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Today’s post marks the conclusion of the fun series I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas.  For the final installment I’d like to explore creative gift ideas that tap into services we can offer to others.  Last week we talked about using our words effectively to tell someone how much we care about them. This week we’ll look at how we accomplish the same goal, but through serving instead of saying. Not only does serving others really get at the heart of Christmas, but offering our services is an excellent last-minute homemade gift option (remember, Christmas is only a week away!).

Brainstorming ideas about how you can offer your services

Everyone has a service they can offer someone.  What’s yours?  Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Offer to shovel your neighbor’s snow
  • Offer to cook meals for someone who is sick
  • Offer to cook meals for someone who just had a baby
  • Offer to take an elderly person grocery shopping
  • Offer to clean someone’s housewalk-dog
  • Offer to do someone’s laundry
  • Offer to do someone’s dishes
  • Offer to take a friend out to a restaurant
  • Offer to babysit someone’s children
  • Offer to take care of someone’s home while they are traveling
  • Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog
  • Offer to give a loved one a massage or other special service

Brainstorming ideas about how to present your services in gift form

  • Write a letter describing your proposed service(s)
  • Explain your service in a creative Christmas card
  • Create special redeemable coupons for each offered service

An example of a homemade gift using services

There are really endless ways you can serve another person. I encourage you to run through in your mind all the people in your life and see if you can think of a way you could meet one of their needs by offering them your services this Christmas. And as I said above, since Christmas is only a week away, consider making a homemade service gift instead of tearing your hair out trying to buy a last-minute gift at the crowded mall.

Two years ago my Grandmother was remarking to me that she could no longer clean very effectively in her house due to her ailments. She specifically mentioned that she would love to clean her nice dishes set, but she could not reach the shelves safely, nor did she have the energy to thoroughly clean all those dishes anyway. This gave me an idea. I decided I wanted to help and Christmas was coming, so I described my proposed service in a special Christmas card that year. She was happy to oblige and the next time my husband and I visited, we spent the afternoon cleaning all her dishes. She was very thankful and a burden had been lifted.  That homemade gift was a success!

Reader Reflection

Have you ever made homemade gifts using your services? Feel free to share any ideas here.

A Look Back

Today’s installment of I’ll Be Homemade for Christmas marks the end of this series.  I hope you were able to benefit from it and think of creative ideas for homemade gifts this Christmas.   Feel free to take a look back at each week’s homemade gift idea topic: photos, arts & crafts, plants, food, words, and services (today).

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Yesterday I told the tale of how (and why) I started cutting my husband’s hair at home. After much money saved, I admit that this practice is not necessarily for everyone. For example, I don’t cut my own hair. And perhaps someone in your family has a very complex style that they will only let a professional handle. But just because you don’t cut hair at home doesn’t mean you can’t also share in the money savings. Today I want to offer four more easy tips to help you cut cost when it comes to cutting your hair.

1. Have a friend do it

Maybe your household hasn’t produced any brave barbers to date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek out a friend who does have the skills. And if you insist on some kind of payment as thanks, you could offer to do them a favor of equal value, such as cooking them a meal or walking their dog.

2. Find a cheaper hair cutting service

Perhaps you go to your favorite barber out of loyalty, but sometimes a fancy hair boutique might be charging two or three times as much as a discount hair salon like Cost Cutters or Fantastic Sams. While a different person might be cutting your hair every time you go in, the money you save will more than make up for it.

3. Look for coupons before you go

Every time I get my hair cut, I have my husband find me a coupon on the internet. For example, he signed up a long time ago on Cost Cutters’ own website and they send out coupons by email regularly.  A quick google search for other hair salon chain coupons also yields several results.

4. Get your hair cut less frequently

For certain styles this doesn’t really work, but if your hair style will allow it, then sometimes a way to save money is to wait longer between cuts. You don’t want to wait too long (this can lead to unhealthy split ends and breakage), but you might not need to go as often as you currently go. I tend to get my hair cut about every four to six months. My hair grows a lot during this time, but then it’s kind of fun to get it all cut off again!

Reader Reflection

Have you found any creative ways to save money on haircuts? Please share!

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