Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No Matter How Far Away You Roam

This post has been selected as part of the 156th Festival of Frugality, hosted this week by Naturally Frugal. The carnival has stockings stuffed full of frugal holiday ideas and tips for green living, so when you're done here, have a look.

Photo by Gordon Flood

Truly, there's no place like home for the holidays. If you're like me, you have roamed very far indeed from your nearest and dearest. How to stay close this holiday season? Read on.

1. Oh Christmas Cards, Oh Christmas Cards.

Come on, now, get out a nice pen, some beautiful cards adorned with your darling children or pets, and write a real letter. What are you doing? How are you feeling? What do you miss about the recipient? There is no substitute. (Especially not the form letter that tells everyone how fabulous you and your children are and how much money you spent at the dude ranch this summer. Ugh.) Yeah, I know I already posted about that, so read here if you want to know what I had to say.

2. Facebook

Post some pictures of your tree or your feast, or better, your face. Poke a long-lost friend. Go wall writing with messages of good cheer.

3. Use Those Minutes

You've shopped wisely for your mobile phone and landline plans. Got rollover minutes? Now's the time to use 'em up.

4. Make a Calendar

Surely you can find twelve pictures and 20 bucks to share a little piece of your life that will remind your loved ones of you all year long. (Warning: Only try this for people who really care to see your shining faces each month!). They are much easier now than with the online services. Try Shutterfly, Snapfish, Kodak, Kinkos, or VistaPrint to start.

5. Skype

I had a 45 minute conversation with my manager today. Not odd, until I tell you that he was in another country and that we had a video link. How much better would that have been if it had been somebody I really cared about, like my sister and my niece? Oh, and the cost? Well, yeah, free.

6. Go

If you really truly absolutely have to be home for the holidays, don't forget the travel triumvirate of the tightfisted: Sidestep, Hotwire, and Priceline. (And for bidding strategies on priceline, check out biddingfortravel.com. Just be careful to read all the FAQs carefully or the moderators will yell at you.) For all of these choices, be prepared to have flexible travel plans and accept non-refundable tickets for the best fares.

You can count on me...

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