Have Yourself a More Frugal and Less Stressful Christmas
If you’ve been shopping anywhere recently, then you know it’s time to start thinking about the holidays already. And let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful….on so many different levels, but that’s another story. So here are some tips to help you forego financial stress and have a more frugal and less stressful Christmas this year.
Gift Giving. Who, what and how much? These are the questions to ask yourself.
Get a small notebook to use as your Holiday Notebook and jot down the names of each and every friend, family member, or coworker that you need to get a gift for this year. Plus, be sure to put a page at the end for those ‘extra’ gifts in case you end up being invited to a party and need a little something to take along.
Under each person’s name write a few things that you know they like, followed by any gifts that you’ve given them in the past that you know they really enjoyed. Also pencil in a few gifts that you can think of off the top of your head that you could get or make for them this year, and the approximate cost of each.
Here are some sample entries.
Trains, old records, bugs bunny, raspberry anything, decaf tea. (Can’t have chocolate)
Always wears a tweety bird shirt the kids got him.
This year’s ideas. All homemade.
Fleece Blanket with trains or bugs bunny type cartoon on it. (about $10)
Sweatshirt the kids paint with train or with iron on we make. (about $8)
2 Pillowcases with anything he likes on them. (about $10)
Brian’s coworkers (6)
This year’s ideas.
Separate gifts for each. Candle ($5 each), homemade jar of jam or applesauce
Group gift. Tin of pretzels or popcorn ($15). Basket of coffees, teas, crackers, chips to be enjoyed at work. (Watch for sales. $20)
This notebook won’t take you too long to do, and it will give you a quick idea of how much you would be spending so you can modify gifts if you need to spend less. Plus you can then make a list of anything you need to buy, and watch for sales on those items.
Decorating What, Where and Why?
In all that fervor of gift giving expense, don’t forget the decorating. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who are totally happy with your decorations and don’t need one new thing this year, but if you’re not, here are some things to consider.
Put another page in that Christmas Notebook and list what items you’ll need for decorating.
Need lights? Outdoor or indoor? Write it down now and watch for sales leading up to the holidays.
If you’re thinking homemade, will you string popcorn or let the kids make a paper chain garland for on the tree or fireplace mantle? And perhaps you’d like to try making some salt dough or cinnamon applesauce ornaments for on your tree. (these also make great gifts)
Or go Natural decorating. If you have access to any pine or spruce trees, holly, arborvitae, or any other evergreen plant, get out the clippers and get a box full of branches.
Bunch a few branches together and tie with a piece of wire at the stick end, then tie a bow to cover the ends and hang it on your door. Put some greens in baskets or clay pots and add a pinecone or ornament and a bow around the rim and set it on a table fireplace or at the front door. Evergreens will last for weeks inside without water.
Gift Wrapping What and How?
Decide on what you’ll be using this year and you can start watching for good deals on those items asap.
Will you use ready made wrapping paper, or go with something homemade?
If going homemade you can use plain brown or white craft paper and then decorate with a ribbon or recycled fabric bow (link to kidoozy blog). Or you can have the kids stencil or paint designs on it. A simple natural idea is to glue a small branch of greenery and a pinecone on the packages once they’re wrapped.
You could forego paper altogether if you have some old sheets or curtains in neutral colors. Wrap them around the gift, bunch it at the top and tie on a red or green bow.
For peel and stick gift tags you can use white address labels printed on your computer with a little clipart picture on the side and the To and From Lines next to it. Or forget the computer and give the kids something to do and have them draw a little ornament or tree and write the To and From.
Don’t have any labels around, then use some old Christmas cards from Christmas past and cut out nice pictures and use those as your gift tags.
Some General Tips
Once you have your separate sections in your Holiday Notebook, make a list of all the things that you’ll need to buy for your gifts, decorating, and wrapping. With your list handy, you’ll always be able to keep your eyes open for sales and great deals in the coming weeks.
Check off each item as you buy them and be sure to write in the price so that you don’t go over your budget in any areas.
Keep your Holiday Notebook handy so when you have a great idea for a gift or decoration you can mark it down immediately.
Find an area in a closet or basement where you can keep a box to keep all your holiday items as you buy them that way when you need everything you’ll know just where to find it.