I know some of you are thinking, "How can I have a nice Christmas when I have no money?" Believe me I understand I'm thinking the same thing. The thought of no presents under the Christmas tree for my kids is so depressing!
I come up with a couple ways you can relatively quickly save your Christmas.
First of all, go through your stuff and the stuff of your family. Find toys, clothes, or anything your family has outgrown but is still works. Now list them on eBay, Craigslist, take them to a pawn shop, or hold a yard sale.
If you don't have anything to sell; go door to door offering to rake leaves, cut grass, put up Christmas decorations, or anything else you can do for others. Charge them a reasonable amount.
Once you've made some money, now you need to stretch that money as far as you can. Your first stop should be your local thrift stores. Shop a couple different ones if you have more than one store in your area. Some have a better selection than others. I've found Monday's the best day to shop, because people are more likely to drop off their donated goods over the weekend. Thrift stores are a good place to find toys, shoes, etc.
Another place to look is eBay. This is where I start if my child has to have a certain item. Last year it was the shoes with wheels in them. This year it was the Nintendo DS. They are sold at stores for $129 and I got one gently used with 3 games, and a case for $90. You can really save a lot if you shop around.
If you are not able to raise any money at all. Go on Freecycle.com. Sign up for the listing in your town then post your wants. Please remember to offer items you no longer need when you get back on your feet. If you are particularly crafty you can make gifts for your family. You can also contact your child's school and local churches to see if they may be able to help. No one will know you need/want help unless you ask.
There are ways to still have Christmas for your kids even if you have no money. Seek the help of those in your community. As always try to focus on what you DO have and not what you DON'T have!
Kimberly Shavatt is a wife, stay-at-home mother of 3 and owner/editor of HelpingMomsAtHome.com. Find lots of helpful hints and tips to help you save time, save money and save your sanity. Get my free report "10 Ways to Have an Inexpensive & Fun-Filled Christmas" at http://helpingmomsathome.com/HMAHInexpensiveChristmas.pdf.