Holiday planning for cash-strapped Canadians

(NC) — For many Canadians, 2011 was a rough year. Layoffs, family emergencies, and poor investment choices have meant you're counting pennies and struggling to pay off debt. And, with the pending holiday season, you're stressed about finding money in the budget for appropriate and meaningful gifts. After all, with holiday parties, seasonal decorations, and multiple trips to the mall, December can be a difficult month for even the most organized of budgeters. So what should you do?

Start early. By purchasing a few gifts every month - instead of leaving everything to the last minute—Canadian shoppers can take the time and effort to source out sales, buy in bulk, and shop around for the best deal. In addition, starting early often means spreading out the cost of Christmas shopping over a few pay cheques, which decreases the stress felt by most shoppers in December.

Think outside the box. Gifts given in the name of a loved one from a charitable organization are available year round (perfect for early planners) and are tax deductible—a definite bonus for shoppers on a budget. Organizations like Christian Children's Fund of Canada offer life saving gifts for children and families living in extreme poverty, which benefits both the giver and the recipient. You can visit their website at

Invite people in. Hosting a holiday potluck is a wonderful way to show appreciation to loved ones. Giving your time to someone else is more valuable than anything you can wrap in a box. Plan ahead and organize a get-together that will build relationships and result in warm memories.


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