For some, the holiday season is about spending lots of money on expensive gifts. If you've followed my advice of buying gifts throughout the year while they are deeply discounted, you've gotten a bigger bang for your buck and have saved some money.
If you haven't, and you can't afford to buy expensive gifts, here are some suggestions for gift items that can come from your heart and reap wonderful rewards.
Start by going through your photos. MyPublisher is offering a free photo book to new customers. Enter your email to have the special offer sent to you. Walmart has many holiday photo gift offerings from travel mugs to reusable customized grocery bags for just $10. If you have a special photo, transfer it to an 8x10 canvas at Rite Aid stores and save $10 with promotional code CANVAS810. Visit: http://bit.ly/1EVNoM6
When gift giving, remember, it isn't the dollar figure that gives a present its wow factor. At the dinner table take the time to express your gratitude for your family and don't forget your long distance friends and relatives that would love to have a handwritten letter from you.
It's time to order your holiday cards
■ Hallmark has a 30 percent discount on your personalized card order with free shipping. Expires Nov. 24. Enter promotional code JOY30 at checkout to get the discount. Hallmark.com
■ Shutterfly is offering one free 5x5 flat, 5x7 flat or 5x7 folded card if you enter the promotional code 2014CBSFLY at checkout. Visit: Shutterfly.com
■ Snapfish is giving 50 percent off sitewide. Just enter promotional code TWINKLE14 at checkout. Offer expires Nov. 25. Visit: Snapfish.com.
■ Walgreens will give you 50 percent off two sets of personalized photo cards. Enter promotional code CARDSET2 at checkout. You'll get free shipping, too. Visit Walgreens.com
■ Minted is giving 15 percent off any purchase. Use promotional code MSLHOLIDAY15. Offer expires Jan. 31, 2015. Visit: Minted.com.
■ Make any purchase at a Staples stores between Nov. 27-28 to receive a coupon good for 25 free 5×7 holiday photo cards. There are a limited number of coupons available (a minimum of 350 per store)
Use your passion to help others
■ If you garden, check out AmpleHarvest.org. While most food charities fill their shelves with canned or boxed goods, you can donate your garden produce to local food pantries through this site.
■ If you love walking, earn 25 cents for every mile you log at The Charity Miles. Select from a list of 30 organizations then download the app on your smartphone which will track your distance and donate the money for you. Charitymiles.org
■ If you love to cook, sign up your family to prepare a meal at Ronald McDonald House, 1300 Sports Center Drive. Contact Beth White firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Free and good for your health
■ Learn about concussions in young athletes by reading a free information kit available by calling 1-800-333-8874. You can also visit Ukhealthcare.uky.edu/kni/concussion for more information.
■ CVS is offering free health screenings at their Project Health Events in November and December. Visit Cvs.com/projecthealth or call 855-287-7867 for event details, schedules and locations.
■ Walk with a Doc, led by cardiologist Dr. Alison Bailey, is a campaign that encourages physical activity and helps reverse the consequences of sedentary lifestyle. Before each 30-minute walk, Bailey will share information about exercise and heart health. The event is free. Just show up at noon, Friday on the corner of Rose Street and Washington Avenue in Lexington.
Savings near you
Celebrate American Express Small Business Saturday. Eligible American Express card holders can enroll to receive up to a $30 credit when they shop at qualifying small local businesses on Nov. 29. To receive a $10 credit, you must spend at least $10 in a single transaction at participating locations. Limit three credits per card (for a total of $30). Enroll at http://amex.co/1ExttVa.
■ Costco members can get a free cookbook, Fabulous Food the Costco Way, at Costco Nov. 28-30. The book contains 200 recipes. One per household, while supplies last.
■ Wellness 65+ members get 20 percent off almost everything the first Wednesday of the month at Rite Aid. When you join you'll receive money-saving offers plus learn about special events. The next discount day is December 3. Visit http://bit.ly/1vm6pqZ to learn more.
■ Get Mucinex Hot Tea Cold Relief four count for free at Rite Aid after the coupon found on the front page of this week's Rite Aid ad. A Wellness+ card is required to get this freebie. The offer is good through Nov. 22 or while supplies last.
■ Frying a turkey this Thanksgiving? Dispose of your used oil in the environmentally friendly way at Gobble Grease Toss on Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Henry Clay High School, 100 Fontaine Road. Visit: Lexingtonky.gov/GobbleGreaseToss for more information.