I have been slowly procuring Christmas gifts since sometime in September. I wanted to take advantage of some sales, but I also wanted to spread out the cost a little bit.
Since I’m not working and our budget is very tight, we’re not spending as much on the holidays this year. We won’t be participating in a couple of the grab bags our families host. We’re not doing stockings. (Although, I have a friend who, I think, is doing something rather brilliant with their stockings. They put stuff you need but don’t buy on a regular basis, like underwear, socks and deodorant, in the adult stockings and fruit in the kids’ stockings. Love it!) Our budget for the kids is $30 each, and our budget for immediate family is around $10 each. We’re buying a lot of books this year because you can find pretty much anything on Amazon for around $10, or you can buy used from Half Price Books or eBay. I’ll also be trying my hand at making lip balm!
We weren’t going to do a card this year because they can be so expensive once you factor in postage and everything. However, I received some offers from Shutterfly that will make it almost free. (Seriously, if you don’t mind the promotional emails or you have a separate account for junk email, sign up at sites like Jo-Ann’s, Fisher Price, Similac, etc. and Shutterfly will throw you free stuff all the time! Since last month alone, I’ve gotten a free photo book and two $20 redemption codes.)
As far as decking our halls goes, I’ve spent a fair amount of time scouring Jo-Ann’s for deals and making things at home. I found festive (and cheap) fabric to cover our pillows and to make a blanket. If you are interested in something like that but don’t have a sewing machine, there are several no-sew options on Pinterest. I also got a great deal on a paper stars kit. I plan on hanging them over the dining room table. I tend to have a bit more holiday spirit when the house is decorated, so I was really excited by these inexpensive finds!
The only thing I’m a bit apprehensive about is the cost of food. My mom’s side of the family has a huge party on Christmas Eve. Everyone brings an appetizer or dessert instead of sticking the host with providing a full dinner. It works great but can get expensive depending on what you plan to contribute. This year, I’m bringing mac ‘n cheese cups. David and I just got a Sam’s Club membership (so we can buy in bulk). I’m hoping I can find the noodles and shredded cheese there for a good price. I don’t want to spend a million dollars on the ingredients, really.
It’s this kind of thing that I typically don’t think about ahead of time that gets me in trouble. All those little things (appetizers, stamps, hostess gifts, ribbon, tags, etc.) add up! Speaking of wrapping materials, if you have access to one, IKEA has some great paper, ribbon, boxes, and tags for nice, low prices.
Happy Holidays, friends! May you find great deals and enjoy the time off with your family!