BOSTON (CBS) – Christmas can happen even on a tight budget. If you don’t have much money to spend then you will need to spend your time. And if you have any talents, use them.

READ MORE: 'Unfortunate that it came to this,' Brookline school teachers go on strike

Can you cook? Anything homemade is such a treat. Fudge, peanut brittle, cookies. Buy some fancy containers at the Dollar store or better still get some Rubbermaid containers and they become part of the gift. I buy odd dishes at yard sales that I can use.

Can you knit? A sweater, mittens, or a scarf. While sitting through a town meeting recently I sat next to a young man crocheting a beautiful scarf. I wanted to get on his Christmas list. If you don’t have the time to finish the scarf by Christmas, wrap the yarn and pattern up and give that with a note telling them when it will be done.

Flower arranging. Cut some greens from your yard, the bottom of the Christmas tree or your neighbor’s yard (with their permission), buy some red carnations, search around for some interesting containers and make flower arrangements for your friends and family.

Smart phones take great pictures. Find some reasonable priced frames and you have gifts for all on your list. Frame the kid’s school pictures for grandma. You can create a calendar with pictures of your family for under $20 or a memory book about last summer’s vacation.

READ MORE: Bobcat breaks into Vermont home, attacks elderly man inside

How about time itself? Literally, give away your time and you don’t have to give it on Christmas. Give a gift certificate, an IOU for what you will do in the future.

Create a coupon book. Some examples; snow shoveling, lawn mowing, babysitting, help with a party, back rubs, gardening, dinner by candle light, brownies, fudge, desserts, party help.

Promise your elderly aunt a weekly trip to the grocery store, church or the COA. Give your nephew a fishing trip in the spring. Your niece, skating lessons at Frog Pond. You get the idea here!


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

MORE NEWS: New England Living: Broomstones curling club in Wayland

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.