can you believe it! Christmas is next week! i still haven't wrapped a single gift, but i do have things out and ready to be wrapped. i thought i would wrap as we watched survivor(which we tivo'd), but i just vegged while we watched. i've been fighting a cold, so i just relaxed. we were happy with the ending of survivor by the way! i wanted bob or matty. and i ended up liking sugar. corinne and randy-unbelievable. i'll leave it at that.
i have been looking forward to this list for a week or so now. i hope it inspires.
the *b* list of thrifty ideas:
1. make it. if i see something in the way of Christmas decor that i like, i will always ask myself if i could make it, before i buy it. a lot of the things i have up, were things that i've made over the years. our stockings were made from an old red/white quilt i bought back when you could buy old ratty quilts for next to nothing. i still find a cutting quilt at an estate sale here and there, for very little. the stamped tag ornaments on our tree, the advent calendars, the bookscape on the mantel, most of our Christmas pillows (from when i did cross-stitch), and i'm sure there are other things i'm not thinking of right now. i already have a couple of ideas for next year, one is for a wreath and the other is with Christmas photos. i keep a Christmas idea notebook, so i need to add them before i forget!
2 day after Christmas sales. this is probably my number one favorite thrifty idea. i almost always shop the day after sales. i pick up wrapping paper, holiday CDs, ornaments, and last year we purchased our first artificial tree (that i love!) one of the best parts about it, is when you get ready to decorate the next season, it's like Christmas unwrapping all the items you bought and forgot about after Christmas. i bought about a dozen glitter frame ornaments at target last year-
i also bought glittery snowflake ornaments in bulk after Christmas to use on packages this year. i very rarely ever pay full price for any Christmas wrap or decor, unless it's something one of a kind that i can't live without!
i fell in love with this little pink house at one of my favorite little boutiques last year before Christmas, but took my chances and waited until after Christmas, and was able to pick it up for half price! i did have to arm wrestle another shopper for it, but in the end, it was mine :)
3. watch pricing. last night we ran out to the grocery store, just to buy the ingredients for fudge. i went to grab the toll house chocolate chips and noticed that one 12 ounce bag was over $5! i looked around on the shelves and found the same brand, same size bag, in chunks rather than chips and it was literally half the price! the batch of fudge i was going to make would have been over $20 if i hadn't noticed the price of chocolate. crazy! i do always try to be aware of pricing, whether it's for the ingredients for our special holiday treats or gifts we're buying. (more on that when i get to #6.
4 barter. i love bartering. i have bartered photos for haircuts/color, one of a kind jewelry (more than once!), housecleaning, dogsitting, superhero capes, homecooked meals and the list could go on! it's a win/win.
5 combine mail maybe this isn't proper, i don't know. but i usually put our Christmas party invite in with our Christmas cards. i also hand deliver our cards to our church friends, rather than mail them. we used to have actual mail boxes in the church and it was always fun to find your box stuffed with cards. not sure why we don't do that anymore? yesterday, i mailed off a box to one relative who lives out of state and it had gifties for several other relatives that are nearby. cheap? maybe?
6 gifts watch sales or choose very specifically who/what companies you want to support. i ordered a couple of things from shabby apple this year. what a cool company! they not only have awesome clothing, that's handmade, but they donate a percentage of every purchase to unitus,which is an organization which provides financial services to women. their clothing tags are brilliant, because they have the name of the womanyour purchase helped, with her situation,and even a quote from her and how this organization changed her life. and the dresses are CUTE!
and not only do they have a sale going right now, but there is also free shipping! go buy something you'll feel great about!
7 volunteer. i can't think of anything that makes me feel better during the holidays, than volunteering. whether it's to ring bells for the salvation army, serve a meal at the homeless shelter (which one should do on a regular basis, not just during the holidays...read "same kind of different as me" to get a little insight), donate toys/coats/gifts, adopt a family....whatever you can think of that would make someone else's life better or make their day. tom and i used to take 2 young boys shopping for themselves and for their mom. now they've pretty much outgrown it, so we need to find a new family. it blessed us every bit as much as them. and i think the key is to go about it without making them feel like a charity case.
8 start a tradition/make time to make memories that don't cost much, but take time when my kids were grade school age, we would have a gingerbread making party. it made a huge mess of my kitchen, but in hindsight was one of the best holiday traditions i can remember. the kids would each invite friends over and i would have the houses baked, so the kids just assembled and decorated them. i really should start doing this with our older grandchildren now.
9 set the atmosphere. i say light the candles, put the Christmas music on, turn the lights on the tree and soak it up from december 1st until new year's day! i don't save my candles or any of the festivities. i try to enjoy every moment of it all month long.
10. slow down this one is tough for me at times. i get caught up in the hustle bustle sometimes, and forget to just slow down and enjoy it. to sit and read the little ones a Christmas story, or watch a Christmas movie together. savoring the season, means slowing down for me. i pray that you will join me in slowing down and savoring time with loved ones....because when it comes down to it, isn't that the most important part? seriously.
"remember that peace on earth starts with peace in our homes and in our hearts."h jackson browne.
God bless you!