Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Christmas is coming...

While I was at Walgreen's recently, they were consolidating the Halloween aisle to put up Christmas stuff on the other side. Crazy! Christmas can be a time of stress for many families trying to fulfill all of their gift giving criteria and make Christmas memorable for their families all while not going into debt. There are so many ways to save money while turning the focus back on the meaning of the holiday itself - the birth of the Saviour Jesus Christ. Here are just a few of the things that we have done to accomplish this:
  1. Shop Early - I mean really early, as in after Christmas sales! I know it is too late for this now, but plan for next year. Toys always go on sale after Christmas, so I purchase toys for my kids a year ahead of time. I always buy extras for Birthday gifts throughout the year as well. In fact, I was done with the shopping for my kids in January! You can also pick up awesome deals on Christmas decorations, sometimes up to 90% off. I always pick up a few things to give as gifts the following Christmas, or to have on hand for an unexpected guest who happens to bring by a gift...

  2. Celebrate Traditions - We have a lot of Christmas traditions in our family and it fosters a spirit of unity and love. When we have Christmas Eve with my husband's side, we go caroling on Christmas Eve (I used to hate this when we first go married, but it is growing on me :)). My side of the family has someone memorize the Christmas Story in Luke each year and repeat it at our Christmas Eve get together. The person who does it then challenges someone for the following year.

  3. Minimize Gifts - For the last few years, we have started gift exchanges on both sides of the family. We are given a $50.00 limit and draw the name of one family (now that there are no kids at home) to purchase gifts for. It is fun to see how creative we can be with our $50.00. We also usually draw early, so we have a long time to shop. This limits all the craziness of trying to shop for my 5 brother and sisters and their spouses and kids as well as my husband's 3 brothers and sisters and their spouses and kids. I just get cross eyed thinking about shopping for that many people!

  4. Be Creative - Look at your stockpile! Is there anything you can give as a gift? Make a fun gift basket of toiletries for a newlywed couple still in school. Put together a gift basket of pasta, spaghetti sauce, and put it in a colander that you get from the $1.00 store add other fun things like garlic, etc. Put together a coupon book for family members, offer a free home cooked meal, free babysitting, run errands for a day for them, take their kids overnight, etc., etc., etc. Match the coupon to what the recipient would want most. A little creativity goes a long way!

  5. Realize you can't do everything! I'm serious, you can't and it's okay. Choose the things that are most important to you and your family and focus on those. So what if you don't make 4 kinds of fudge or every kind of candy or goody. Your family will love you anyway!

These are just a few ideas of ways to make the season special, while being frugal. What about you? What do you do? Please leave a comment!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We save all year for Christmas so we don't have to come up with all the money at once and don't have to take it out of savings. Credit Unions have accounts set up specifically for this.

Out of this budget we buy gifts, take family pictures, and use it for Christmas Dinner which adds to expenses. If I'm ever tempted to NOT contribute this during the months prior to Christmas I remind myself that shaving $20 off my budget this paycheck is much easier then coming up with extra money at Christmas.

We also shop all year long like you do. If we see a good deal we pick it up when we can. This doesn't come out of the budget. This year I got a "free" shutterfly book for my mom . . . I just had to pay shipping.

I always buy my tags, ribbon, and wrapping paper for the next year the week after Christams. You get great stuff for a fraction of the cost. I LOVE shiny paper and can only afford it when they are giving it away!!

This year for VT & HT families we were thinking of putting together goodie baskets of free or almost free stuff we've acquired thru the year. (Popcorn, buddy bars, candy, character band-aides, granola bars etc.)


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