So it is unavoidable, the season will soon be upon us, and this year, we are coming undone from years of Christmas preparations past. I want to share ways we are preparing this year. Maybe we can help each other.
These are our two children, the reason we decorate for Christmas and try to make it special each year. Our plans start with them and then we evaluate what if anything we are going to do for anyone else. There have been years my husband and I do not exchange. This year, we are trying to combine some new items with other home made items for our kids, friends and family. The blog world has been so instrumental in this. I have seen some great ideas, that I cannot wait to use. We will also be using some things we already have to come up with what I hope will be some great gift ideas i hope to share.
Over at www.flylady.net there is something she calls a Holiday Control Journal that is free to download to assist you with making your plans. She also has some ideas for Holiday Cruising Missions. The idea is to help you prepare for the upcoming holiday season so you are not out doing anything last minute.
Also Brandy over at www.theprudenthomemaker.com has some great posts on a gift a day, and there are some other postings if you search on her site doing Christmas on a zero dollar budget along with some other things.
Have you set your Christmas shopping budget yet? My husband and I did the other day. We have said from last week forward our shopping budget is $110. Now to be clear I did seperately spend over the summer and during my son's school fundraiser a seperate 40.00. About 30.00 was spent to support our son's schools fundraising efforts. We purchased seasonal calendars for each of the grandparents, you can put family photos in them for each month. Now if you want to do something like this though, and your budget is tight, one year we did this by going to Michael's and we purchased from the baskets by the register photo calendars for $1.00 each. We only did it this way this year because at the time we had the money and we wanted to support our son's school. The other 10.00 was spent over the summer supporting a friend who was trying to start her own business and I purchased my husband some special meaninful ornaments that were 5.00 each from At Home when they were still in business and having a Flash Sale. These will be from our children to him. (remember he already got his motorcycle a month or two ago) So all together I expect our total shopping to clost 160.00 for the season.
We are not mailing Christmas cards, we will send electronic ones free through email!
My tips for photo printing....sometimes shutterfly offers 101 free prints, and Walgreens does too. That is how I got the pictures we used. Walgreens had 25 free prints, and Shutterfly offered the 101...So I paid only $2.50 shipping form Shutterfly for pictures that will make gifts for grandparents and 12 other families/friends. Watch your flyers get cheaper prices, don't settle for the .33 prints at Walmart unless you really have to. If you don't have money for new prints....look through the pictures you have from years past can you be creative with those?
No credit cards will be used, we won't still be paying for it in the Spring. I did not include consumable gifts in this budget because all food gifts will be made from items we already have stocked in the pantry we built over the summer by following examples over at blissful and domestic, and the prudent homemaker.
My kids have 15 cousins and each year Mr. B hosts a cookie baking party, so we usually make a little home made gift for each of them or purchase something really inexpensive. There are so many of them now that the gifts have to be homemade. We are doing this http://www.makeandtakes.com/easy-homemade-microwave-popcorn but my kids will be drawing Christmas pictures and messages on the bags, and we will tie a bottle of popcorn seasoning to each set with ribbon. We will probably do two microwaveable bags per kid. The ones that are too small for popcorn will get homemade playdough. I already have all the stuff to do each of these in our pantry. We will also make some sort of ornament that will share a gospel message for each of them. Last year we did salt dough crosses with John 3:16 cards, this year they will probably be paper ornaments.
Feel free to share what you do. I love to see your comments. I don't know if we will have a fancy Christmas dinner. My husband can't travel because of his towing job, we may do a pre Christmas dinner with the grandparents, but I think it will be tacos! A big Christmas dinner for just the 4 of us would be crazy.
As you can see, I am not quite done with my planning. I can say though, that it is November 8th, and I have completed 2 of my Christmas projects (photo calendars). We had a friend that works at Walmart purchase the new items we wanted for each of our kids using her discount. (hey a penny saved is a penny earned) and I did purchase my husband a new wedding band for $7.00 at www.nomorerack.com It was a high polish titanium band with a small stone in the middle since we recently celebrated 15 years. We will also this weekend be doing a home made photo shoot during my daughter's birthday party. Last year my bestie (at the time) spent days right before Christmas baking, and making our photo gifts. It was just 4 days straight of non stop activities. We were miserable. Here is to coming undone!!! (raise of coffee mug for a toast)
Hope you are having a great week!