Arts & Entertainment

Bachelor & Bachelorette




Food & Drink

Health & Wellness



Mayoral Thoughts



Women in Business

<   Swipe left or right   > 

Nov 29, 2022

Christmas Cutback

Becca Edwards

Photography By

Dreamstime Images
Let’s not sugar coat this. The holidays can be all-consuming. From the ever-expanding Christmas card list to the never-ending shopping, the season of giving takes a lot. However, local mom Ramara Garrett, known for her savings savvy, says it doesn’t have to break the bank. “It is absolutely easy to get caught up in the […]

Continue Reading

Let’s not sugar coat this. The holidays can be all-consuming. From the ever-expanding Christmas card list to the never-ending shopping, the season of giving takes a lot. However, local mom Ramara Garrett, known for her savings savvy, says it doesn’t have to break the bank.

“It is absolutely easy to get caught up in the consumer focus and miss the true meaning of Christmas,” she said. “Even my older children have suggested scaling back so we can relax and enjoy spending more time together. The younger ones are harder to convince. They receive the special holiday toy guides from companies in the mail and eagerly circle about everything in them.”

To spread good tidings while preserving your sanity, your bank account and the environment, Garrett gives her two cents on penny pinching and being mindful this holiday season:

Step 1: Commit to a Budget

We typically decide on a budget and try to get their most important wish list items within that. Part of growing up is learning that you can’t have everything, and that money has a value, and you have to work for it.

Step 2: Teach the Joy of Receiving

We try to use the holidays to teach our kids that there is just as much joy in giving as in receiving. Since our children were about three, we have let them do chores to earn holiday money. We then take them to the Dollar Tree to pick out something for everyone. They have learned to think more about each person, what they need, what they like, and be mindful to show kindness and thoughtfulness with their gifts. They are so excited on Christmas morning to give out their gifts, which they also wrap. Their joy in watching everyone open the gifts is so real and pure. It really is beautiful.

Step 3: Look for the Sale

My family knows I hate to pay full price for anything. Part of my joy is when I can find what our kids want on sale, which makes our per-kid budget go a lot farther. Make a list as early as you can with your kids of things that they really want or need. With this, you can start searching for good deals and discounts. Do a quick Google search online to see what those items usually cost. Then, each week, check again, and you will very likely find a sale price soon.

Step 4: Coupon Code-it

Another simple tip that even my kids use now is coupon code searches. Let’s say you want to order from Lands’ End but don’t have a coupon. Simply Google “Lands’ End coupon code” and several sites will pop up. You may have to copy and paste a few different codes to find one that works, but nine times out of 10, you will easily get a discount.

Step 5: Give an Experience

One of our favorite ways to make Christmas less about “things” is to gift experiences. It forces you to really think about what someone will enjoy and maybe wouldn’t do for themselves. Some things we have given are spa visits, a baking class, a stained glass class, concert tickets, a hotel stay in a special place, a candle making class, and a mixology class. While these things may not be cheap, [the recipients] are excited to do or try something new, and it’s not just “stuff” they may not use.

Step 6: Delve into Virtual Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace and specifically local buy/sell pages can be a great way to get gifts. Many items are new, and most are gently used. Especially for young kids, this is a great option. Your child wants that $300 ride-on toy you know they will outgrow in a couple of months. Marketplace probably has one in “like new” condition for less than half the cost. Kids don’t care if something is brand new and honestly are so happy to receive something already set up and ready to play. So do yourself a favor.

Step 7: Be Creative About Wrapping

Although you can always make your own wrapping paper with paper grocery bags, tape and imagination using holiday-themed stamps, stickers or hand drawn elements, we usually wrap with gift bags instead of paper. We re-use the bags and often even the tissue paper. My mom has always done this, having grown up at a time when there wasn’t extra money for these things. For me, I just can’t see throwing away things that are perfectly fine. We even have a few bags that have been used so many times it has become tradition for them to make an appearance under the tree as a joke.

Step 8: Make Something

My older kids have given some truly beautiful gifts that they have made, and they are treasured. My daughter is a beautiful painter; my oldest son crafted a wire fish; and my youngest son made beautiful ceramics. Our little kids make things like handprint ornaments, handprint or footprint pictures or write a poem. These can often be the best gifts anyone receives, and the kids love to see them displayed. Don’t be afraid to make something. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be treasured. Have a recipe that is special to you? Have it engraved on a cutting board or printed and framed. Maybe there is a special photo that means a lot to another person. Have it beautifully framed as a gift.

“As parents, we are not raising children; we are raising adults,” Garrett said. “Everything we do should be with that goal in mind. While we want our children to experience the magic of Christmas, including the excitement of seeing tons of presents under the tree Christmas morning, we also want them to appreciate and treasure what can’t be purchased. Take the time to do all the small things. Make the cookies. Put out the reindeer food. Move the darn elf every night. Look at the Christmas lights. Make the cocoa and give them extra marshmallows. Watch all the Christmas movies while snuggled on the couch in PJs. Celebrate that time together, knowing that family is unconditional love.”

Related Articles

Here Come the Clydesdales!

Every year, one of the most often-asked questions on Hilton Head Island in early March is: “Are the Clydesdales coming to the parade this year?” The queries refer to the iconic four-legged representatives of Budweiser beer commercial fame, who have participated in the...

read more

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Prices change and human error occurs. Please see boutique listed for final pricing on all items. Valentine’s Day & assorted love cards, $6 each, available at Anna Cate Dress $328, available at Birdie James Lisa Todd Heart Sweater $232, available at...

read more