By Ellyse Lambie, Volunteer Coordinator, Catholic Family Service

In a city where many are experiencing layoffs and joblessness, the stress and anxiety that may come with the holidays is compounded by a struggling economy. More than ever, maintaining a budget for the holidays will be important for many families in our community.

How can one celebrate Christmas, while focusing on the joy and love of the season, and not the financial stress? I suggest that one of the best ways to do so is by sharing your time and talents, rather than your finances, with those closest to you. From the Santa Claus parade to skating at a community rink, there are plenty of no-cost activities available in Calgary. Sharing your time and talents can also mean making beautiful and meaningful gifts for those you love.

volunteertatyanalnov2016_forwebRecently, a group of students from the Youth Fair Gains Program at Louise Dean Centre participated in a favourite module: Gift Making on a Budget. During this class, they were given an opportunity to learn how to make a variety of gifts at a low cost, supporting them to implement the budgeting skills they’ve learned throughout the program. This year, six volunteers taught each student to create gifts for their babies or other loved ones. Gifts included Christmas ornaments, massage candles, hot chocolate mix in a jar, and felt boards.

You can find lots of ideas for creating your own Christmas gifts online and through apps like Pinterest. Some of the best gifts I’ve received have been made with love by family and friends – a crocheted scarf, a painting, a photo album.

As the Grinch discovered, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.” Enjoy the time with your loved ones this season!

Would you like to explore the many rewarding volunteer opportunities at Catholic Family Service? Read about them here or contact Ellyse at 403.205.8549.

Did You Know . . . November was Financial Literacy Month in Canada. This year’s theme was Managing Money and Debt Wisely: It Pays to Know! Read more here.