Three ways to use your hobbies to give back this holiday season

Dec 29, 2011, 6 a.m.

These days, the recession is on and everybody is looking for ways to save money. This is really tricky in the winter. Around the holidays, you want to be generous, you want to share, to give people the gifts they've been dreaming of all year around, but you've got to balance that with frugal living and smart spending, so what to do? Well, you've probably got a few money making hobbies, passions or skills at your disposal, so it's time to put them to work. Here are three ways your hobbies can allow you to give back and save money in the holiday season.

Contributing Your Expertise

There is probably some kind of event at your local civic center that you can contribute to, and if not, you can suggest one of your own. If you're into RC hobbies, you can hold a race and let kids drive your cars. If you're into wood working, you can hold a class to teach people how to make birdhouses. Contributing your time and effort is worth far more than contributing your money.

Art Gifts from the Heart

If you buy your brother-in-law a tie because that's all you can comfortably afford this year, he'll likely be a tad disappointed. But if you're a skilled artist, a painter, or a sculptor, creating a one-of-a-kind work of art for that friend or family member, something that you clearly put some time and thought into, can actually be quite touching.

Donating to Fundraisers

On the flipside of creating things to give as gifts, you can also donate your artwork and crafts to local fundraisers for charities and causes. If you're an artist of some moderate repute in your community, this can be a very meaningful gesture.

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