Jump to content

Menu

What do you do when there's NOTHING to spend on Christmas?


Jenny in GA
 Share

Recommended Posts

I can't be the only one with this problem ...

 

Without boring you with the details, we have recently assessed our money situation, done a careful budget, and realized we can -- maybe -- squeeze out $25 to spend on Christmas, for everything.

 

And that's actually being somewhat optimistic.

 

I already work on evenings and weekends, so taking on an extra job isn't something I can do. I mean, I'm already doing it.

 

And this is with old cars that are paid for, kids wearing nothing but hand-me-downs, shopping at Aldi's, kids in NO extra-curricular classes or activities, etc. In other words, it's not like we could come up with the money if we cut back extras. There are no extras. There is no money left over after things like food, gas, insurance, utilities, etc.

 

Anyway, if you've ever been in that situation ... what do you do for Christmas? Do you tell the kids, "Sorry, Santa's not coming for anyone this year?" Do you toss a candy cane in each kids' stocking and tell them Merry Christmas?

 

There's gotta be something better than telling the kids we have nothing and Christmas is canceled for the whole family. Any ideas? Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 121
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

If you lived around here, there is a charity that would fix you right up. You would register in advance, and show up on 12/20, and they would have three weeks of food in boxes, plus gently used clothing, plus a new gift and a gently used one for each of your children, plus a few 'family gifts' for you to choose from (bedding, handmade quilts, a nice jacket, that kind of thing) plus a gently used purse full of little surprises for mom.

 

I hope that there is something like that near you, a place where everyone just LOVES to give and where you and yours will be treated with dignity and respect and generosity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First of all, :grouphug: . I know that is not a fun place to be. I don't know how old your kids are, but I would search homemade gifts on Pinterest or elsewhere on the web. I know we made a bow and arrow set with floss and q-tips for my son a few weeks back and he played with it for hours. Do you sew? I got a free pattern online for a tote bag and just made one for my daughter using fabric I already had laying around the house. It is beautiful! I knit and have found tons of free patterns and used my leftover yarn to make the kids socks, stuffed animals, headbands, etc. If I were in your shoes, I'd be looking to be very creative this Christmas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Freecycle? I'd also put the word out to family and friends that we were in need and would be glad to fix up old toys and things for my kids' Christmas,

 

Keep in mind too that those angel tree things are for situations like this, and there is no shame in asking for help.

 

(do you have anything that you can sell to raise a bit of cash?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with freecycle. Dont ask for crazy stuff like brand new Ipads, but gently used puzzles, games, dolls, action figures. Maybe some Christmas pajamas... also, contact your church, ask if there's any programs. Ask the fire department too. Call WIC. Some you have to register way in advance for, some you don't.

 

find the threads where people are recycling and crafting for free or almost free.

 

Make sugar cookies (you probably have the ingredients in your pantry) homemade candies, etc..., put those in the stockings. Fill them up overflowing. Kids will be thrilled.

 

You can go to the library and check out christmas movies for free. Have a movie night, popcorn (made on the stove is free) and the kids will have great memories.

 

sledding (if you're up north) is free. so is riding bikes around to look at Christmas lights. (if not snowy/icy)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How old are your kids? That would help us w/ suggestions. Freecycle, Garage sales (go to them, and have one of your own). Check w/ Toys for Tots, Angel Tree's at walmart, Salvation Army, CASA (Idk what that would be called in your area, but you could check w/ child and family services). Check w/ your police dept or fire dept, sometimes they have blue santa programs, call the local school and ask if they know who to contact. Sometimes churches do the angel tree type things too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are there this year as well. After much thought, I realized...... would a no-present Christmas really be so bad? My children would be dissapointed, but as a family we would pull together and be fine, perhaps even closer.

We had a family talk and discussed the issue of no money, and no presents. We are gonna decorate the house and make cookies and do some cheap activities, but otherwise it will just be us celebrating the holidays and our family. I think we will appreciate each other more and perhaps get closer.

 

Maybe not, ask me after the holidays.

 

Lara

 

Not to make you feel bad or anything, we could possibly pull it out at the last minute like we always do (DH is self employed and somehow we always seem to find some money for Christmas) but I just don't want to worry and work that hard this year. I don't want to scour the sales and save every dime for more stuff. I don't want to waste the holiday time I have running around trying save money or find the perfect thing. I want to bake cookies for the neighbors and put up the outside lights and make a gingerbread house. I never have the time or money to do those things since I am always trying preserve every spare dime and minute for shopping. So this year I am choosing to not do presents, I will never have the money to buy the things the really want and deserve, so why try to just get them "something"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in this situation last year. Do look into local organizations, but they may be booked full up. What we ended up doing was skipping gifts for Mom and I and got a gift for the kid. Family sent gifts to her too, so it wasn't all horrible. The kid, in fact, did great. It was, however, very emotionally hard on me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our church has a giving tree, call the rectories and register. Also, in our town they have a gently used toy sale that has great finds for struggling families.

 

There is NOTHING wrong with getting stuff from a consignment store.

 

If Dh is handy, I've seen some amazing stuff on Pinterest made out of dumpster finds. Little kitchens made out of old furniture, repurposed stuff for dress ups, remade objects.

 

Focus more on the experience than the gifts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry I didn't mention that. They are 11, 9, and 6.

 

 

Boys, girls? Do you sew? , Or if you knit or crochet, scarves, hats, socks for all. If the 11 yo is a girl, you could make her a cute purse, a boy you could make a marshmallow gun out of pvc pipe, or if your dh has any lumber laying around he could make rubber band guns if you have boys, or doll furniture/houses for girls, or even cut out their initials and paint them cute to hang on their wall. Felt food or other felt play mats for the 6 yo. A special food item for their stocking that they almost never get is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boys, girls? Do you sew? , Or if you knit or crochet, scarves, hats, socks for all. If the 11 yo is a girl, you could make her a cute purse, a boy you could make a marshmallow gun out of pvc pipe, or if your dh has any lumber laying around he could make rubber band guns if you have boys, or doll furniture/houses for girls, or even cut out their initials and paint them cute to hang on their wall. Felt food or other felt play mats for the 6 yo. A special food item for their stocking that they almost never get is nice.

 

 

 

Ditto this. If you could use it, I have some yarn that was given to me that I won't use, I would happily mail it to you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another sort of practical idea.

What if you focussed on the decorations (that you already own) and made putting them up into a family ritual?

What if you told stories every evening?

What if you attended free concerts, and drove around looking at decorations, and went to extra church services, and participated in a living nativity? What if you did all you could to really, truly have a good time with all of this, like a game--how much fun can we have for free?

What if you read Jotham's Journey, or something similar, little by little every night together?

And lastly:

What if you said that this year you are giving gifts during the Epiphany season rather than during the 12 days of Christmas, and shopped the thrift stores the week after Christmas for toys for the kids? Around here there are thrift stores that are overflowing with new and almost new stuff for about 3 weeks after Christmas. I assume that kids donate their 'extras' or parents clear things out for the new stuff. Honestly, the quality is shockingly good. And Epiphany is 1/6 (celebrates the Wise Men bringing gifts to the Christ Child) and the Epiphany season lasts unti the day before Ash Wednesday, so it buys you some time. It's a great, traditional way to celebrate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are there this year as well. After much thought, I realized...... would a no-present Christmas really be so bad? My children would be dissapointed, but as a family we would pull together and be fine, perhaps even closer.

We had a family talk and discussed the issue of no money, and no presents. We are gonna decorate the house and make cookies and do some cheap activities, but otherwise it will just be us celebrating the holidays and our family. I think we will appreciate each other more and perhaps get closer.

 

Maybe not, ask me after the holidays.

 

Lara

 

Not to make you feel bad or anything, we could possibly pull it out at the last minute like we always do (DH is self employed and somehow we always seem to find some money for Christmas) but I just don't want to worry and work that hard this year. I don't want to scour the sales and save every dime for more stuff. I don't want to waste the holiday time I have running around trying save money or find the perfect thing. I want to bake cookies for the neighbors and put up the outside lights and make a gingerbread house. I never have the time or money to do those things since I am always trying preserve every spare dime and minute for shopping. So this year I am choosing to not do presents, I will never have the money to buy the things the really want and deserve, so why try to just get them "something"?

 

Are you sure your kids will be OK with that? It sounds like you don't want to be bothered doing presents because it's a nuisance trying to find bargains, but it honestly sounds like a bit of a cop-out on your part. I don't mean to sound harsh, but if your kids are accustomed to getting gifts, I think suddenly adopting a "no gift" policy might be very sad for them. I'm not saying you have to get them expensive stuff, but doing nothing because you'd rather bake cookies for the neighbors and put up outside lights sounds very selfish to me.

 

Also, by the time you pay for the cookie and gingerbread house ingredients and the electric bill for running those outside lights, you could have spent the money on a few gifts for your kids, or spent all that time making some presents for them.

 

I apologize if I sound mean, but unless you're sure your kids truly don't want Christmas gifts, I feel sorry for them. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could turn Christmas into a focus on activities together as a family rather than on things. Put up Christmas decorations you already own (everybody helps). Play Christmas music (our library has a great selection for free -- same with Christmas movies). Make paper snowflakes to put up in your windows. Bake cookies together. Go carolling in your neighbourhood or at a nursing home. Go for walks together after dinner in moonlight. Come home for hot chocolate after. Read aloud together by candlelight in the evenings. Have a family pyjama party and sleepover one night in a room where you have decorations set up. Have everyone dress in costume for dinner one night using things from around the house (kids can wear mom/dad's clothes or accessories). Eat a silly dinner using kitchen utensils instead of cutlery (Have you ever tried to eat a meal using a ladle or tongs? It's hard!)

 

The point is, you want to make the season memorable and filled with love. If it isn't too late you may also wish to look into an adopt-a-family type of Christmas program where each of your children could receive a gift.

 

One activity we did as a family many years ago was to volunteer to serve Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen. It is one of the Christmases I remember the most. I'm not sure if 6 would be too young for something like that -- it would depend on your child.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I had $25 for Christmas this year, I think I'd buy the supplies to get set up with Letterboxing. We'd spend Christmas morning making our stamps, then head out to find the nearest letterboxes for the rest of the day. You might start a life-long hobby for your kids.

 

:grouphug: Sorry things are so tight for you right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you sure your kids will be OK with that? It sounds like you don't want to be bothered doing presents because it's a nuisance trying to find bargains, but it honestly sounds like a bit of a cop-out on your part. I don't mean to sound harsh, but if your kids are accustomed to getting gifts, I think suddenly adopting a "no gift" policy might be very sad for them. I'm not saying you have to get them expensive stuff, but doing nothing because you'd rather bake cookies for the neighbors and put up outside lights sounds very selfish to me.

 

Also, by the time you pay for the cookie and gingerbread house ingredients and the electric bill for running those outside lights, you could have spent the money on a few gifts for your kids, or spent all that time making some presents for them.

 

I apologize if I sound mean, but unless you're sure your kids truly don't want Christmas gifts, I feel sorry for them. :(

 

OUCH! a bit judgmental there! Its a bit of a stretch to suggest that her children will be devastated by not getting more "stuff" when maybe more activities, more real TIME, more experiences would be far more needed/wanted than a few cheap toys!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made a post about our no-gift Christmas plan that we did last year and will this year as well on my blog here- http://homeschoolingwiththekvenvoldens.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-about-radical-christmas-this-year.html

 

This probably won't be meaningful if you aren't a Christian, but if you are, maybe that can put things into perspective, particularly check out the Ann Voscamp article i linked to and the Advent conspiracy video!!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have not had enough money to buy Christmas presents for my children or other family members for going on five years now.

 

We are always with my parents on Christmas morning and they drop a small fortune on my kids at Christmas, so they never notice that Mommy/Daddy never buy them anything. We do Santa Claus, so the presents aren't even labelled as being from my parents either.

 

This year however, due to circumstances beyond our control, we will be at home on Christmas morning. My mom is shipping down all of the presents she bought the kids so they will have something to open on Christmas morning. If she didn't do this, then they would have one present each worth about $10 because that is all we can afford.

 

Could your family send the Christmas presents they bought to you so they have something?

 

I've never felt comfortable going to charities or churches asking someone to buy presents for my children. We are so, so blessed compared to so many others out there. Plus my husband IS a minister, but we just don't have money for any extras in our budget. None.

 

:grouphug: because I understand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This year I have no way of buying gifts, I don't have 2 nickels to rub together so even bargains and $ store are out of reach. I ended up applying for santa's anonymous which gives 1 gift per kid and a food hamper. Those will be their santa gifts. I have spoken to the kids honestly about our situation this year and they know they will each get something from me in the new year when I can get it. They will get coupons or something under the tree but the fact is there just is no way to squeeze blood from a stone, there is no way to make more to buy gifts this year. The kids have been fine with this knowledge. Christmas is not about the gifts, and they seem to understand that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are on a pretty tight budget this year as well. For stocking stuffers the kids will each get homemade playdough (each child gets their own color), homemade juggling balls (shown here), homemade candies (usually peanut butter cups and chocolate covered cherries), my daughter will be getting some of these headbands, and we are all going to make coupon books for eachother for special things (like 1 free movie night- you pick the movie). Everything else I am not putting in their stocking is also going to be homemade and can be found on my Pinterest board. I am trying to add in extra special things this year too like reading a different Christmas picture book every night, going on a driving Christmas lights scavenger hunt (ex. find a house decorated with only green lights), making several Christmas crafts for grandparents and others, and we are starting a new tradition this year call the 12 Days of Christmas treats where we will spend the first 12 days of December making a different cookie so we have some fun treats for the holidays. Christmas can be done on a budget- it really is not all about the presents. I asked my kids the other day what they remembered from last Christmas and the only things they remembered were the homemade treats in their stockings and the crafts we did together. New toys don't make the best Christmas memories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OUCH! a bit judgmental there! Its a bit of a stretch to suggest that her children will be devastated by not getting more "stuff" when maybe more activities, more real TIME, more experiences would be far more needed/wanted than a few cheap toys!!

 

Yes, I was definitely being judgmental.

 

When I started reading her post, I was thinking that she was trying to start a new family tradition or something, but then it started to sound like it was all about her and what was most convenient for her:

 

Not to make you feel bad or anything, we could possibly pull it out at the last minute like we always do (DH is self employed and somehow we always seem to find some money for Christmas) but I just don't want to worry and work that hard this year. I don't want to scour the sales and save every dime for more stuff. I don't want to waste the holiday time I have running around trying save money or find the perfect thing. I want to bake cookies for the neighbors and put up the outside lights and make a gingerbread house. I never have the time or money to do those things since I am always trying preserve every spare dime and minute for shopping.

 

My feeling is that buying or making a few gifts for the kids is more important than baking cookies for the neighbors or spending the money to run a bunch of outside lights. I realize that you and she feel differently, but I thought her post came across as being all about her and what she wanted to do, rather than being all about her kids and what would make them happy. (And I honestly have a hard time believing that her kids will be thrilled at not getting any Christmas gifts this year, when they have always received them in the past.)

 

Additionally, it's not about "a few cheap toys." It's about trying to buy or make something special to make your kids happy.

 

I realize that we're going to have to agree to disagree on this, because at our house, it's all about tons of gifts, lots of great food, and having a lot of fun as a family, and I have a feeling that your idea of a great Christmas is nothing like ours. As long as your family is happy and mine is happy, it's all good. I was just concerned about Lara's decision to suddenly go "cold turkey" on the gifts, rather than easing into it over a few years.

 

EDITED TO ADD: Lara, I just realized that I probably completely misinterpreted your post, and I'm very sorry. I didn't want to go back and delete my posts because I always think it's cowardly when people do that, so I'll leave them as they were and let you know that I was having a lousy day because something very hurtful happened to a friend of mine today, and I just wasn't thinking of your feelings when I posted. I truly am sorry. :grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry that you are struggling. Dh was laid off one year and our family came through for Christmas for our oldest. If family is not an option then I would check into different organizations around town that help families at Christmastime.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't be the only one with this problem ...

 

Without boring you with the details, we have recently assessed our money situation, done a careful budget, and realized we can -- maybe -- squeeze out $25 to spend on Christmas, for everything.

 

And that's actually being somewhat optimistic.

 

I already work on evenings and weekends, so taking on an extra job isn't something I can do. I mean, I'm already doing it.

 

And this is with old cars that are paid for, kids wearing nothing but hand-me-downs, shopping at Aldi's, kids in NO extra-curricular classes or activities, etc. In other words, it's not like we could come up with the money if we cut back extras. There are no extras. There is no money left over after things like food, gas, insurance, utilities, etc.

 

Anyway, if you've ever been in that situation ... what do you do for Christmas? Do you tell the kids, "Sorry, Santa's not coming for anyone this year?" Do you toss a candy cane in each kids' stocking and tell them Merry Christmas?

 

There's gotta be something better than telling the kids we have nothing and Christmas is canceled for the whole family. Any ideas? Thanks!

 

 

 

I hate reading posts like yours because there is nothing I can do about it living international. If you lived nearby I would adopt your kids for Christmas and get them gifts.

 

The only thing I can think of is garage sales and thrift stores.

 

I also recommend this website http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/ The writer never has any money for Christmas and has 7 kids - she has a lot of great ideas of how to make something out of nothing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I had $25 for Christmas this year, I think I'd buy the supplies to get set up with Letterboxing. We'd spend Christmas morning making our stamps, then head out to find the nearest letterboxes for the rest of the day. You might start a life-long hobby for your kids.

 

:grouphug: Sorry things are so tight for you right now.

 

I have never heard of this before! I have been perusing their website and totally want to do this with my kids! How fun! Thanks for posting this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was us last year.....this year will be similar (it always is....have I mentioned that I CANNOT wait for DH to be done with school???), but (hopefully) not quite as bad. I would see if there are any organizations still taking names. We were too late last year. It's amazing how early they start. Check with churches and do a search online. Our Christmas last year was saved because people opened their hearts and shared incredible generousity with us. I will never forget it.

 

Anyway.....beyond that, I've been checking Pinterest daily for cheap/easy gifts that maybe appear to be more than they really cost. This is how I plan to save Christmas this year :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was us last year.....this year will be similar (it always is....have I mentioned that I CANNOT wait for DH to be done with school???), but (hopefully) not quite as bad. I would see if there are any organizations still taking names. We were too late last year. It's amazing how early they start. Check with churches and do a search online. Our Christmas last year was saved because people opened their hearts and shared incredible generousity with us. I will never forget it.

 

Anyway.....beyond that, I've been checking Pinterest daily for cheap/easy gifts that maybe appear to be more than they really cost. This is how I plan to save Christmas this year :)

wish I could do stuff like this. Being 1 handed, crafts, etc are out.

 

Bah.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK. I just skimmed the replies, but here's mine. We've had a "no Christmas present Christmas" twice. In fact, we're probably having one this year...or it's going to be a February Christmas. Anyway, don't do what I did the first year. On Christmas Day, I cried in the bathroom for like 2 hours. :glare: DON'T do that. Also, you have to tell your kids that it's going to be Christmas-present-lite this year. My kids are 11, 9, 7 and 5 and they understand. In fact, they know all about what's going on this year and they don't seem to care. The first time, I just told them that we were very lucky to have a nice, safe place to live...we can still spend time together on that day...etc (the company my husband worked for had completely went under and they laid off over 2,000 employees). This year, I'm probably going to take them to the beach (we live in Texas - LOL) or go on a hike. Our family is huge into the outdoors, so my kids would rather be on a trail or combing a beach than anywhere else in the world.

 

If we were going to have a no-presents-at-all-Christmas, I would try to get them something they could open...coupons to do something special...a special treat, cookies or something. Since our Christmas is probably just delayed this year, I'm not going to get them anything for Christmas Day. They can wait.

 

I feel bad even posting this. I hope I don't sound like a child abuser or neglectful or something. This year, I'm finally selling our house that we had to leave 3 years ago, because the economy back home is completely trashed. We close on Dec 20th and we're underwater on our mortgage. I have to bring a GIGANTIC sum of money to closing. Our kids know all about what's going on (they even helped me drive up there and get the house ready to go on the market), so they know this is in our family's best interest - longterm. Our family will be ditching a huge amount of debt on Dec 20th.

 

So, anyway, my thoughts...

 

coupon book for doing some special stuff together

get out of the house that day (unless you live somewhere where there's 200 feet of snow outside)

make a special treat/cookies with them if you can

read a ton of library books with them (that's the homeschooler in me speaking)

go to church service (if you're religious)

spend time together as a family

look for Christmas lights if possible (our neighborhood is covered in them)

 

I hope something out of there helped. It is a really difficult subject to talk about and it's a difficult time with all the advertisement everywhere, school parties, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would totally come over and be your hands if I could!

 

I won't be able to "pay it forward" (for last year) any time soon.....it would sure feel good to help someone else out in a way that I actually CAN.

 

We had a cpl of good yrs, and did 'pay it forward', btwn Wolf volunteering and donating. Being back in this spot sucks, hard.

 

Def a 'better give than to receive' moment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have a fb account. I would announce to close friends that may be going through their kids toy chests that you would take any gently used toys that they plan to just throw away. Also, I always make fillers of coloring books, hair brushes, chapsticks, etc.. from the dollar store?

 

I would be tempted to build an out door fort, etc.. out of tree branches in the back yard, etc..

 

Many :grouphug: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a cpl of good yrs, and did 'pay it forward', btwn Wolf volunteering and donating. Being back in this spot sucks, hard.

 

Def a 'better give than to receive' moment.

 

 

I look forward to the day I can. We volunteer a lot and try to do things for others that don't cost anything. My kids look forward to it. HOWEVER, there is just nothing like making others feel the way we felt last year......and some year....some day....I will.

 

OP - We have about $25/kid to spend. I plan to split it up so they have more than 1 thing to open. We will be doing cookies/baking with what we have on hand, but jazzed up via Pinterest :) Beyond that, I plan to read a lot of books, and spend a lot of time playing games together. I also really like the idea of the coupon books. I may add that to my list for the year :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH was just laid off and we are still trying to scramble to pay rent, last months electricity, etc. I'm sure we will find a way, but I'm really stressed right now. Making gifts is a great idea, but even that costs money because you usually don't have everything on hand! Even baking can add up if you are on a strict grocery budget like we are.

 

Do you have anything to sell? We are looking at putting together some scrap metal loads, DH will cut firewood, and I'm going to list some things to sell to hopefully make a little extra. I think not doing anything at all could end up with bad memories and feelings. I know we don't ever buy for anyone other than our 4 children and not even for each other. This year will be the same. We also do not have the luxery of a family member stepping in to help. THey usually get a gift each from a grandparent and a gift from one of the great aunts and an outfit from my cousin. That is about the extent of family gifts so we don't even make up in that area like most families. :hugs:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What genders are your kids? What are their interests? Do you sew or craft in any way?

 

When we've been really broke, I've made a lot of gifts for our kids. I've sewn personalized pajamas for each kid, with a matching set for a favorite doll or stuffed animal, for example. I always make each kid an ornament for the tree. I've made cute pillowcases, throw pillows for their rooms, etc. That kind of stuff can often be pulled together using mostly odds and ends I have in the craft box.

 

Do you live in a cold climate? If so, I'd think you could make scarves in favorite colors with very little fabric or effort.

 

Another idea that popped into my head, maybe for your little one? I did this for a birthday party, but it could certainly be a gift, too. I made a bean bag toss game using a sturdy cardboard box, some paint and glue and construction paper. I figured out which way the box stood up best, then cut a few holes in what would be the "front." I decorated it to match our party theme. (In this case, we were having a Peter Pan party, and I painted and collaged a crocodile with an open mouth.) Then, I made a few bean bags using felt and stuffed them with dry rice. (Again, to go with the party theme, I used a Sharpie to draw a clock face on each one, but that was just part of our specific theming.) I think the entire project was done using stuff I had sitting around the house.

 

One of the years we were working with a really tight budget also happened to be the year my daughter was loving reading the Little House books. So, I made her a stocking stuffed with items mentioned in or inspired by the description of the Ingalls family's Christmas. I made her a couple of little heart-shaped cakes sprinkled with sugar, a simple, small doll made of yarn, that kind of thing. She loved it, and it cost almost nothing.

 

There are tons of free coloring pages all over the internet (paper dolls, too), as well as craft patterns. When my kids were little, one of my favorite sites for this kind of thing was this one: http://www.dltk-kids.com/ I'm wondering if you could pick a few printable coloring pages or paper crafts that might appeal to your younger kids and put together little "kits" of dollar store supplies? Even some cute coloring pages and a box of crayons or colored pencils tied with a pretty ribbon might make a nice stocking stuffer.

 

If it were me, I'd begin by combing through any supplies I had on hand and brainstorm what I could make with those or with those and the addition of a few cheap items. Then, I'd take the $25 and use it to buy whatever supplies I needed to finish one or two projects per kid and ingredients for some edible treats with which to fill stockings.

 

I'd also have a heart-to-heart with each child, at whatever level you think each one can handle, explaining that it will be a simple holiday this year. We've never "done" Santa with our kids, and I don't have any advice about how to handle that aspect. But I would certainly want to make sure and lower expectations, gently, so they won't be caught by surprise on Christmas morning.

 

I love this kind of challenge. So, if you'd like to post more specifics about your kids interests (favorite books, hobbies, favorite colors, etc.) and what kind of supplies you might have on hand, I'll be happy to help brainstorm.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've found great stuff at the Salvation Army store lately. I don't know if that will continue until Christmas, but check back often if you can! We've bought like-new games and action figures and could probably get something nice for everyone for under $25 and then some inexpensive candy. You could do a stocking only Christmas, too, if that helps. For some reason our kids would rather give up the "big" stuff than the stockings! lol

 

I also second the idea of asking at a local church for assistance! We've had to accept the help a few times; many years we've been able to be the ones helping. :) It's completely private and there is nothing wrong with asking!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love that someone already mentioned letterboxing... I was talking about your post with my kids tonight in the car and that is the first thing they brought up! We have letterboxed on and off and it is a lot of fun.

Also love the idea of driving around with Christmas music on the radio to look at Christmas lights. You could make it fun and bring a small batch of Christmas cookies along for the ride.

 

My kids have always made gifts for each other, and they are the most treasured and memorable. They have never been expensive... and once we started the tradition they have not ever wanted to stop. I hope they continue with it long, long into their adulthoods. :) Some really inexpensive have been: Hogwarts house striped scarves, handknitted by 10yo's, beautiful tissue paper and popsicle stick lanterns for 14yo sis, polarfleece pillows, beaded earrings, rings, etc. ---- pming you some things I can share. I wish so much I knew how to use this forum better... I would link stuff!!

 

Some things we can do for free around our town:

 

The local uni has a really, really good music school and they do a Messiah sing. Like, the entire place sings! The chorus, the audience, everyone. Even if you didn't stay for the whole thing it would be an experience. Maybe there's one by you.

 

I play in a community band and we give a free holiday concert with a visit from Santa. He's a fantastic Santa, too. I would start looking around now, because these concerts are usually the second or third week of Dec.

 

The local astronomy club hosts "Dark Sky NIghts" at the county park. We are members now because we showed up at one of these nights. The members haul a bunch of (impressive!) telescopes into a field and proceed to give a free show and tell... they love the telling part... for any interested warm body in the vicinity. It's a wonderful way to spend a frosty night outside and maybe spark an interest in astronomy.

 

If you could put a few free events like this on your December calendar, it would feel like a very special month!

 

HTH

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You got some great responses here, but your situation reminded me of a poem I read years ago and have always thought of when considering Christmas, especially when thinking about budgets and children. Here it is, and perhaps it will help your heart, despite the lack of funds.

 

Christmas really isn't about toys,

However much we love them, young and old.

Reductions in the fat of Christmas day

In time restore its vigor and its health.

So let us not display our absent wealth,

Though children should have ample chance to play.

More sweet and joyous music must be sung,

And thoughts of peace and mercy make their way

Silent and uncluttered through the noise.

 

by Nicholas Gordon

 

Blessings to you and yours this Christmas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish we had a WTM boards adopt a family thing here for families who will have no Christmas without it. Has anyone had any experience organizing something like this? I would love to participate. All of my gifts would be homemade (because we are flat broke 90% of the time) but I think I am pretty crafty, have a huge stash of fabrics and such and could give some pretty great stuff. Anyone want to organize this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wish we had a WTM boards adopt a family thing here for families who will have no Christmas without it. Has anyone had any experience organizing something like this? I would love to participate. All of my gifts would be homemade (because we are flat broke 90% of the time) but I think I am pretty crafty, have a huge stash of fabrics and such and could give some pretty great stuff. Anyone want to organize this?

 

This is an AMAZING idea......not sure how to pull it off though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...