun family gift, under $7 on Amazon

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      These are really great ideas. We have a Magi Tree at our church where we choose stars with the gift that we need to purchase for a needy family. This morning the first five stars I chose were something like Play Station 3 or other games and I know the games that goes with these are very expensive. I finally found 2 that wanted Walmart Gift Cards so I chose those.

    • profile image

      WeirdStuff 5 years ago

      The last advice is the best! some gifts are more money drainers, than real gifts

    • squidluck profile image

      squidluck 5 years ago

      Very practical and useful lense. This is definitely a financial struggle to many us. Doing something to reduce expenses will help in the most basic need. While everyone has to enjoy the holidays, we should look at the post holiday effect. Have a safe happy holidays.!

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 5 years ago

      Vouchers for books would be great. I know I'd love them, since some of the books I want are too expensive for me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think an IOU presented on a gift certificate is always a great gift for a person that can't afford to give a gift, and for people that are a little better off, I can't see why if each person can't get a Christmas stocking, and put just a few things in it, like coupons, one piece of clothing, it doesn't matter even if it is just socks or underpants, a bag of Christmas sweets etc, it doesn't need to cost more than $20, it would make sure that everybody had a gift at Christmas. I always do this, and I always put a gift under Target and Kmart's Christmas tree. Thank god we have companies like this that are prepared to make sure that the gifts are given to the right people.

    • emmajowebster profile image

      emmajowebster 5 years ago

      The best gift I was Given last year was a warm waterproof coat for my wee girl and gift vouchers that i could use for utilities - it helped a lot and helped reduce stress...........

    • canoz profile image

      Heather Bradford 5 years ago from Canada

      How about xmas decorations? My kids longed to hang lights on the house like our neighbours did but for many years it just wasn't a priority. We finally bought up some supplies at the boxing day sales such as a new tree, xmas lights, window decorations, and tree ornaments. It didn't help that year but the next one was very exciting. I also buy bon bons and cards 12 months in advance.

    • BlueStarling profile image

      BlueStarling 5 years ago

      These are great ideas. I, too, am "house poor," and having a utility bill paid as a gift would be great. Many struggling families have pets, so receiving a gift card for pet food would also be helpful.

    • profile image

      LasgalenArts 5 years ago

      In regards to bank products I'd buy a bank CD instead of Savings Bonds because the interest is much better, terms are much shorter and the US Treasury will not be issuing bonds in the conventional way in the near future. The new Bonds will be electronic and they'll be harder to cash in.

    • michelleart profile image

      Michelle Collins 5 years ago from Florida

      This one is for kids. I was poor as a child and was happy with pretty much anything but the best affordable gifts (for me) were art supplies. They have cheap kits available. It is hours of fun and you never know what it may trigger in a child! This is such a great lens! Congratulations on your well deserved lens of the day!

    • profile image

      seegreen 5 years ago

      It's been a long time since we were struggling, and while we wouldn't have been considered poor our budget didn't leave any money left over for extras. Getting warm winter jackets for my kids was always a very welcome gift and my mil bought my daughters jackets every year. I like the idea of something practical but also a little indulgent. I always wanted something impractical for myself. Why? Because I just wanted to be able to indulge in something simple as bath salts, or a soaps, something that I would never buy for myself. I think mothers give up a lot for their children in these situations, they always come first. A pretty scarf would be both practical and slightly indulgent if it was something nicer than I would get myself. A nice early gift for crafty people could be a card making kit so that they could make Christmas cards to give to friends and also have fun indulging in their crafty side if that is something they enjoy. A food hamper that had the practical food inside, but the very pretty basket would be practical to re-gift, or a lovely gift to keep.

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 5 years ago from USA

      My late grandmother was struggling financially and didn't want money to help with bills, so instead of giving her frivolous things for Christmas, everyone would buy her toiletries, ink pens, stationary, gardening supplies, socks and other things we knew she would use but couldn't afford to buy for herself; and she loved and used every bit of it! Other items she received were a new kitchen rug, bird seed to fill her feeders, pajamas, bathrobe, slippers and groceries. I remember a time when I would have appreciated an oil change or new brakes on my car more than a smart phone or a fur coat!! ;-)

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      paying for a child's extracurricular activity -- karate, gymnastics, etc. or their equipment for a sport.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 5 years ago

      a memorable gift will be my choice

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      @MamaRuth: What a fabulous idea! The coupons can be used to save a ton of money on groceries, especially when paired with sales.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      All gifts of service are a wonderful Idea.

      This gift gives twice! you are giving the gift and you are helping to keep employment of local craftspeople.

      A most wonderful low cost gift is the gift of time! Offer your services, what ever you do, what ever you are capable of, give a little time and lend a neighbor a hand.

    • profile image

      dking82 5 years ago

      I've found that, if you're a creative person, making something - even something very simple - works wonders. As an example, I'm a creative designer, and I took some of my most popular designs and had printed them on glossy photo paper and framed with some decent, affordable frames from a local store. Didn't cost much and looks great!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

      In the days hubby and I weren't living on fixed incomes, I liked to give sturdy kitchen trash cans full of necessities -- toilet paper, pasta, bread, peanut butter and the like, along with a can of coffee. Not very glamorous, but seemed to be welcomed by recipients.

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 5 years ago

      What an absolutely fabulous lens! So many families can use a little extra help. When my family asks what they can get me, I also think of gift cards, clothes for kids, etc. Lovely lens and an Angel blessing for you!

    • MamaRuth profile image

      MamaRuth 5 years ago

      My favorite gift is a local newspaper subscription. In our area this costs about a hundred dollars for a year. (However you can buy or renew a gift subscription for a shorter period.)Sometimes this is one of the "extras" that families don't feel they can afford, but it certainly is nice to have. Having access to the Sunday coupons is another plus from this.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      How about a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Something like Abblebees, Red Lobster, or a local non-chain place. The luxury of a meal out can sometimes buoy flagging spirits.

    • profile image

      veebarber 5 years ago

      I like the idea of service related gifting and we all have family and friends that need assistance in some form or manner so why not scribble up a "gift voucher/coupon" made out to your friend/family member for a service they would appreciate like babysitting for 1 night/day a week for 7 weeks or doing homework with the kids for an hour a day when they need it or just sewing and mending someones socks or torn shirt and give these items extra life which saves money from not having to replace them.There are so many "needs"that people have that money bought gifts cannot fill.Try it and see bonds and relationships improve and often these acts become reciprocated gifts.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      A Fine Gift for Each and Every One: "A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted.â...... Charles Dickens

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      One possibility, depending on the family and the climate, is to give stuff that will help them keep down the heating costs in winter - warm sweaters, house socks, good old-fashioned hot water bottles... maybe even a package of weather stripping for the windows and a Saturday afternoon to help seal the leaks where the cold air sneaks in?

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 5 years ago

      Movie tickets for the family that can be used at any time would be good. Thanks for such insightful ideas.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD. The only thing that I can think of to give people who are struggling that has not been mentioned is a book on financial advice like budgeting or some other way to help them get ahead. Blessed!

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Like to look ahead beyond the holidays, to strengthen income for financially strapped families via a second income add-on or moving to higher paying when avaialble by new skills learned. Is this an attractive option ?

      If Yes, what tools and resources can be available for such families who really hate being poor but are now poor under the present economic environment .

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Another idea is socks. We never seemed to have enough pairs of matching socks. Plus, the house was cold. The thing I hoped for most of all the first year the girls and I were on our own was some warm socks, because my feet were always cold. A friend of mine found out & sent me two pairs of thick sock-type slippers. They were wonderful! I loved them & still have them. Something so simple, but meant so much at the time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      If they have pets buy pet food or toys and if they need pet meds/vet put a credit on their name at a local veterinary clinic.

    • Fart Pickins profile image

      Fart Pickins 5 years ago

      Great idea for a lens. Great job! I definitely know from experience how much everyday things cost for a family. Just your diapers example is huge because you go through them so quickly. I agree...if you a family in need they would absolutely love a small supply of baby/toddler essentials.

    • Ninuzza profile image

      Ninuzza 5 years ago

      Every year I bake a selection of Italian Christmas cookies, put them on nice quality holiday plates I purchased at discount stores during the year, and wrap them in cellophane and ribbon. I also add a package of holiday napkins. These gifts of love have never failed to be appreciated. They help the recipients entertain their own family and friends with delicious, unusual homemade baking. And my daughter and I have a lot of fun.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      One Christmas, my dad was in the hospital and we couldn't afford a Christmas tree. My school classroom gave us their tree when school closed for the holiday. It meant a lot.

    • KokoTravel profile image

      KokoTravel 5 years ago

      @ScamsOfTheHeart: I love the idea of keeping our purchases local, it may even be the answer to getting helping create more jobs in our own communities. What better gift than that?

      I love your suggestion!

    • profile image

      Cash4now 5 years ago

      Great ideas. Another great idea is grocery gift cards. Because it helps with gas and or food.

    • judithmurphy profile image

      judithmurphy 5 years ago

      A cinema family gift card has always gone down well with my relatives - treat them to the latest family film at the cinema.

    • joanhall profile image
      Author

      Joan Hall 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Leaving a comment of my own as a reminder to myself. It just occurred to me that with so many great books available for free in Kindle version, a Kindle could be a really abundant gift.

      In a couple of days I'll do a revision on this page to incorporate some of the fantastic suggestions that people are leaving. Thank you all so much!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Tools are great! It is impossible to save money to pay someone to do home repairs, but very hard to do them yourself without the proper tools. Anything from a hammer and screwdrivers to a power drill or small chainsaw would be welcome. Also, those big packages of AA batteries that are sold this time of year are so welcome at my house. We are always running out of batteries.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a great idea for a lens! I liked the re-gifting idea. Or at least gift certificates so we can pick out the items ourselves. Grandparents often fall into this group of people who are struggling financially and when it comes time for gift giving, whether it be Christmas or birthdays, we often have to make a difficult choice...either pay bills or buy our grandkids presents. It's hard to go to a birthday party or to a family Christmas gathering and be the only one who did not get the kids any presents while watching them open all the things from other relatives that make their eyes light up. Helping grandparents be able to get presents for the grandkids and for their adult children would be a big boost...as long as it isn't one of those adult children doing the helping because sometimes those adult children are struggling as well.

    • profile image

      ScamsOfTheHeart 5 years ago

      An email has been going around this year with ideas for buying locally and keeping the money in our own communities. Some of the ideas in the email included hair care, such as gift certificates for hair cuts; car care such as gift certificates for oil changes, tune-ups, car washes and more; gift certificates for restaurants so the family can enjoy going out to eat (include tip money would be nice too). All of these ideas also help keep the local businesses working.

    • emmaklarkins profile image

      emmaklarkins 5 years ago

      Great resource! When I was growing up, we had the basic things we needed, but there wasn't much money for extras. We rarely had tons of toys lying around the house, but we had more than enough to make us happy. I think that toys with a lot of creative play opportunities (Legos, blocks, art supplies) are a great choice. I also think, though, that it's better not to overwhelm kids with toys. If others are giving your kids toys, consider asking them to address the presents from "Santa" and spending less on toys yourself. Helping kids to understand your financial situation is also a great way to teach them about being responsible with money.

    • LaurieKristensen profile image

      LaurieKristensen 5 years ago

      Having been in this situation for a long time myself, and while it really doesn't help add to the bottom line of stocking up on things or paying bills, one of my VERY favorite gifts is gift certificates to the local movie theater. Going to see a new movie in the theater is a complete luxury, but what I do is try to share the experience with the gift giver. Usually it's one of my grown sons, so I have the pleasure of treating him to a movie and spending time with him in the process. Usually I use the certificates to treat him to the movie, then we stop for a bite to eat and he treats. So, the gift of a shared special experience -- if not movie tickets, maybe to another kind of event that would be especially appreciated!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Joan, with regard to buying toys and games for children, everyone should bear in mind that these can easily become one of those things that costs extra. So many of the toys and games today require BATTERIES and they are SO EXPENSIVE! I have made it a habit to ALWAYS buy a large package of whatever size battery the toy/game requires.If I can't afford both the game/toy AND the batteries, I buy a less expensive toy or make sure it doesn't require any batteries. Nothing is more disappointing to a child than to have a great toy unusable on the day after Christmas (or birthdays) because the batteries are dead. A nice gift for poor families might actually be several packages of batteries in assorted sizes just in case others giving toys/games don't happen to think about them. {{hubs}

    • profile image

      luckyone924 5 years ago

      Great lens! My Mom used to give us useful things that we used everyday paper towels toilet paper soap toothpaste and other things it was wonderful i loved it i was always stocked up for a while and didn't have to worry about the little items for a a few months! Merry Christmas!

    • profile image

      Ladybrinx 5 years ago

      We are also in this boat, we are house poor due to rent and my husband recently going on disability(he was diagnosed w/ terminal brain cancer) AND we have four kids. I work but it's just not enough. We actually were lucky enough to have people do this for us as of late. We did get a lot of gift cards which was nice, but I have to say what we REALLY needed was cash, so we could put it in the bank and pay our bills. The most appreciated gift cards were to Grocery stores that also sold gas so we could use it for food or to fill up the car. Where we are that was Meijer, I know not everyone has one, but maybe Super Walmart would be a good alternative. Meijer is similar to a Super Walmart, they have food, clothes, toys, etc...plus their own gas station. Those gift cards actually freed up the grocery buying money so we could pay bills w/ that. Restaurant gift cards were nice but w/ a family of six we still usually ended up paying a part of the bill. There are places we never shop, like Macy's or Younkers, please none of those. We have been completely blessed by our community in the current situation and we are truly grateful, just saying there are better ways to give if someone really wants to know. This is a great idea, thanks for putting it out there.

    • Serenity30 profile image

      Serenity30 5 years ago

      Gift them a Squidoo lens or make one for them if they are unable to do so. Give them the money you earn from it.

      Write a lens about something that belonged to their family or promote their homemade business on Squidoo.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I find people that are struggling often manage to get food but when it comes to expensive grocery items like laundry soap, they have to draw the line and buy cheap stuff. Giving them a couple of large boxes of laundry soap will save on their household grocery budget for a week or two. I like the disposable diaper idea very much, as that is a health concern if a struggling family will try to change baby a little less often to make diapers last. There is WAY too much social and commercial pressure put on people to buy gifts. Offering baby sitting and the cost of a movie with popcorn can be a godsend for a couple that cannot afford it but desperately need a break. I addressed similar issues on my thoughtfulgiftideas lens, because this is an issue to really hits me hard. I don't have much but as I am in OC, please let me know if I can help YOU in any way.

    • SiochainGraSonas profile image

      SiochainGraSonas 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens. Great suggestions. My family stopped exchanging gifts with anyone over the age of 18 years old a few years ago. We still buy for each other children, but only if we are spending the holiday with them. Instead we have start creating new traditions and spending more time sharing family history.

    • Serenity30 profile image

      Serenity30 5 years ago

      Not sure if this is something you have,but pre paid mobile phone card( top up for mobile credit) could help any family.

      Elderly couples could surely use a gift of cleaning or clearing or some other chore that needs to be done in or around the house.

      Make your own gift card. Say something like "free ....... Hours of babysitting" or some other assistance you could give when they need it. This is really great for very close friends. And this would be an extra gift on top whatever you have already bought for them.

    • cocomoonbeams profile image

      cocomoonbeams 5 years ago

      The idea of giving in bulk what a family really needs is great! Every year my mom asks what I want for Christmas and I always say it doesn't matter what I want; what I need is toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo and soap, etc etc. She will go to Sam's Club and get me like a year's worth of toothpaste. One less expense I have to worry about!

    • Serenity30 profile image

      Serenity30 5 years ago

      Handbags or jus school bag types; these get worn out and for those who can't spend on new ones, it will be a great gift. Dried fruits and nut items, these will last longer on the shelf and will add to good nutrition.

      I think books will be great too,drawing books,notebooks,coloring books,memo pads,pen sets. Kids could always use something extra to do at home or even use at school.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 5 years ago from Michigan

      A terrific and very timely lens, Joan. When one of my nieces was a kid, she used to present my sister with a card with check-off boxes. Each box represented x hours of housework to be done. Congratulations on your LotD!

    • sagebrushmama profile image

      sagebrushmama 5 years ago

      I submitted that last comment too quickly! A fantastic gift for the struggling family is to stock the cupboard. This was done a couple of times for us during the year of my husband's back surgery, and the benefit of not stressing over basic staples was wonderful...everything from paper products, to grains and baking goods, to canned goods (new, not scratch and dents), to condiments, is viable, just keep in mind the storage space.

      Another helpful idea is to give a fruit basket, or other foods that provide some of the luxury and nutrition that often get sacrificed by a tight budget.

    • profile image

      Testy2 5 years ago

      When buying gift cards, consider carefully the store and the gift card. Some gift cards have penalties and fees (read the fine print before buying, yeah, take a magnifying glass when you shop!). And the money goes a LOT farther in some stores than others. Being a longtime member of the house poor crew, I can say without hesitation, $50 goes MUCH farther at Walmart than it does at Target, Sears or most anywhere else. So try to give the gift card that works at SuperWalmart if there is one close enough to them, or the next best thing, if they sadly have no Walmart. (not intending to plug Walmart, but I seriously don't know how we'd make it without that store!)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      What about giving gifts that are new, or like brand new, that the family could sell on ebay for cash? I'm talking about really nice things that would sell quickly on ebay. We all have stuff in our homes that we don't use, or gifts that we got that we could not use. Why not help someone out by converting those items into cash? If the family with needs does not have the time, knowledge, or resources to sell on ebay, sell things for them and give them the money. Is this a worthy idea?

    • mrducksmrnot profile image

      mrducksmrnot 5 years ago

      Great Idea's for sure. Give a gift of garden seeds for next spring like corn, okra, green beans, farmer's almanac, calendar, and for those who spend a lot on gifts for others why not a solar panel array to keep the cost of electric power down. Congratulations on Lens Of The Day.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      Kids will appreciate a gift of clothing IF it has a very favorite character on it or it relates to a hobby, etc. Last year I hand inked some sword fencing t-shirts for my son and he loved them. My little nieces would love matching Disney princess jammies!

      When money is tight (for me!), fun socks or my super fuzzy, colorful hand-knitted hats have been a huge hit!

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 5 years ago

      I plan to keep things simple this year by making simple gifts, giving $$ to reputable organization that provides for needy, and including a note telling what was given to who with the simple gifts. Congrats on the LOTD

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Wonderful suggestions! A few other possibilities might be paying for lessons for the kids: piano, ice skating, whatever their interest, plus the equipment needed for that or offering to buy a student's textbooks. Or b

      uying art, craft, or hobby supplies (which can be very expensive.)

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 5 years ago

      Maybe a Visa Gift card? To let the family choose the gift they need most...

    • profile image

      Ruthi 5 years ago

      Gas gift cards! With the high price of gas these days, it's sometimes difficult to even afford gas to get to work.

    • entertainmentev profile image

      entertainmentev 5 years ago

      Congratulations on lens of the day! You deserve it.

      We all have skills (ones we do as our profession or hobby) that can be shared. It can make a huge difference in a family holiday joy.

    • youthministry profile image

      Paul Turner 5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      I recommend any book by Dave Ramsey. He knows finances.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You are right about gifts that lead to more bills. Once, my husband feeling sorry for the kids of an office staff, brought them a new television. The staff cried as he just could not believe the gift. A month later he told us it is giving him a problem as the kids in the neighborhood all want to watch television in his place so his electricity bill went up. We learned a lesson from this.

    • Shanna Redwind profile image

      Shanna Redwind 5 years ago

      If you're not against giving second hand things, an older video game system like a Nintendo 64, or a Gamecube can be picked up really cheaply. That, with a couple of games for it, if there is no video game system in the house can be great.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      Great ideas! I give Wal-Mart gift cards.

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 5 years ago

      A mature fruit tree of their/ their childrens favorite fruit. Fruit/veg is expensive here in Australia so we try to grow as much as we can ourselves. Every year my parents give us a voucher to Bunnings (a garden/hardware store) so we can get more self sufficient).

    • profile image

      mystic_symbols_and_tattoo_meanin 5 years ago

      Great lens Joan with some great ideas. It makes sense to give something that isn't going to cost more. We cut out Xmas allowances in half this year. We have a no kitchen gadget rule in our family (except cake decorating things as that is a hobby) as it is considered a working gift. And clothes are a no no too as they are very personal. Besides vintage is in these days and you can get Jeans for £3.50! What we do is say the limit amount then just do a list withing that price range of things we would like to make it easier for people. Xmas is the one time our family spends on a more luxury item that we wouldn't otherwise get for ourselves.

    • wolley811 profile image

      wolley811 5 years ago

      Wow, I love your lens! I really like the way you presented the necessity versus the luxury, esp those that only cost money! My hubby and I had gone through a time when we struggled to make ends meet, and at that time, we appreciated gift cards the most----even those that were only for a couple of meals at a special restaurant. While I know that special food only comes and goes, it helps for making celebrating special occasions less of a burden. :) We also enjoyed getting nice, sturdy, rubber shoes for free from a donations box, but I guess shoes are difficult to give, unless you are close enough with the person to know his shoe size.

    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 5 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      I lost my job 20 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. It was tough, but like you mentioned above, I was neither homeless or hungry. However, my main expenses were for my new baby and I really appreciated anything related to his care and clothing. Fortunately, we had a wonderful family that loved spoiling their new grandson, nephew, cousin, etc, so he never did without and we recovered. I hope your situation improves soon, as well.

      I agree that anyone with children appreciates items for them, and gifts of handman help are wonderful, if there is not a handyman living in the home already.

    • katemiya profile image

      katemiya 5 years ago

      Great ideas. I agree wholeheartedly with the notion of not giving kids clothing. I would also suggest for parents a gift certificate to a restaurant and theater vouchers, along with a homemade gift certificate offering to babysit so the couple can have a nice night out. Little things like that tend to go by the wayside when money is tight.

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 5 years ago

      I like the comment about how children want toys, and gift of children's clothing should be given to the parents. You can even buy some of these things at a thrift store... A little money goes a long way. I will add that adults may want something non-practical, too. Sometimes all the money is going to practical things, and it's not possible to buy items for a craft or hobby. Random frivolous things aren't so good, but the thing the person would by if they could...

      I remember my aunt usually sent a toy and and clothing. The year my parents must have said they couldn't do Christmas at all, she sent a whole stack of impractical stuff: games and puzzles and a jewelry box. She also bought bonds for my brother's and me college education, though she didn't announce them at Christmas.

      SquidAngel blessings.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      Really solid ideas here! My family is erring on the side of "too practical" this Christmas. "Stuff" is something we have; cash is not!

      One tip I use myself: Kids will appreciate a gift of clothing IF it has a very favorite character on it or it relates to a hobby, etc. Last year I hand inked some sword fencing t-shirts for my son and he loved them. My little nieces would love matching Disney princess jammies!

      *** SquidAngel Blessing boost for you! *** (I can give those for free - hee hee)

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      Very nice lens and I agree that practical items are very much appreciated when the family is having financial problems. I know a lot of people who do not like getting gift cards for the holidays but we always appreciate them. We got a gift card to use at our local grocery store one year and were very thankful for it. =)

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

      Gifts of supplies for the children to create items like construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue. Sometimes these are not in the budget but kids love to make things.

      It is fun to give food if it is packaged as a family treat like a movie night basket, a holiday basket with breakfast items or a snack package. Gift baskets that you create are fun for the giver and appreciated by the one receiving them. One of my favorite all times gifts was the basket with the pancake mix and syrup. The large bag and bottle lasted for more than one meal and was a blessing. .

      A festive recipe card and all the ingredients to make it or pair it with a gift card from the local market. That leaves the buyer with the option to purchase the items on the recipe card or buy something they think is necessary.

    Welcome to the guestbook!

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Cashjocky 4 months ago

        I have several family members that are always needing help. But, I refuse to give them cash for fear it will be spend on beer, cigerettes or the like. I always give them gift cards to places where those items are not part of the inventory. So they have to buy food, gas, clothing etc.

      • profile image

        Ester 5 months ago

        Christmas is not about gift, we already received our gift on Christmas day, is our Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone made it so commercial and gifts giving. Truly, Christmas is all about being happy with family, and friend etc... We have to be Thankful for what we have. I used to think so much like everyone but realized about holidays and teaching my 5 year old son about holidays too.

      • HeyHuJiao profile image

        Wong Seng Wee 2 years ago from Singapore

        I think most of the gift items you mentioned above are big ticket items. Any more suggestions for gifts for housewarming party?

      • favored profile image

        Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

        You have so many good suggestions Joan. One thing I like to do is to start a small Christmas Club fund at their local bank in the amount that the family can manage each week. My aunt always opened two Christmas club accounts. One for Christmas and one for her taxes. She never had large tax bills because of that extra Christmas club account.

      • Kappygirl profile image

        Kappygirl 2 years ago

        Great ideas! I have had instances where I wanted to give to someone struggling but didn't want to offend. This helps a lot. I never would have thought of giving something they could purposely re-gift. That's genius!

      • velzipmur profile image

        Shelly Wyatt 2 years ago from Maryland

        What wonderful suggestions! I love this hub, thanks for sharing this.

      • CCGAL profile image

        CCGAL 4 years ago

        This really IS the most practical and useful gift ideas lens I've seen.

      • profile image

        anonymous 4 years ago

        great lense, thanks for sharing!

      • profile image

        cheapconfessions 5 years ago

        So right, paying off some bills can be a godsend to a family. Especially in the winter when electricity or gas bills can be huge. Great ideas!

      • goo2eyes lm profile image

        goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

        thank you for sharing this lens. it is a very touching lens.

      • curious0927 profile image

        curious0927 5 years ago

        Bless you for thinking this much needed idea together so well!

      • inutzza21 profile image

        inutzza21 5 years ago

        Lovely lens. IT is so thoughtful to think even about those in need. God bless you and happy holidays.

      • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

        C A Chancellor 5 years ago from US/TN

        A good reminder to give what a person really wants (or needs) to receive rather than what we want for them.

      • flinnie lm profile image

        Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

        Very nice lens,I enjoyed reading it.Lot of helpful info for gift to give.If a family is in need or any time.This is great ,bless you !!

      • profile image

        nursecraft 5 years ago

        Bless you for this lens! Wonderful job here!

      • LoneMeadowLark profile image

        LoneMeadowLark 5 years ago

        This lens is so touching. I have been on both sides of this situation. I've been the one in need, and I've been the one at a loss as to what would be most wanted and helpful to others who are struggling. Thank you.

      • imolaK profile image

        imolaK 5 years ago

        I find a lot of helpful ideas in your lens. Blessed!

      • skefflingecho profile image

        skefflingecho 5 years ago from Tobermory Ontario

        What a great lens with wonderful ideas. We loved gift cards back in the day, it was a real treat to be able to go and "spend" them. Blessed!

      • profile image

        fullofshoes 5 years ago

        wonderful reading, thank you. Even the second time around :) Thanks.

      • LadyCharlie profile image

        LadyCharlie 5 years ago

        To me this is Christmas spirit and how about those home knitted hats and mittens for the northern winter kids. Blessed

      • markettrol profile image

        markettrol 5 years ago

        Great lens....some really good ideas

      • profile image

        BePanicFree 5 years ago

        This is a really great lens, full of practical ideas for gifts and covering a great range of prices and something to suit everyone, well done!

      • TopToysForKids profile image

        TopToysForKids 5 years ago

        Excellent idea and execution for a lens. Often it isn't the expensive gifts we remember, but the times surrounding. For instance: singing together or sipping hot cocoa.

      • pacrapacma lm profile image

        pacrapacma lm 5 years ago

        Congrats on LOTD! This is great advice!

      • DecoratingEvents profile image

        DecoratingEvents 5 years ago

        These are excellent, thoughtful gifts Joan. We should all think through our gift choices for family and friends. Congrats on LotD!

      • Mishael A Witty profile image

        Mishael A Witty 5 years ago

        Congrats on LoTD. This is a great lens. Now I'm going to check out your lens about kitchen appliances. Gift cards are the best (speaking as one who used to be house poor but is now baby poorer)!

      • BarbRad profile image

        Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

        A very timely lens that I'm sure many families will appreciate. Your suggestions are very practical.

      • profile image

        2bestcheap 5 years ago

        Wonderful Lens Thank for share.

      • Stacy Birch profile image

        Stacy Birch 5 years ago

        Nice lens.

      • lasertek lm profile image

        lasertek lm 5 years ago

        Thank you so much for sharing.

      • profile image

        WhitePineLane 5 years ago

        This is one of the best lenses I have seen in a long time. Congrats on LOTD - well deserved!

      • profile image

        gesmarketman 5 years ago

        Wonderful lens. Great idea and good advise. God has obviously blessed you with a nurturing and caring spirit. Thanks for sharing that gift with us.

      • KandH profile image

        KandH 5 years ago

        Thanks, this is just brilliant!

      • Keeah profile image

        Keeah 5 years ago

        Some great tips. I would not have thought of giving copy paper or toner as gifts but why not? Very practical something everyone uses now.

      • MyTimeAlone profile image

        MyTimeAlone 5 years ago

        My kids and I read 'Little House on the Prairie' together recently. The two girls received a penny and a piece of candy at Christmas. It is a far cry from our world today. Thanks for writing a thoughtful lens that reminds me of what is really important.

      • profile image

        flyingpuppy 5 years ago

        Great ideas, Joan! I wrote a piece on 10 gifts you can make yourself--including how to change the oil in a car (one of your suggestions). See http://www.diypics.com/10-do-it-yourself-christmas... for a detailed tutorial on the ten gifts.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        What a wonderful lens, it will help me out tremendously this holiday season.

        Best wishes to you and your family, Joan!

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        A very thoughtful lens

      • profile image

        Mart903 5 years ago

        Congratulations, _Joan_, on this truly exemplary LotD!

      • emmajowebster profile image

        emmajowebster 5 years ago

        great lens !

      • Niche-Diva profile image

        Niche-Diva 5 years ago

        I love the idea of NOT buying a gift that will lead to another bill.....also someform of travel gift (or gift that pays for travel expenses) would be VERY helpful!

      • canoz profile image

        Heather Bradford 5 years ago from Canada

        I think many of us can relate to this situation. It's very timely. Thanks for bringing it to attention so well.

      • profile image

        Presence09 5 years ago

        thanks for these tips!

      • gypsyman27 lm profile image

        gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

        Thanks for sharing this much needed information. See you around the galaxy...

      • inlakech lm profile image

        inlakech lm 5 years ago

        Sometimes the most useful and thoughtful gifts cost nothing, but your time. Why not offer to help someone this holiday season? You can offer to babysit, cook them a meal, do yard work or household repairs, or just keep them company. Letting someone know you care? Priceless!

      • profile image

        LasgalenArts 5 years ago

        Terrific lens. This gives me much to think about for those who are house poor in our family. Thank you.

      • profile image

        AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

        Terrific lens idea and valuable information. Blessed!

      • profile image

        GrowWear 5 years ago

        Congratulations for LOTD, Joan!

      • NightMagic profile image

        NightMagic 5 years ago

        You deserve Lot-D for this lens. I've been here before when I was a single mother. Your suggestions are great especially the re-gifting one. I would always feel so terrible when I couldn't buy presents for anyone but my kids. I'm sure glad thing have become a lot better than that time in my life.

      • clouda9 lm profile image

        clouda9 lm 5 years ago

        Congrats to you on LOTD, certainly deserved. This is a well thought out lens about how to truly give during the holidays. I think your list of other gift ideas is brilliant. *Blessed today because this is going to help a lot of people through a rough time of year.

      • jptanabe profile image

        Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

        Excellent ideas and how wonderful to suggest gifts that will be really appreciated! Blessed

      • Retro Loco profile image

        Vicki 5 years ago from USA

        Congratulations on LOTD! You have some great Christmas gift ideas for families who are struggling financially! Great topic for a lens.

      • NoYouAreNot profile image

        NoYouAreNot 5 years ago

        Something that we could re-gift is a wonderful idea. It really sucks having to go empty-handed to places!

      • BunnyFabulous profile image

        BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

        What an incredibly helpful lens! Congrats on a well-deserved LOTD!

      • Dee Gallemore profile image

        Dee Gallemore 5 years ago

        Came back to extend congrats on LOTD . . . well deserved!

      • heehaw lm profile image

        heehaw lm 5 years ago

        congrats of being selected as LOTD. this lens should be blessed often :))

      • ajgodinho profile image

        Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Wonderful lens with practical gift ideas that can really help struggling families during these challenging economic times. Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Wonderful Christmas / Holiday season...blessings! :)

      • ltraider profile image

        ltraider 5 years ago

        What a great idea for a lens. Kudos!

      • profile image

        dking82 5 years ago

        This is a wonderful lens, especially these days when a lot of us are struggling in this economy (and you can't really tell your kid that Santa is a little poor this year)

      • HomeArtist1 profile image

        Wendy Hughes 5 years ago from Charlotte

        The service voucher is most valuable. Folks who have very little often can't afford to fix things once they wear out. I have a small window pane that is broken; it looks terrible from the street. I called and the prices quoted are out of my reach; hence an offer to fix it would be better than any gift I could receive, right now.

        SMILES!

        ~Wendy

      • modernchakra profile image

        modernchakra 5 years ago

        Wonderful Ideas and totally on the right side of the this holiday season. Thank you for bringing attention to those in need.

      • profile image

        KarenCookieJar 5 years ago

        It's sad when people feel pressure and the need to exchange gifts during the holidays. If a family is truly struggling, I don't think they should exchange gifts, rather do something together as a family like share a day out or take a trip somewhere or create a memory that will last a lifetime, rather then giving gifts that they won't use 6 months later.

      • InSearchOf LM profile image

        InSearchOf LM 5 years ago

        Very nice lens. Great ideas.

      • profile image

        DesignZeal 5 years ago

        Beautiful lens, written with lots of love and compassion. Congratulations on LOTD, well deserved!

      • lollyj lm profile image

        Laurel Johnson 5 years ago from Washington KS

        What a wonderful, heart warming lens!! THESE are the sorts of gifts I believe in because they represent the true meaning of Christmas. LOTD is well-deserved.

      • CrossCreations profile image

        Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        The lens has warmth, compassion and sincerity written all over it. A bright needle in a haystack of endless sales pages, these words are from the heart REAL! Bless you, Joan.

      • profile image

        veebarber 5 years ago

        hey well done Joan. This reminds me of the saying ""it's not the gift but the thought that counts"".Keep on inspiring.

      • norma-holt profile image

        norma-holt 5 years ago

        Congrats on LOTD, Joan. Now featured on Squidoo LOTD Lenses.

      • flycatcherrr profile image

        flycatcherrr 5 years ago

        What a terrific lens - such practical suggestions for things to give that actually might help someone! I'll be sharing this one around. Thank you so much - the Lens of the Day is well deserved here.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Thanks for the great ideas -

      • mySuccess8 profile image

        mySuccess8 5 years ago

        I like the idea of re-gifting by sending gifts earlier. Thanks for a wonderful lens.

      • fugeecat lm profile image

        fugeecat lm 5 years ago

        The advice about not giving gifts that will cost them something is excellent. I don't think a lot of people think about that.

      • traveller27 profile image

        traveller27 5 years ago

        Great idea for a lens and congrats on the LOTD. Blessed by a traveling angel.

      • DesignedbyLisa LM profile image

        DesignedbyLisa LM 5 years ago

        What great ideas! Congrats on your LOTD!

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Congratulations on Lens of the Day. Very well written lens with a ton of great gift giving ideas!

      • DreamingBoomer profile image

        Karen Kay 5 years ago from Jackson, MS

        Great ideas Joan! Congrats on LOTD!

      • Faye Rutledge profile image

        Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

        And meant to say, Congratulations on LotD!! Great job!

      • Faye Rutledge profile image

        Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

        These are great ideas.

      • Frischy profile image

        Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

        Wonderful lens, Joan! I have been in the same situation for many years. First I was house poor with two children, now I am health poor with one child. Medical bills can cause this kind of poverty as well. Your suggestions are perfect and very timely in our current economic climate. Blessed!

      • talkies lm profile image

        talkies lm 5 years ago

        Congrats on LOTD!

      • GonnaFly profile image

        Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

        What a great lens worthy of LOTD! Congratulations.

      • menskincaretips profile image

        menskincaretips 5 years ago

        Very useful tips, these are great gift ideas and in the end what matters most is the love that goes into the gift! Thanks for sharing!

      • profile image

        ScamsOfTheHeart 5 years ago

        Good lens idea! I am going to share this with others.

      • Kiwisoutback profile image

        Kiwisoutback 5 years ago from Massachusetts

        Excellent work. This might just be the best gift themed lens I've seen this year. Well deserved LOTD, blessed!

      • LaurieKristensen profile image

        LaurieKristensen 5 years ago

        Truly great lens, I shared it on Facebook!

      • dustytoes profile image

        dustytoes 5 years ago

        I hate that the holidays make us feel like we have to spend money in stupid ways - these suggestions are so helpful, and money is always a very good gift to someone in need.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        What a lovely thing to do for those who are struggling this year! Your ideas are excellent, and your LOTD is very well deserved. Thanks for caring about those in need.

      • Ann Hinds profile image

        Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

        Congratulations of LOTD. The message here is so important and I am so glad that this lens get the attention that it deserves. .

      • SunnyDaze LM profile image

        SunnyDaze LM 5 years ago

        Congrats on LOTD. Well-deserved. I think many more people are in this situation than anybody realizes, including me and several members of my family. It is such a struggle to make ends meet sometimes. Even when both parents have good-paying jobs. Budgets are tight all over. Then Christmas comes along and stretches things even further.

      • IngridA1 profile image

        IngridA1 5 years ago

        Firstly, a huge congratulations to you! I'd never heard of house poverty before however I can say we sure are in that boat! Your lens is very creative and really gets to the bare bones of what is really needed. I should send your lens as a hint to my family members!

      • TEAhug profile image

        TEAhug 5 years ago

        Great lens, Congrats

      • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

        Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

        Joan you have some great suggestions here, and I loved how you stated that just because someone is having a hard time doesn't mean they are starving. Heck even many of the homeless have food thanks to food stamps. But like you said, paying a bill, or giving something that they need on an ongoing basis is very helpful, I know :) *blessed* and congrats on a great LOTD.

      • profile image

        Testy2 5 years ago

        Fantastic lens! Congratulations on a well-deserved LotD!!dogmeow

      • Diana Wenzel profile image

        Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

        This article really brings an important perspective to Christmas. I am very appreciative of this honest and true message about the realities faced by a huge number of families at holiday season and beyond. Let us all act with generosity. Congrats on LotD! May you and your loved ones know many blessings this Christmas.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Congratulations

      • profile image

        eileen_morey 5 years ago

        Very thoughtful lens, and inspiring as well. It's important to talk about the many people who -- on the surface -- make look like they're doing fine, because they still have a place to live and (maybe) a working car. This lens provides important insights. Thank you!

      • JJNW profile image

        JJNW 5 years ago from USA

        What a wonderful choice for the award of Lens of the Day. This is one of my favorite pages of all time. Thanks for sharing.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        millions of our country people still suffering with severe poverty, surviving in this world is not so easy in this time period, maximum of our people try their best to survive , you pick up this idea very intelligently, well deserved LOTD, Congrats !

      • LiteraryMind profile image

        Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

        Very thoughtful. congratulations on lens of the day!

      • retta719 profile image

        Loretta 5 years ago from United States

        This is a great topic and I think right now it covers a large portion of the United States in the current economic situation. This is my house most of the time ~ My husband and I both work full time and we're just right on that line where we're not technically poor, but we're certainly not ahead of the game. The main bills are paid, but there's not much left after that for anything else and sometimes that includes groceries.

        Like you said, if something goes wrong or if something breaks, it could be awhile before we get that something fixed. Our clothes dryer just died during a power surge along with some other small appliances and that has just made a mess of my December budget trying to figure out how to handle that. Thankfully it's not something that is pressingly urgent since I can go to the laundry center in our neighborhood or run a load of clothes to my in-laws house to dry them.

        ~**~*~*~ leaving some angel dust behind ~**~*~*~ :-)

      • profile image

        nursecraft 5 years ago

        This is a great lens, most worthy of LotD. I will try to think of more good ideas, but I think you have the best ones shown!

      • katiecolette profile image

        katiecolette 5 years ago

        Congratulations on LOTD! Wishing you success on Squidoo to add to that take home pay :) Blessed by a Squidoo Angel!

      • profile image

        Ruthi 5 years ago

        A heartwarming page of information and gift ideas for those in need this season. Congratulations on Squidoo Lens of the Day!

      • profile image

        JoshK47 5 years ago

        Wonderful work on this lens - more than just a little deserving of LotD! Consider this blessed by a SquidAngel! :)

      • Coreena Jolene profile image

        Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

        Congrats on LOTD. Great ideas here. This worked well- take the person aside that is having difficulty, give them some cash (many don't want to take it) but then say, I want you to use this to buy gifts for the kids, nothing else. It has been well received and the kids had a great Christmas. Took some worry off the parents too.

      • profile image

        SofiaMann 5 years ago

        Fantastic ideas. Congrats on LOTD.

      • Jeri Baker profile image

        Jeri Baker 5 years ago

        In many communities, you can buy gift certificates from the utility company which can be used by the family to pay the monthly bill. Last year my family received an Omaha Steak gift pack. We are on a tight budget and tend to buy cheaper meats. The quality steaks were such a treat!

      • Craftymarie profile image

        Marie 5 years ago

        Well done on a very useful LOTD :)

      • aka-rms profile image

        Robin S 5 years ago from USA

        Congratulations, this lens has been selected as LotD! You can read all about it here: http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/best-holiday-gifts-for-...

      • agoofyidea profile image

        agoofyidea 5 years ago

        Congratulations on LOTD! I have a friend who always give us a special food treat that we would never buy, but is great to have at Christmas. It is much appreciated. Great lens.

      • SoniaCarew profile image

        SoniaCarew 5 years ago

        Thank you for this lens. Inspiring and practical!

        Well done!

      • GabStar profile image

        GabStar 5 years ago

        Congrats on LOTD, an absolutely wonderful lens with practical ideas for all of our families.

      • MayaBella LM profile image

        MayaBella LM 5 years ago

        Very thoughtful. I appreciate this lens a lot.

      • profile image

        sojourner-1 5 years ago

        Your LOTD made you smile and didn't cost a thing. Great lens

      • Mary Crowther profile image

        Mary Crowther 5 years ago from Havre de Grace

        Wonderful lens and one that makes you think about helping! Very Special!

      • AliciaAnn89 profile image

        Alicia 5 years ago from New York

        Found this through LOTD, Congrats! This is a great lens, I shared it on Twitter. :)

      • autofanatic profile image

        autofanatic 5 years ago

        Nice work, Joan. Congrats on your LOTD!

      • profile image

        broccolimom 5 years ago

        Wonderful ideas--thanks so much! These really got me thinking.

      • Dee Gallemore profile image

        Dee Gallemore 5 years ago

        Love the suggestions and as usual, outstanding work. This topic works well with my "adopt a family" lens where you are featured . . . Blessed!

      • SusanDeppner profile image

        Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

        Wonderful suggestions!

      • profile image

        MagicBeanDip 5 years ago

        Great topic for a lens. OK, so not everyone may appreciate this, but a trip to the dentist might be a great gift for some folks.

      • HealthfulMD profile image

        Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

        We donate toys and clothes that the kids have grown out of to our local Interfaith. Even donated an old car one year that was used by a family to help them out. Thanksgiving blessings.

      • JK Sterling profile image

        Jim Sterling 5 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

        Thank you, very timely lens. We are going to enjoy a "lean" Christmas this year but are very much looking forward to it being what it's meant to be.

      • Ann Hinds profile image

        Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

        There have been times recently when we have been short on some of the necessities. These are very helpful suggestions. With so many of our friends and family in need, we can all do something and share what we do have. Angel blessed for a very timely and difficult topic and for making it joyful. Happy Thanksgiving.

      Click to Rate This Article