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Get CREATIVE and save money this Holiday Season

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A friend of mine pointed this fact out to me today: Today is October 25...which means Christmas is exactly two months away!

Wow. That's crazy to think about! As a Christmas celebrator, I have always been a big "gift giver." It's always been more important to me to give a great gift than to receive an extravagant one. I spoil my loved ones as best as I can, and I have always had a hard time accepting gifts...especially the expensive or extravagant. Call it crazy, but that's me! With my giving nature, these last few years have been pretty difficult around Christmas. Obviously, with the economy taking a nose dive just after my college graduation (convenient, right?) finding and holding a good job was hard, and it made my limited funds and limited income go straight to the necessary bills, instead of spoiling my loved ones like I love to do. Thankfully, I realized that there is no better gift than one from the heart. For a while before that first "financially strapped Christmas," I struggled with trying to figure out who I would buy gifts for, what they would be, and how I could afford to divide my "financial showing of love" between all of the people who deserved it. Then, the obvious seemed to dawn on me. "Why not spend less? Get small gifts for a few friends, but spend time and love CREATING gifts for those closest to the heart!" And you know, I have to say that I have never felt happier with my gift choice. Sure, while an autographed guitar was a great gift for my dad one year, the appreciation didn't compare to his receiving of a hand-drawn sketch from me this last year. What cost me a lot less money created a bigger reaction. And isn't that really what we're looking for when we give a great gift? We want a great reaction. It's not about what you spend or where you shopped...it's about how much the person loves their gift. And a gift from the heart will ALWAYS win over a gift from deep pockets.

If you haven't considered a heartfelt gift this year, I suggest you give it a try. I know there are many of you out there who struggle financially. Put your financial worries aside this Christmas and try to get a little creative. If you paint, whip up a few paintings. If you bake, try putting together decorative "cookie recipe jars." (There are tons of recipes for these in current magazines!) If you're a writer, why not compose a personalized poem, story or other work for a recipient? Basically, if you have any kind of talent that you believe can be showcased, put it to use!

Now if you're still sitting there thinking, "But I don't have a talent and I'm financially strapped! What do I do?!" you can always get in touch with me and take advantage of my artistic talents. Think about some artwork as a gift. After all, my "half price" sale is still going on if you'd like to order a custom art piece. And if you don't have an idea for a custom piece, all of my previous works can be purchased, either as originals or prints. The great people at FineArtAmerica (the site you're currently on, of course) have helped me set up my print shop, and you can buy prints of my pieces for even less than it would cost for an original...and you get it delivered to your door.

So take some time to think before you start your holiday shopping this year. Take this opportunity to explore your creative side...even if you didn't know you had one! Explore those talents you have, whether big or small. Use your spare time wisely and I guarantee you will surprise yourself! Save some money this year, give a gift from the HEART!