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We celebrate Advent, so that is something fun we do all month long, too!

 

We've done advent and go to the dollar store with $30 bucks and have a blast all month long- we include projects (like gingerbread house), and get simple ornaments, cocoa, etc, read a devotional/Bible selection while we unwrap the gift (we wrap everything and put it numbered in a basket).

Such a sweet idea that brings everyone together. It could be done for far less and I'm adding it to my stuff to look for this month!

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I've went from a $1,000 Christmas spending spree to a skinny $200 budget. Previous years I never saved for Christmas, I charged it. DH left me in charge of all things finanically for the past 10 years and I've been pretty irresponsible. WHEW! Now that I've got that off my chest! :glare:

 

Here is how I've put this into play so far.

 

 

My dd9 is the most creative child in our home. She can create something from a mass of mess. She really sticks to getting toys and things she asks for on her list. When she wouldn't get it she'd have a poor attitude about it and acted confused as to why she didn't get what she asked for. I didn't realize this up until this year that I was helping create this attitude in her! Now I've explained on HER level that we simply can't afford to have all the things we really WANT. When we get something from someone we need to really think about how it makes us feel that someone thought of us. It took several calm sessions for her and I before she grasped what I was explaining. I always thought of her as being super crafty and creative. She will make animals out of duct tape, spare boxes, mom's pillow stuffing from my sewing tub, use buttons for eyes, pom poms for warts, and use almost any material she can find and just imagine something with it. I was happy to see her create. It wasn't until recently that I realized that this is something I need to CATER for her. She loves dinosaurs, chimpanzee's, monkey's, dressing up and being fully in roleplay mode, creating something amazing out of spare materials around the house, and most of all she loves to draw! So for her this year I've created a list just for her of what I'm creating.

  • Create-A-Monster Kit (I will toss in a little bit of everything for her to create the ultimate monster. I will even take a trip to the fabric shop to get her a couple small pieces of fake fur, this will be a BIG deal to her as she's asked for it alot and we never get it. I even want to pick up some hands and feet in the doll creation section. Creepy I know! But she'll LOVE IT!!!)
  • Build-A-Fort Kit
  • Finger-Puppet Kit
  • Science Experiment Kit
  • Jurassic Park Throw Blanket (I found a jurassic park panel at a thrift shop for $2! I already own the backing material for her blanket)
  • Jammie set (I bought her slippers on clearance for $2 at Walmart, found a nice robe at a second hand shop for $2, and a cute pair of dinosaur jammie bottoms for $1)
  • Stuffed dinosaur toys (Found both at a seond hand shop for $3 each, but they are BIG!)
  • Stuffed chimpanzee & monkey toys (Found both at a second hand shop for $2 each. She will be OVER the moon about these!!)
  • Stocking Stuffers - Mini marshmellow catapult, slime, marbles, hair brush, vending machine toys in the bubbles, dinosaur kite (found this at Walgreens on clearance for $0.59!), halloween decor rats (found a 4-pack on clearance for $0.98), and vegan gummy worms, rice boo boo pack

My dd7 is the biggest girlie girl. Sadly she doesn't get ALOT of mom and her time. She is really pushed to the side alot. She is SUPER smart and because of that she does alot of school work on her own. Whereas my dd9 has SPD so she requires ALOT of my time. You rarely find my dd7 complaining about things she didn't get! She's so thankful for everything she gets. I really had to step back and LEARN from her! My dd7 always wants to help clean house, cook dinner, bake with me, and even just sit next to me while I read. I catch myself saying go play or let mom be alone all too often!!! I've really focused on changing the way I am with her. Just because she isn't a child with SPD, a toddler, or because she is smart doesn't mean she deserves to be pushed aside all the time!!! I now see so obvious why she gives me struggles on some days. She just needs MOM!! Her list this year is really focused on HER and really going to bring her BIG SMILES. I'm smiling just writing this out. She really is a very beautiful and bright child. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't catch her humming or singing. She should be awarded for it, not ignored. She loves painting her nails, creating pretty outfits, putting on makeup, jewelry, playing mommy, dressing up, and helping mom whenever and however she can.

  • Build-a-Fort Kit
  • Radio/CD Player (She is using an old Dora the Explorer one they have that is really on it's last leg. I want to get her a new one or second hand)
  • Jewelry Box (She doesn't want the small boxes I've always gotten her. She told me that she really loves the BIG older style jewelry boxes she see's at the second hand shops. I'm on a mission now! I'm even filling it with new jewelry. I've got some pieces I found at second-hand shops, clearance racks, and stuff I have that she loves that I'm willing to give to her.)
  • Cookbook of Mom's famous foods (I've purchased a small binder at second hand shop for $0.50. I already took pictures of her in her chef hat and apron to use for the cover and back cover on her cookbook I'm creating. I even took a silly picture that I will use for creating a section; "About the lil chef". She already told me the recipes she wants. I will have to take pictures of the food and the steps to help create the book. Each year I will add more recipes for her book.)
  • Stationary/Scrapbook Kit (she LOVES drawing on paper, putting paper in envelopes, stickers, post it notes and all that jazz. I'm going to create a box full of all those goodies for her!)
  • Mom and Me cooking together Kit (she asked to cook with me with a special kit that has her OWN bowl, whisk, measuring cups, muffin pan, wooden spoons, and etc.)
  • Jammie Set (I found slippers on clearance for her at Walmart for $2. I am on the hunt currently for a new robe for her as well as a jammie set)
  • Finger Puppet Kit
  • Stocking Stuffers - Barbie Kite (Found this on clearance at Walgreens for $0.79), necklace, hair brush, makeup, hair accessories, coin purse, mini marshmellow catapult, and vegan gummy hearts, rice boo boo pack

My lil guy is so energetic. I find myself many times thinking of how super LOUD and messy he is! I didn't realize how thankful I am for the LOUD and MESSY boy I have. I was so busy trying to make him into something he naturally wasn't! I couldn't get him to stop jumping off things, throwing balls in house, or stop talking so loud. He is so smart and enjoys having time with me in the kitchen as well. He loves having his sister's at home with him all day. He is the completion of our family and he needs to be treated as that all the time.

  • Build-a-Fort Kit
  • Finger Puppet Kit
  • Car Racing Launch
  • Jammie Set
  • Noise making remote car (Found this on clearance at Walgreens for $3.49!)
  • Boxing Gloves (Found these at second hand shop for $3! They are little just for his hands.)
  • Stocking Stuffers - Mini marshmellow catapult, shuttle kite (found at walgreens on clearance for $0.59), slingshot airplane (found at walgreens on clearance for $0.49), vegan gummy balls, rice boo boo pack

 

This is a great post and gave me lots of ideas!!! Thank you! Your daughter sounds a lot like mine. Can I ask you are these kits that you are buying or making? What's in them? The fort kit, finger puppet kit, etc.

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I've went from a $1,000 Christmas spending spree to a skinny $200 budget. Previous years I never saved for Christmas, I charged it. DH left me in charge of all things finanically for the past 10 years and I've been pretty irresponsible. WHEW! Now that I've got that off my chest! :glare:

 

Here is how I've put this into play so far.

 

 

My dd9 is the most creative child in our home. She can create something from a mass of mess. She really sticks to getting toys and things she asks for on her list. When she wouldn't get it she'd have a poor attitude about it and acted confused as to why she didn't get what she asked for. I didn't realize this up until this year that I was helping create this attitude in her! Now I've explained on HER level that we simply can't afford to have all the things we really WANT. When we get something from someone we need to really think about how it makes us feel that someone thought of us. It took several calm sessions for her and I before she grasped what I was explaining. I always thought of her as being super crafty and creative. She will make animals out of duct tape, spare boxes, mom's pillow stuffing from my sewing tub, use buttons for eyes, pom poms for warts, and use almost any material she can find and just imagine something with it. I was happy to see her create. It wasn't until recently that I realized that this is something I need to CATER for her. She loves dinosaurs, chimpanzee's, monkey's, dressing up and being fully in roleplay mode, creating something amazing out of spare materials around the house, and most of all she loves to draw! So for her this year I've created a list just for her of what I'm creating.

  • Create-A-Monster Kit (I will toss in a little bit of everything for her to create the ultimate monster. I will even take a trip to the fabric shop to get her a couple small pieces of fake fur, this will be a BIG deal to her as she's asked for it alot and we never get it. I even want to pick up some hands and feet in the doll creation section. Creepy I know! But she'll LOVE IT!!!)
  • Build-A-Fort Kit
  • Finger-Puppet Kit
  • Science Experiment Kit
  • Jurassic Park Throw Blanket (I found a jurassic park panel at a thrift shop for $2! I already own the backing material for her blanket)
  • Jammie set (I bought her slippers on clearance for $2 at Walmart, found a nice robe at a second hand shop for $2, and a cute pair of dinosaur jammie bottoms for $1)
  • Stuffed dinosaur toys (Found both at a seond hand shop for $3 each, but they are BIG!)
  • Stuffed chimpanzee & monkey toys (Found both at a second hand shop for $2 each. She will be OVER the moon about these!!)
  • Stocking Stuffers - Mini marshmellow catapult, slime, marbles, hair brush, vending machine toys in the bubbles, dinosaur kite (found this at Walgreens on clearance for $0.59!), halloween decor rats (found a 4-pack on clearance for $0.98), and vegan gummy worms, rice boo boo pack

My dd7 is the biggest girlie girl. Sadly she doesn't get ALOT of mom and her time. She is really pushed to the side alot. She is SUPER smart and because of that she does alot of school work on her own. Whereas my dd9 has SPD so she requires ALOT of my time. You rarely find my dd7 complaining about things she didn't get! She's so thankful for everything she gets. I really had to step back and LEARN from her! My dd7 always wants to help clean house, cook dinner, bake with me, and even just sit next to me while I read. I catch myself saying go play or let mom be alone all too often!!! I've really focused on changing the way I am with her. Just because she isn't a child with SPD, a toddler, or because she is smart doesn't mean she deserves to be pushed aside all the time!!! I now see so obvious why she gives me struggles on some days. She just needs MOM!! Her list this year is really focused on HER and really going to bring her BIG SMILES. I'm smiling just writing this out. She really is a very beautiful and bright child. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't catch her humming or singing. She should be awarded for it, not ignored. She loves painting her nails, creating pretty outfits, putting on makeup, jewelry, playing mommy, dressing up, and helping mom whenever and however she can.

  • Build-a-Fort Kit
  • Radio/CD Player (She is using an old Dora the Explorer one they have that is really on it's last leg. I want to get her a new one or second hand)
  • Jewelry Box (She doesn't want the small boxes I've always gotten her. She told me that she really loves the BIG older style jewelry boxes she see's at the second hand shops. I'm on a mission now! I'm even filling it with new jewelry. I've got some pieces I found at second-hand shops, clearance racks, and stuff I have that she loves that I'm willing to give to her.)
  • Cookbook of Mom's famous foods (I've purchased a small binder at second hand shop for $0.50. I already took pictures of her in her chef hat and apron to use for the cover and back cover on her cookbook I'm creating. I even took a silly picture that I will use for creating a section; "About the lil chef". She already told me the recipes she wants. I will have to take pictures of the food and the steps to help create the book. Each year I will add more recipes for her book.)
  • Stationary/Scrapbook Kit (she LOVES drawing on paper, putting paper in envelopes, stickers, post it notes and all that jazz. I'm going to create a box full of all those goodies for her!)
  • Mom and Me cooking together Kit (she asked to cook with me with a special kit that has her OWN bowl, whisk, measuring cups, muffin pan, wooden spoons, and etc.)
  • Jammie Set (I found slippers on clearance for her at Walmart for $2. I am on the hunt currently for a new robe for her as well as a jammie set)
  • Finger Puppet Kit
  • Stocking Stuffers - Barbie Kite (Found this on clearance at Walgreens for $0.79), necklace, hair brush, makeup, hair accessories, coin purse, mini marshmellow catapult, and vegan gummy hearts, rice boo boo pack

My lil guy is so energetic. I find myself many times thinking of how super LOUD and messy he is! I didn't realize how thankful I am for the LOUD and MESSY boy I have. I was so busy trying to make him into something he naturally wasn't! I couldn't get him to stop jumping off things, throwing balls in house, or stop talking so loud. He is so smart and enjoys having time with me in the kitchen as well. He loves having his sister's at home with him all day. He is the completion of our family and he needs to be treated as that all the time.

  • Build-a-Fort Kit
  • Finger Puppet Kit
  • Car Racing Launch
  • Jammie Set
  • Noise making remote car (Found this on clearance at Walgreens for $3.49!)
  • Boxing Gloves (Found these at second hand shop for $3! They are little just for his hands.)
  • Stocking Stuffers - Mini marshmellow catapult, shuttle kite (found at walgreens on clearance for $0.59), slingshot airplane (found at walgreens on clearance for $0.49), vegan gummy balls, rice boo boo pack

 

 

I LOVE all your suggestions...and yes, would you please give details on the kits--particularly the fort and finger puppets? I'm super curious as most sound like things my kiddos would love.

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We are on a budget every year. I never even had Christmas growing up except a few times and outside of my Mother, the only gift I've ever been given from family was a quilt my Grandma made me. Until recently, at least. An aunt gave me a picture frame and my Dad has given me a few presents (we just met recently). I am not ungrateful or bitter about this at all. I think it made me more grateful for what I did have. The kids' presents have gotten bigger or more expensive as they got older, though. The three big kids got cheap refurbished Nook Colors for Christmas last year and a couple books. But I'm done with the tech overload in my house. We're having simpler birthdays and Christmas this year, for sure. My kids all have winter birthdays (one on Christmas Eve and another 12 days post-Christmas!), and our budget is ridiculously tight this year because of my financial stupidity. So it will be a very cheap holiday season. For birthdays, I bought inexpensive baskets, and some art supplies. I bought stuff to make birthday crowns and things like sewing sets or knitting sets (I already have too much yarn). I'm also making slippers for each of them.

 

I buy gifts for my kids, a small thing for dh, my mom, sometimes my brothers (usually 2 months Netflix or something), and a card for each other person. I always feel bad about not getting gifts for my in-laws, but they are all soooooooo well off and there is nothing I can afford that they would care about. Last year I felt stupid, but dh insisted we give our other camera to my MIL. She was too cheap to buy a better one for herself, mine was perfect, but I had bought a Digital Rebel for a super killer steal on ebay, so it was extraneous. I hate giving second hand, but it wouldn't have made sense for us to sell that one and find $200 for a new one for MIL and then have to match that for my Mom, My FIL, my Dad, etc. They used to like it when I baked for them, but we are gluten free now, so that makes it difficult.

 

I was hoping to do:

 

Something you want

Something you need

Something to wear

Something to read

And something from Santa

 

We're probably going to trade in 3 of our violins for a better violin for the 11 year old. Hers is pretty terrible.

 

I try to buy on Etsy for gifts, too. Nothing expensive, but good handmade jewelry or little gifts I couldn't think of otherwise. My kids have so much, that I hate buying for them just to have "stuff". They have requested Legos this year, so I'm hoping they go on sale.

 

On paper, I've given myself $600 for all of the Holidays-gifts, cards, etc. But in reality, I think I have about half that for 5 kids and extended family. If I'm lucky!

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Here are the links where I got the inspiration to create these great things for my kids this Christmas!

 

I am putting together all the kits. I won't be purchasing any premade kits. We have ALOT of these items on hand already for most of the kits. What we don't have I can get at a Thrifty store or Dollar store.

 

 

I will post the rest tomorrow morning. DH wants to watch Revolution with me.

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I'm honestly not trying to be rude here, but what constitutes "ungrateful" behavior for 5, 3, and 1 year-old children on Christmas? How grateful could they possibly be for their gifts? They're just little kids. :confused:

 

I'm not criticizing your decision to split up the gifts over the course of the year -- it actually sounds like a very cool idea -- but I can't imagine that kids would be "overwhelmed and ungrateful" for $100 worth of Christmas gifts per child. Are you sure you're not expecting too much of them? I don't really think that even your oldest child, who apparently is only 5, would have the emotional maturity to realize that she should be incredibly grateful for Christmas gifts.

 

I truly can't imagine anything too much different from a "selfish grab-fest" from three little kids who are super-excited on Christmas morning. I would just view it as them having lots of fun and being a little wild because they've got lots of great new stuff to play with.

 

My five year old complained after every gift given to him by my huge extended family, probably close to 15 gifts, that it wasn't a Lego set, or didn't they know he wanted the Black Phantom, or he hated clothes, even though he was given an awesome Superman shirt complete with cape from Gap and Ninjago underwear.

I got a an awesome deal at our local toy company so he got a ton of stuff for $100 ($200 worth of stuff). He never once said thank you to anyone, in fact, when he got to the end of his gifts from us, he asked my husband if there was anything else and complained that we had gotten him one Hero Factory rather than another (he changed his mind at the last minute). He asked asked my mom why she didn't buy him anything else after he opened his last gift. It was like he was so overwhelmed that he couldn't be grateful. All he did in the weeks leading up to Christmas was make and remake and revise his "list" for us, we don't even do Santa.

 

This is so far from what I want Christmas to be about. I wanted to take the gifts out of Christmas, but not take them away. I enjoy blessing them with gifts, but he was not able to focus on anything else. So this year there will be no gifts (from us) to focus on, just the fun things we do as a family, and most importantly, we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. I'm hoping he will be grateful for my family's presents because he hasn't received a ton of stuff from us. The other two were clueless, at 2 and 9 months, so they won't even know that we're doing anything different.

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Here are the links where I got the inspiration to create these great things for my kids this Christmas!

 

I am putting together all the kits. I won't be purchasing any premade kits. We have ALOT of these items on hand already for most of the kits. What we don't have I can get at a Thrifty store or Dollar store.

 

I will post the rest tomorrow morning. DH wants to watch Revolution with me.

 

These are AWESOME! Thanks for sharing! I saw a fort kit on Pinterest but it didn't give directions.

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Here are the ones we've thought of so far but we're not going to use all of them! LOL

 

First, one fun one that I like, but that requires siblings, is a "Give Away" one where everyone opens a gift (not sure what theme, if any) and they have to GIVE it to one of their siblings. :)

 

Other categories:

 

Game (card game or board game)

Book (maybe even a particular genre or non-fiction, etc.)

Magazine (not even a subscription necessarily, just an issue or two!)

Hobby

Craft

Collectible ornament (if you haven't started this tradition you can now!)

Funky nightlight, booklight or flashlight (my kids, all ages, love lights LOL)

Snacks or baking ingredients

Music (or even just a song!)

Clothing or Accessory (my boys love hats of all kinds and everyone can always use fun socks, gloves, etc.)

Fill-a- ________ Find a fun container (lunchbox? They have mini ones at craft stores. I thought it would be funny to fill a pair of underwear...LOL with random little items. Not instead of a stocking, though.)

Animals (Our kids are nature lovers and this could be any object related to or picturing an animal--they all have their favorites. Dd17 loves birds, so maybe a bird call or field guide, etc.)

Magic! (My kids love to do magic tricks and puzzles and make weird concoctions! This could be a Puzzle category or Science instead.)

Favorite Character (from tv/movie/books--anything related)

Movie theme...

Computer or Electronics Nerd theme... (flash drive, new mouse or mousepad if needed, new stylus, laptop cover or skin, phone cover or bling, headphones or earbuds, etc.)

For girls--Manicure in a box! Hair Salon!

MAP (Create a day out with mom or dad and make a map of all the stops you'll make, even if it's just to the park and then for ice cream. Include anything fun to get them excited for the day.)

Calendars (Our kids always like these and there are SO many cool ones out there. Joke-A-Day desk calendars or ones with characters or animals, etc. If you do the Map category, you can let your child put a sticker on the "day out"!)

Bookmarks! (These always get lost. You can find TONS of cool homemade bookmarks to make online and we save greeting cards all year long to turn into bookmarks!)

Office Supplies (around here if you have your own pens or pencils you are in HEAVEN)

 

I'm not super creative with categories or titles for these and if you only have one child you can base all of the themes/categories on your child's interests or try to help them find a new one!

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For extended family & good friends, I have always made up a platter of homemade Christmas baking for each family. As NZ Christmas baking is usually limited to a big fruitcake, my platters of American cookies (6-8 varieties) have always been well recieved. When dh's neices were under 18yo we would get them a gift certificates to the movies. Now that they are older, we don't exchange gifts. I usually send my neices & nephews a book each.

 

For our dc we have used the following poem to choose gifts.

 

Something you want

Something you need

Something to wear

Something to read

 

All 4 gifts are from Santa + a new pair of PJs from us on Xmas Eve. We do Advent each year, which helps to keep the focus where it needs to be during the holiday season. I grew up in a family where it took 5 hours for us to open up our gifts on Christmas morning. There were 6 kids, but even taking that into account it was overwhelming. Dh & I have focused on experieces rather that things when choosing gifts for our dc.

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Here are some more things I'm going to gift.

 

The girls close friends will each get one of these. We will also make one to send to dh's cousin's daughter that is on our list.

http://lifeinthethriftylane.blogspot.com/2011/11/favors-for-teens-attempt.html

 

I will be making these cute crepe paper snowballs for my 2 nieces. I will be putting more than erasers and such inside since they are 3 & 4 yrs old. But I want to give them something fun and affordable too!

http://speckled-egg.blogspot.com/2010/12/surprise-snowballs.html

 

The science experiment kit was inspired by 2 bloggers. I'm thrilled to put this together for my oldest dd :)

http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2012/06/gift-idea-science-kit-for-kids-with-free-printables/

And

http://kimboscrafts.blogspot.com/2012/01/science-box.html

 

The matchbox launch pad was from this blogger. Ds is going to love this!

http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2011/11/matchbox-cars-track.html

 

I'm creating a dress up trunk/chest for my kids to share. This is what they are getting from "santa". I've pieced things for them here and there and they have a lot of dressup still. It's the ONE thing they have continued to enjoy for years! This is our biggest expenditure. Here is what's going inside.

 

  • Dr. Jacket - scrubs top that I will cut down the front and hem. This was from thrift store for under $1!
  • Knight costume - found at thrift store for $4. Includes shirt, neck guard, boot cover ups, hood, & pants.
  • Fairy skirt - thrift store find for $1.50. Includes 2 hair ties with mini fairy wings attached to them and a wand.
  • Pirate costume - thrift store find for $4. Comes with long shirt, pants, boot cover ups, & belt
  • Gypsy costume - thrift store find $4. Includes beautiful crushed velvet gown and cone with tassel hat
  • Military vest - thrift store find for $1
  • Clip on ties - thrift store find for $1 each. I snagged 2.
  • Hair scarves - thrift store find for $0.25/ea, I picked up 3.

 

I plan on grabbing some final items to complete the dress up gift.

 

  • Pirate accessories - Dollar Tree
  • Military accessories - Dollar Tree
  • Knight Accessories - Dollar tree
  • Dr. Accessories - plan to make most and search eBay for stethoscope and thrift store for small briefcase or similar to fit accesories inside.
  • Fairy Wings - Dollar tree
  • Capes - XXL tshirt from thrift store to repurpose into cape
  • Indian accessories & costume - will make from thrift store sheets and crafting supplies already owned. Will make one dress & one pant suit.
  • Toy bow & arrow

 

 

Mom & Me bake set

 

  • Homemade recipe cards
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Mixing spoons
  • Kitchen timer
  • Cupcake liners
  • Hot pad
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry ingredients for recipes included

 

 

Marshmallow catapult

http://www.devincollier.com/2011/04/16/how-to-build-a-simple-small-marshmallow-catapult/

 

I'm loving these night gowns for my nieces, my dd's, & even myself!

http://icandyhandmade.blogspot.com/2011/07/tutorial-pillowcase-nightgowns-take-2.html

Edited by mamaofblessings
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Last Christmas I did a very easy Christmas.

I did the Something you want, Something you need, Something you wear, Something you read. Last year I spent around $600 (DH's was the biggest purchase)

 

DS only wanted a crocheted blanket made from this really thick soft yarn. He had one and lost it. I made him and DGD each one. $60

 

DD-8 got an American Girl doll-want $40 Ebay

A ton of American girl doll clothes that I used baby clothes from the thrift store to redo into doll clothes-need (doll needed clothes!) $7.00

A craft book with A.G. to make doll t-shirts-read $10

A really pretty red dress with a matching doll dress-wear $30

 

DD-3 got made by mommy stuff for her dollies and a sticker book -under $20

 

DH got some shirts to wear and a big $$ purchase was his door opener for his shop. I joked that he needed it, he wanted it and he can read the directions. &20 + $350

 

I get my stepdaughters each clothes from the mall that I had another young girl help me pick out. $100 total

 

For me I only wanted a dryer!!! Ours took 3 times to dry a load of jeans. I told hubby that I wanted it, I needed it, I would read directions and wear the clothes that came out of it!!! I got my dryer! :lol:

 

This year I am planning on doing the same thing. I hate Christmas anyway (no flaming!) and wouldn't celebrate it at all if DH would allow it. I DO NOT want my children to be greedy about it so I plan on doing this for every year. THe more homemade the better IMO.

Edited by misidawnrn
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here are some more things i'm going to gift.

 

The girls close friends will each get one of these. We will also make one to send to dh's cousin's daughter that is on our list.

http://lifeinthethriftylane.blogspot.com/2011/11/favors-for-teens-attempt.html

 

i will be making these cute crepe paper snowballs for my 2 nieces. I will be putting more than erasers and such inside since they are 3 & 4 yrs old. But i want to give them something fun and affordable too!

http://speckled-egg.blogspot.com/2010/12/surprise-snowballs.html

 

the science experiment kit was inspired by 2 bloggers. I'm thrilled to put this together for my oldest dd :)

http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2012/06/gift-idea-science-kit-for-kids-with-free-printables/

and

http://kimboscrafts.blogspot.com/2012/01/science-box.html

 

the matchbox launch pad was from this blogger. Ds is going to love this!

http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2011/11/matchbox-cars-track.html

 

i'm creating a dress up trunk/chest for my kids to share. This is what they are getting from "santa". I've pieced things for them here and there and they have a lot of dressup still. It's the one thing they have continued to enjoy for years! This is our biggest expenditure. Here is what's going inside.

 

  • dr. Jacket - scrubs top that i will cut down the front and hem. This was from thrift store for under $1!

  • knight costume - found at thrift store for $4. Includes shirt, neck guard, boot cover ups, hood, & pants.

  • fairy skirt - thrift store find for $1.50. Includes 2 hair ties with mini fairy wings attached to them and a wand.

  • pirate costume - thrift store find for $4. Comes with long shirt, pants, boot cover ups, & belt

  • gypsy costume - thrift store find $4. Includes beautiful crushed velvet gown and cone with tassel hat

  • military vest - thrift store find for $1

  • clip on ties - thrift store find for $1 each. I snagged 2.

  • hair scarves - thrift store find for $0.25/ea, i picked up 3.

 

i plan on grabbing some final items to complete the dress up gift.

 

  • pirate accessories - dollar tree

  • military accessories - dollar tree

  • knight accessories - dollar tree

  • dr. Accessories - plan to make most and search ebay for stethoscope and thrift store for small briefcase or similar to fit accesories inside.

  • fairy wings - dollar tree

  • capes - xxl tshirt from thrift store to repurpose into cape

  • indian accessories & costume - will make from thrift store sheets and crafting supplies already owned. Will make one dress & one pant suit.

  • toy bow & arrow

 

 

mom & me bake set

 

  • homemade recipe cards

  • mixing bowl

  • whisk

  • mixing spoons

  • kitchen timer

  • cupcake liners

  • hot pad

  • measuring cup

  • measuring spoons

  • dry ingredients for recipes included

 

 

marshmallow catapult

http://www.devincollier.com/2011/04/16/how-to-build-a-simple-small-marshmallow-catapult/

 

i'm loving these night gowns for my nieces, my dd's, & even myself!

http://icandyhandmade.blogspot.com/2011/07/tutorial-pillowcase-nightgowns-take-2.html

 

thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

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I'm started to think the same thing!

 

Handmade when and if you can. Thrift store if you can't. :001_smile:

 

Those links that you posted really did help me so much. THANK YOU! I was wondering if I was going to be able to get the kids anything more than 1 presents, but with all of the ideas that you gave me; I'm sure that I will be able to! Thank you.

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My son loves to build. He has a hammer and has been known to rummage through the garage and find nails, etc. and spend hours hammering them into a board. I'm trying to come up with a creative idea for him to make him a "construction kit". Still thinking on that one, but if anyone has any ideas please send them my way. :bigear: :D

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This is so far from what I want Christmas to be about. I wanted to take the gifts out of Christmas, but not take them away. I enjoy blessing them with gifts, but he was not able to focus on anything else. So this year there will be no gifts (from us) to focus on, just the fun things we do as a family, and most importantly, we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. I'm hoping he will be grateful for my family's presents because he hasn't received a ton of stuff from us. The other two were clueless, at 2 and 9 months, so they won't even know that we're doing anything different.

 

We found too that too many gifts led to ungratefulness. I'm not entirely certain it was the kids' fault, because frankly, we had wrapped all of BEFORE Christmas with "What do you want?" And then piles of gifts and as you unwrap one, then the other, then the other, the obvious question at the end is: Are there more? Sigh.

 

For *our* family, it isn't that the kids weren't grateful, it's that there were too many presents, too much expectation wrapped up into it, etc. When we REDUCED the number of presents, then they took their time unwrapping and savoring the gifts and enjoyed them, kwim? We celebrate Christmas in honor of the memory of Christ's birth and so in that tradition, we only give the children three gifts and "swaddling" clothes. We don't do Santa. I wanted to kill him off completely, but DH insisted we keep him around, so he fills the stockings at our house. ;)

 

Ideally they are supposed to get the three gifts being one "big" gift (something they really want), something to point to Christ, and something they can use. However, we really ran out of ideas of things that point directly to Christ because one can give only so many Bibles so that one became a gift that emphasizes their unique giftings from Him - art supplies for the artist, dress up clothes for the dramatic one, etc. ;)

 

I'm a minimalist at heart and so the "stuff" pouring into the house -decorations, cookie cutters, cards, gifts, wrapping paper, etc., is incredibly overwhelming to me. It can stress me out if I let it.

 

Minimizing the NUMBER but focusing on the reason for the holiday, making special things, putting a LOT of thought into each gift, no generic gifts, etc., helps keep that generous feeling of Christmas without all of the traumatic stuff. :)

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My son loves to build. He has a hammer and has been known to rummage through the garage and find nails, etc. and spend hours hammering them into a board. I'm trying to come up with a creative idea for him to make him a "construction kit". Still thinking on that one, but if anyone has any ideas please send them my way. :bigear: :D

 

A few years ago, my husband gave our son a big bucket of PVC piping. He cut it to different lengths and included a few different connectors. It was a huge hit, and my son played with that stuff for two or three years.

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Love these--thanks for the links!

 

thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

 

:iagree: Thank YOU!!!

 

Those links that you posted really did help me so much. THANK YOU! I was wondering if I was going to be able to get the kids anything more than 1 presents, but with all of the ideas that you gave me; I'm sure that I will be able to! Thank you.

 

You all are so kind. You are all very welcome. Thanks to all the wonderful people who created the ideas and those that pinned them to pinterest!:001_smile:

 

When we realized that we really want to become debt-free alot had to change. The biggest adjustment has been the "extra" spending I did all too often. For Christmas I knew that the kids would be happy with what they got because our parents do enough for them. However as a parent I wanted to be able to give them something they asked for. Now I see that what they will be getting are things that are personalized for THEM and their interest. No store sells that! :) I'm glad you are able to pull somethings from the links to create for your kids this holiday season.

 

My son loves to build. He has a hammer and has been known to rummage through the garage and find nails, etc. and spend hours hammering them into a board. I'm trying to come up with a creative idea for him to make him a "construction kit". Still thinking on that one, but if anyone has any ideas please send them my way. :bigear: :D

 

What about creating him a build-it-kit? Like print off some free bird house plans from online or another simple project he can make and share with everyone? If you have spare wood around the house and a jigsaw get busy cutting dimensions according to some simple plans for a birdhouse. Toss it all into a metal bucket or smaller gallon bucket and wrap!

 

If it were me I'd include a small package of birdseed and a new hammer and wrap it seperately with a note that said something like, "What can we build that can use these?". Adding some fun into opening gifts never gets old around here! Here is what I'd put in the bucket...

  • Goggles
  • Wood Glue
  • Nails
  • Worker Gloves
  • Paint Brush
  • Paint
  • Birdhouse Plans
  • Pre-cut Wood Pieces
  • Something to attach to the birdhouse so that it can be hung.

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And for those that think I'm crazy for posting something about Christmas. Well it's 90 days until Christmas. I need that amount of time to create what I've got on my list for everyone. :D

 

I posted something similar a couple weeks back, so no, I don't think you are crazy for posting about Christmas! A few weeks ago, dh and I sat down and set our Christmas budget, which was about 1/2 of last year's budget. Within an hour of doing that, we received some news that shook our budget and finances considerably.

 

Our Christmas budget was one of the first things to get marked out. The Hive gave me some great ideas though! I have started going to our local used book sale a couple times a week now, usually on my way home from something. So far, I've found some great bargains on the "last chance" shelf and the $2 table. Our local homeschool used curriculum store also has a buy 1 get 1 free table. I used my CVS double points and found something my youngest wanted and it only cost me $1.49 out of pocket (lets not talk about the prescriptions and OTC prices). I'm keeping my eyes open for such bargains.

 

Joanns Fabric has been a great source for some deals. They accept coupons from other stores and also give a homeschool discount.

 

cbd has a bargain section and I also had a free shipping coupon.

 

We have some points at Lego, so I'm still hoping to get dds a Lego set they want, but it might not happen.

 

We also decided we would not exchange gifts outside the family this year. The budget is just that tight and with the added expense of shipping, it will really push it over the edge. I'm doing ecards instead of paper/mail cards too. I plan to make cookies to share with neighbors, co-op teachers, etc. if the budget allows it though.

 

We plan to spend lots of time together, playing board games, cards, watching movies. We want to go caroling and I hope to get some other families together and make that happen. Lots of churches and community choirs are having free concerts I'd like to attend.

 

Dh and I will probably not exchange gifts. He needs socks, shirts, etc. so dc will get him those type things for Christmas. These are items we would need to buy anyway, so saving them for Christmas will be special and practical.

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I posted something similar a couple weeks back, so no, I don't think you are crazy for posting about Christmas! A few weeks ago, dh and I sat down and set our Christmas budget, which was about 1/2 of last year's budget. Within an hour of doing that, we received some news that shook our budget and finances considerably.

 

Our Christmas budget was one of the first things to get marked out. The Hive gave me some great ideas though! I have started going to our local used book sale a couple times a week now, usually on my way home from something. So far, I've found some great bargains on the "last chance" shelf and the $2 table. Our local homeschool used curriculum store also has a buy 1 get 1 free table. I used my CVS double points and found something my youngest wanted and it only cost me $1.49 out of pocket (lets not talk about the prescriptions and OTC prices). I'm keeping my eyes open for such bargains.

 

Joanns Fabric has been a great source for some deals. They accept coupons from other stores and also give a homeschool discount.

 

cbd has a bargain section and I also had a free shipping coupon.

 

We have some points at Lego, so I'm still hoping to get dds a Lego set they want, but it might not happen.

 

We also decided we would not exchange gifts outside the family this year. The budget is just that tight and with the added expense of shipping, it will really push it over the edge. I'm doing ecards instead of paper/mail cards too. I plan to make cookies to share with neighbors, co-op teachers, etc. if the budget allows it though.

 

We plan to spend lots of time together, playing board games, cards, watching movies. We want to go caroling and I hope to get some other families together and make that happen. Lots of churches and community choirs are having free concerts I'd like to attend.

 

Dh and I will probably not exchange gifts. He needs socks, shirts, etc. so dc will get him those type things for Christmas. These are items we would need to buy anyway, so saving them for Christmas will be special and practical.

 

Sounds like you've been a good bargain scouting mama!! I've always got my eyes open, but now I've got a list and checking it twice! :tongue_smilie:

 

I will bake cookies and pumpkin bread for neighbors. The kids love helping with this! :)

 

We are just us on Christmas so I'd like to play games and watch Christmas movies together. I too would like to attend more free entertainment as well. We've picked up on doing that now. Before we'd stay inside ALOT because dh tends to be a hermit. We are all enjoying getting out and living within our community instead of just being here oblivious to what's happening around us for free!! Next Saturday were going to a big Art in the Park event that's free! Face paintings, music, games, Indian culture items, and tons more! The church the kids attend for AWANA gave us free tickets to a magic show that is going on end of next month! We don't attend any cookouts, truck or treating, and similar things as we have a lifestyle that makes doing those things almost impossible.

 

Sorry to gab on! I just got home from grocery shopping for 3 hours without talking much. Since I was alone. I get home late and everyone hits the hay! :001_huh:

 

I did get more items for the kids "Santa" gift tonight. So I was glad to mark more off my list for that! I couldn't wait since a lot of the Halloween stuff gets picked through fast.

 

I need to get a tripod for our new camera so we can take our own pictures this year. We did this each year at studio, but last year we couldn't afford it and this year the studio is out of business! Plan on making them into cards and sending only to super close family as postage is just too expensive for my entire family & in laws.

Edited by mamaofblessings
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Pinterest saved me last year with ideas for making presents!

Here's my board if you're interested.

http://pinterest.com/terri_moore2/christmas-comes-but-once-a-year

 

I'm following you now, Thanks! I love your other boards too!!

 

My boys have Jan/Feb birthday's too and have benefited by the after Christmas clearance sales for their b-day gifts.

 

What a great way to save! I do this when I can too! I've got a dc with a February birthday.

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This won't give you specific ideas, but I just wanted to say that we change the way we do Christmas every year. Some years are much more lean than others. Our kids have gotten used to this (that things fluctuate from year to year!) over the years, so they don't have certain expectations. We like to try different things.

 

One year -- when my husband had to go without a salary for about 6 months -- we told our kids that every gift we gave had to cost nothing. For example, one of our daughters learned a beautiful song that she knew my husband loved on her violin.

 

One year, we needed to fly to Germany on Christmas Eve, and so we told our children ahead of time that they would only be getting one small ($25 or less) gift.

 

Other years we spend more. It's fun to change it around! And, I like that our children have grown up not assuming that they would always get a certain amount of material things for Christmas.

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one more idea if you are a bit craft oriented.....Dd and I bought a few embordery, cross-stictch, and needlepoint kits on the "super bargain" shelf at a craft store. Most were less than $2, but a couple were up to $5. We are making a table runner, teapot cozy-thingy, eye glass case, book marks, and various other odds and ends. They will make lovely gifts and we are enjoying making them.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Man, I wish I was crafty!!

 

I can takes pictures. I'm going to try and do something for my parents and my niece that involves photography. Maybe something like this. I'm hoping I can get a good deal on frames somewhere.

 

We'll see!!

 

 

I have had great luck with frames at the Goodwill. I just repaint them or cover them with scrap fabric and I have gotten lots of compliments. HTH :001_smile:

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Don't forget to shop the Halloween costumes when they get to 75% off for some dress up items.

 

Thanks to Halloween sales right now, I'm able to find ALL I was seeking for the dress up chest! I was wanting to start the shopping right around Halloween clearance but a lot of places here aren't even waiting for Halloween to get much closer before sales are already going!

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We don't buy for many, but this year we are on a shorter shoestring than usual.

 

For the women in my family (mom, gmom, stepmom, sil, aunt) I'm making homemade soaps with a candle in a pretty basket. It's costing about $7-8 ea. Basket, fill, and candle came from the $ Tree.

 

I think I'm making the men (brothers and dad) food type baskets with homemade jam, bread, and a cookie mix.

 

I'm making special ornaments with the kids for my mom and DH.

 

I'll also have the $9.99 picture package made at Portrait Innovations and give those with cards to everyone including extended family.

 

I have 2 nephews and a niece, and granddaughter to buy a little something for. I'll probably get my DSS the traditional PJs and some cash.

 

I have no idea what to get the kids at home yet.

 

ETA I think I will get each of the kids an unfinished birdhouse and some paint and brush. Should be able to do that for about $10 each. Yay! Now I don't have to buy junky toys and I think they will all love it!

Edited by Ruby Sue
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm about done with the buying thrifty for the kids. I have a few things I need to finish up finalizing for making them. ALOT of my list has changed.

 

My MIL swept in this year and is sending us a decent sum of money to help with Christmas. She hasn't a clue what we do for Christmas but wanted to offer to send money this year instead of buying gifts and shipping. So now our plans have changed. Even though I want to stay on a budget and we will still...the budget just got a bit bigger is all.

 

So now I am off to make AG doll clothing and 2 AG doll beds from some plans I found on Ana White's blog. The other items I was going to make for the kids will be pushed for birthday's and projects that we can do together. :)

 

Anyone else plans changed or did anyone finish all the Christmas shopping yet?

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I'm about done with the buying thrifty for the kids. I have a few things I need to finish up finalizing for making them. ALOT of my list has changed.

 

My MIL swept in this year and is sending us a decent sum of money to help with Christmas. She hasn't a clue what we do for Christmas but wanted to offer to send money this year instead of buying gifts and shipping. So now our plans have changed. Even though I want to stay on a budget and we will still...the budget just got a bit bigger is all.

 

So now I am off to make AG doll clothing and 2 AG doll beds from some plans I found on Ana White's blog. The other items I was going to make for the kids will be pushed for birthday's and projects that we can do together. :)

 

Anyone else plans changed or did anyone finish all the Christmas shopping yet?

 

Yay for you!!! That's awesome! What a relief!

 

Pressure is still on here.....we'll figure it out. Somehow, we always do.

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I know I just posted recently, but yes, there are still changes being made. We are not shopping for extended family this year. Everyone understands or is in a similar financial situation. I'm not sure about cards this year yet or not. I will do ecards, but I have always sent snail mail cards and I don't know if we will do that or not this year.

 

Yesterday, I went to our local used bookstore and spent $16. They have wonderful $1, $2 and $3 clearance racks. Sometimes I go and don't find anything, but yesterday I found a video game dd wanted, a lovely geography book I liked (yes, a gift for me), a River Dance dvd dd wanted, several Calvin and Hobbes books, piano sheet music, violin sheet music, and a fiction book my oldest wanted. This will go toward Christmas. I've been checking the library sale rack each week as well. Our library sells hardbacks for $1 and paper backs for 50 cents. Our local craft store has a clearance shelf as well. Several weeks ago, I found a quilt block kit that was under $5. I also found tall holiday mugs for $2. Dd wanted one to give to her coach with some coffee or hot cocoa.

 

Dh needs some basic clothing and that will be his Christmas this year. It will technically come out of the clothing budget, but it still means gifts for him.

 

I went to the after Halloween sale and bought candy for stocking stuffers. Dds want some bookmarks and I plan to make those out of supplies I have on hand here. Oldest has some beading and jewelry supplies here and I think she plans to use those supplies to make gifts.

 

I sold some old homeschool books to our local used curriculum store, so I have some money on account there now. Curriculum might be my Christmas present this year.

 

I'm done with my shopping for the most part. Unless I find something awesome on the used bookstore clearance rack or library sale, I won't be purchasing any more gifts.

 

Each time I go to the grocery store, IF I have some extra left on that week's grocery budget, I've been stocking up on flour, brown sugar, oameal, etc. for holiday baking. Walmart had turkeys on sale at a good price, so there is one in my freezer for Thanksgiving. I wanted 2, but couldn't swing that in one week's budget. By the next week, they were off sale.

 

HTH some. I could use some more ideas too!! Keep them coming!!!

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We haven't done gifts for extended family in a couple years and this year, thanks to Pinterest, I'm going to making a few small things. So, my secret this year is Pinterest!

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We haven't done gifts for extended family in a couple years and this year, thanks to Pinterest, I'm going to making a few small things. So, my secret this year is Pinterest!

 

:iagree:I've made each family household on my dh's side a set of quilted cloth coasters! :) Thanks to the inspiration of Pinterest!

 

Pinterest also helped me find the idea to make AG doll clothing and AG doll beds for my girls dolls they are getting this year! :)

 

Allyson, The audio books idea is a good one!! My girls listen to audio books every evening for bed!

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Sounds kind of like something I should've been tooting about years ago! Sadly I wasn't. This year it's come to our attention that from here on out all things we do have to be on a budget.

 

This will be our first Christmas on a REAL budget. I panic'ed at first at the thought. Now that I've begun building the lists with the kids and bringing their "wants" and "needs" into reality with our budget it's actually kind of fun!!!!

 

What sort of things are you getting/doing this year to keep your Christmas gifting within a budget? Previous years I would spend $1,000 on Christmas without blinking! Now that's not even something we can think about. We have a SKINNY budget. This budget is requiring me to spend more time getting to know my kids on a different level. No more getting the hottest toy on the shelf, finding it on sale and rushing to buy it, wrap it, and be done. This year I'm really finding myself taking the time to create each gift specifically for THEM.

 

Have you started a list yet?

 

My number one thing that I'm finding to be a BLESSING to our budget Christmas is second-hand shops! WOW!

 

And for those that think I'm crazy for posting something about Christmas. Well it's 90 days until Christmas. I need that amount of time to create what I've got on my list for everyone. :D

 

We don't do Christmas on a budget. But we do do a very frugal Christmas most years.

 

Last year my kids wanted to do a Teddy Christmas, so we did.

(See post on that here: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/showthread.php?t=332775&highlight=Christmas) The year before we went to a free sale and got lots of 'crap' (For lack of a better word). Then wrapped up all the little things - about 50 and hid them around the house for a Christmas treasure hunt.

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The first thing I do is to make staples into presents. Both boys need pyjamas, so those become presents (from the dog, who - in family mythology - worries that we are cold because we are insufficiently furry). Not very exciting, but one more thing to open.

 

Both boys and Husband are also getting shirts from Lands' End - the boys wear school uniform a lot these days so I don't get them that many other clothes. LE was having a great clearance.

 

Husband needs some plants for his flat in London - I've found a deal where I can get £4 for £1 at an online plant nursery, so I'll be using that.

 

Beyond that: books are sometimes second hand (if it makes sense). And there are lots of cuddles.

 

Laura

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This year I want to go to the Dollar Tree and get a few white coffee mugs. The girls will decorate them with Sharpies and bake them in the oven to set the ink. Then I think we will put a little baggie of home made hot chocolate mix and a plastic spoon dipped in milk chocolate and rolled in sprinkles to stir it up with. The grandparents would love these.

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I'm not sure about cards this year yet or not. I will do ecards, but I have always sent snail mail cards and I don't know if we will do that or not this year.

 

I think you should ditch the cards and use the money for something else, whether it's a few extra gifts for the kids, or some special snacks to eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas, or whatever. Cards are expensive, and the postage has gotten absolutely crazy -- and if your cards happen to be even slightly over-sized, they cost even more money to mail!

 

I don't know how many people are on your card list, but definitely do the math before you decide to send cards out! (Maybe just send a few cards to folks like elderly friends and relatives who may not use email, but who you know would really appreciate receiving a card in the mail.)

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I think you should ditch the cards and use the money for something else, whether it's a few extra gifts for the kids, or some special snacks to eat on Christmas Eve or Christmas, or whatever. Cards are expensive, and the postage has gotten absolutely crazy -- and if your cards happen to be even slightly over-sized, they cost even more money to mail!

 

I don't know how many people are on your card list, but definitely do the math before you decide to send cards out! (Maybe just send a few cards to folks like elderly friends and relatives who may not use email, but who you know would really appreciate receiving a card in the mail.)

 

Yes, this is my thinking as well. Mother asked several years ago that we not send her any gifts. She said at her age (mid 80s), she already has all she needs and she doesn't want anything else to dust. But, she loves receiving cards so that is an absolute must. Same for some aunts/uncles. But, for the computer savy generation, it will be ecards. Last year, I sent out a bunch of cards but received less than 10. I think it is a reflection of the economy.

 

I remember as a child, we would get dozens and dozens of cards. It was such a joy for me to see them all displayed. Many had personalized handwritten Christmas letters too. Yes, the economy has changed a lot.

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