It’s the time of the year to start thinking about what gifts to get those you love, including friends. If we could, we’d get every single person we love a gift, but we all know that money comes into play.

So how can you stick to a budget when buying for friends? Do friends really care about getting a basket of soaps or a tin of caramel popcorn? I think when it comes to shopping for friends, we should focus on gifts that are meaningful rather than those that are unnecessarily expensive.

1. Handwritten Cards

Imagine your friend giving you a wrapped present; as exciting as that may be, it’s not too exciting when you find a holiday magnet inside, or some other little trinket you’ll end up putting in a drawer. What’s more meaningful and exciting to open are gifts that come straight from the heart, such as handwritten card in which you spell out just how much your friendship means to you.

These thoughtful gifts are the kind that are kept and reflected on for life. You can’t really do that with a magnet. You’re tending to the friendship and showing that you care by expressing your feelings through words, something that no trinket can truly convey.

2. Acts Of Service

Though materialistic gifts tend to be more common during the holiday season, there are plenty of other ways to show your care for your friend, including acts of service. Some examples include bringing them some homemade cookies, going for a stroll together or taking them out for coffee.

When choosing an act of service to give, consider what would delight your friend the most. Perhaps your friend is having a particularly busy and stressful holiday season; you could take the time to clean her apartment for her, or help her decorate for the holidays. Maybe she craves one-on-one time with you; go over to her house one night and cook a meal for you both, then laugh while you watch a cheerful holiday movie.

Though these are simple expressions of gratitude for your friendship, they will be forever grateful that you took the time out of your life just for them.

3. Hosting A Holiday Party

Another way to honor your friends at the holidays is to host a holiday party. It’s another way to show them how much you care, and a night of friendship, laughter and love will be remembered far longer than a physical gift that will get lost in the shuffle of the holiday madness.

Hosting a holiday party is not as intimidating as it may sound. You don’t have to put up lavish décor or shell out for expensive food. Just a few simple, homemade appetizers and your favorite Christmas music playing the background is all you need. What’s really important is that you all get to spend quality time together. By offering to host at your home and putting the time and energy into planning a party, you’re giving a wonderful gift your friends are sure to love.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”  —Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 

There are simple ways to give meaningful gifts to your friends, most of which don’t involve going over even the strictest of budgets. A friend loves at all times, so be the friend that is willing to show love through service, through small acts of kindness and through pure and gentle encouragement, even if it’s simply through a handmade card. These type of gifts reach straight to the heart, which is something we all need at the holidays.

You may also be interested in What God Wants Us To Focus On During The Holiday Season

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