Each day we will be posting A Thrifty Christmas Tip, from our readers. At the end of the month, one of you will win a $100.00 Gift Card. For all the details click here. Keep those thrifty tips coming!!!
Todays Thrifty tips…
My solution of few years ago with my in laws adult gifts was the following. We decided to try a grab bag gift which was to be based on a theme we had chosen several months prior to Christmas. This was to be in a form of an ornament, costing no more than $5.00.Our first was a “rodeo” theme. So the search was on to find any ornament that could be consider “rodeo”. Then we just wrap in tissue paper, brown paper sacks or anything you had at home already. We didn’t put to and from names on these either. We just placed them all at the adult gift table. Then we each took turns to pick whatever gift we wanted. Each was so much fun to see what ideas everyone had from ornaments like a horseshoe, horse, cowboy, barn, etc. It was such a hit we have done it every year since with a different themes. It was such a hit after the first 2 years of doing this for the adult gifts all the kids decided they wanted to be included as well. This has much such memorable times for all of us, to have something that we can put on our on trees each year and say I remember when we did that. Our family has learned many lessons from this very small token of a gift. Plus who doesn’t enjoy ornaments. The whole family enjoys shopping for ornaments regardless of age, they all can help pick out. An added benefit saves loads on your budget and you never hear what someone else got and they didn’t get. Happy Holidays.
My thrifty Christmas tip has more to do with summer weddings than Christmas. During the next couple of weeks, Christmas ornaments will be available for up to 90% off the regular price. Over the past few years, I have made a habit of picking up a few boxes of ornaments and saving them to give as bridal shower gifts. I love being able to make a couple’s first Christmas more affordable, as well as making each Christmas a reminder of their special day.
Much like savinitup (12/22/10), we set aside money all year long… but ours is our change. We are a single income household, and- much to my dismay- coupons are not that great around here (no doubles, very minimal coupons in the paper). Usually it is hard for us to make up that Christmas budget if we don’t plan ahead. (Like this year- both of our children got pneumonia… which ended up being a month long ordeal of medical copays, prescriptions, OTC meds, etc.)
We use a large pickle jar (usually the one from our thanksgiving feast), make a coin slit in the top, glue the jar shut, and usually put some kind of cover (fabric, wrapping paper, cardstock, etc.) on to hide the amount of change in there. (This way, if money were to get tight, we wouldn’t pass by it and decide to open it early.) It is very surprising how much change we end up with by the end of the year! (I use my debit card quite a bit, too.)
When I was little my mom kept us busy all summer making salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree. To make the dough is cheap and kept us kids busy on rainy days too. Another summer we made ornaments out of noodles . Use wagon wheel pasta with small round pasta (almost like a bead) to space them. We made them on old pizza boxes and spray painted them white. We also made angels out of rigatoni and a bead for a head with star pasta for hair and bow for wings. She also took the kids school pictures from all the cousin and put them in the plastic bubbles that held toys in from the bubble gums machines and hung them on the tree.
As the daughter in law of a momma who only had boys I try to always give her those girly gifts that she probably never received. The year that my husband and I got engaged I found a box of old photos of my husband and his brother. I asked my father in law if I could take them and begin to make her a scrapbook of her boys. Each year I give her 5-10 more scrapbook pages that I make throughout the year. It ALWAYS produces tears and stories of when her boys were little. Everyone loves to look through the pages each Christmas, and we have now filled up two huge books with memories for my mother in law. I find scrapbook paper and stickers on clearance and normally make a lot of my own paper decor. This is a very thrifty and meaningful gift.
The best thrifty gift ideas I have are actually 2 gifts that I receive. Most important to me is a CD from my oldest son. He has loved music his entire life (something he inherited from his father and me!), now working in the record distribution business and he also plays in a band. We have been enjoying music together since the day he was born. A few years ago, he was struggling financially and for Christmas so he burned a CD for me from his extensive library. This has become something he now does for me every year. His taste in music very eclectic and he fills the CD with some things I have never heard (but he always knows what I will like) and with others that bring back so many memories for the both of us. There are selections that make me cry and some that make me laugh I wouldn’t care if I never got another gift besides this one.
The second gift that I love is a calendar. I have a 5 year old grandson and his other grandma puts it together for me every year. She takes pictures throughout the year, and for each month adds a picture of something he was doing that same month in the previous year. For example, December might be a photo of him at the Christmas parade, July will be a picture of something they did together on vacation and of course his birthday month has a picture from his party, and so on. He loves remembering things he enjoyed and we love to see how much he has grown. I treasure this calendar every year and of course save them all.
The other thrifty ideas I have are simple. I bake and make candy, breads, cookies and lots of goodies for everyone on my list. I also save my swagbucks through the year for Amazon gift cards and buy a few gifts for my youngest daughter (she’s 8), although we keep gifts simple. One year when I had lots of young children still living at home (I have 5), I didn’t have money for ornaments and ours were pretty ragged from years before. My children and I made enough gingerbread men to fill the tree. I let them decorate the cookies and I used red ribbon I already had to hang them from the tree. That was one of the prettiest trees we have ever had. And lastly, some Christmases it is hard for all of us to get together on Christmas Day with all of the family members to visit. I love to have my children come to spend an entire day together instead of having to rush off so we wait and get together on New Year’s Day. Several years if I have had the money to spend, I go to Hickory Farms the day after Christmas when they mark everything 50% off. I can get my children and their spouses a nice gift box that is much nicer than one I can afford at full price and they enjoy it just the same as if I had bought it the day before Christmas! I hope everyone has a joyous Holiday!