Charm-i-days Idea #6: Swaps and coupons

Swaps and coupons lower the stress and the cost of holiday merry-making.


Gourmet magazine's swap-ready cookies

More people are deciding this year to celebrate the holidays without pricey gifts – or even without traditional packages & bows altogether. Phrases such as “it’s the thought that counts” and “quality time” are in frequent use. The Charm-o-Matic approves.

Swap-o-Licious: Scientists have discovered two main types of swaps – one that results in more baked goods than Rudolph can shake his nose at and one that results in presents under your tree.

For the baked type, simply invite a group of friends over. A traditional cookie exchange means you and all of your friends have a variety of treats throughout the holidays. You can either do a swap with people you would have been exchanging gifts with, or you can divvy up the cookies later for gifts to neighbors, co-workers and such. (Or you can eat them all – I won’t tell.) If you’re fresh out of recipe ideas, take a look at Gourmet magazine’s beautiful cookie retrospective.

If you have a smaller group, everyone can bring enough casseroles for all swappers – for example, if four people are participating, Sally makes four lasagnas, Cindy Loo Who makes four classic tuna noodles, Mrs. Claus makes her corn and zucchini concoction and so on. All swappers go home with three casseroles (plus her own back at home) to stick in the fridge or freezer and whip out when she doesn’t feel like cooking.

For the gifting type, pick a theme such as sporting goods or kitchen gadgets or kid’s clothing and swap like there’s no tomorrow. Everyone brings a load of items they no longer need, and all of the friends get to pick what they want from the pile. Fun.

Coupon-o-Rama: Find the construction paper or card stock that must be sitting around somewhere and create a few holiday coupons. These won’t be like the ones you used to make for Father’s Day by hastily scribbling “one free hug” and “one free car wash.” Use whatever resources you have so they  reflect your personality – print them with graphics from your computer, dig up some fun stickers or work your own magic by drawing or showcasing that impressive penmanship of yours (don’t think I haven’t noticed). The more specific these coupons are to your relationship with the coupon-ee, the better.

One Response to “Charm-i-days Idea #6: Swaps and coupons”

  1. Charm-i-days: Beyond trinkets « Charm-o-Matic Says:

    […] Go bauble-free. Last year, the Charm-o-Matic recommended cookie exchanges and homemade coupons to celebrate. You can make those seemingly old chestnuts fresh every year. Consider devising some […]

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