This will be the last installment in the Frugal Christmas series or 2013. With only 2 days before Christmas I debated on doing this last post but as usual I found interesting ideas and thoughts about Christmas and gift giving that I wanted to share.
This is the time when stores love those last minute purchases we run out to make. It may be tape or wrapping paper, or a gift because we think we need to balance out what we bought for one person with what we have for another, a big thing to some parents. And then there is the food we decide we want to add to our holiday meal. I have a few ideas to help you avoid this last minute spending, much of which goes on credit cards at this late date.
When it comes to our children what I most often hear is something along the lines of “I want my children to have what I didn’t” This appears to be the biggest reason so many packages are under the tree for them. Have you taken a moment to stop and think about what you are teaching them with this habit? In a time when good jobs are hard to come by today’s youth may never see the incomes we knew, having less money to spend on the holidays. Lili, has seen her family’s income fall drastically this year when her husband’s income was cut. She has had to live with a very tight budget as a result. This week, she shared with us what she is really giving her children. There is a lot to think about in this post, I hope you find a moment to take a look before you head back out to the store for another gift.
Think you have run out of things to wrap your gifts in? Look through your stash of fabrics, bandanas, scarves, etc and try this Japanese cloth folding technique tutorial. I think it looks lovely, much nicer than paper or gift bags any day.
Don’t run out and buy another box of decorations thinking your home doesn’t look festive enough. A touch of red will make all the difference from a simple red blanket tossed over one end of the couch or a bit of red added to the walls.Or use candles around the house in whites or reds to get the look you want. For more simple decorating ideas check out these 14 other rooms. Not a one of them goes overboard in the decorating yet each space is festive and inviting.
Jen found an inexpensive (free) way to make a holiday candle holder out of what ever you have on hand, and it won’t take but a few minutes to create.
For that last minute gift, instead of heading back to the mall or paying for exorbitant overnight shipping why not give an online Crafting class? Condo Blues suggested this and I think it’s a great idea. You can choose from any of the following classes, or give a “pick your own class” cost is just $30:
- cake decorating,
- home and garden,
- food and cooking,
- fine art,
- paper crafts,
You will receive a 100% money back guarantee, watch your classes on your own schedule and your access never expires. If you have the time in the next two days you can try a mini-class for free. Get more information here.
I found this in a catalog and thought it was a cute idea but not one I would spend that much money on. If you have a relative on your list why not pull out one of your existing ball ornaments and let your children design it with their hand print. This will be a gift that might be last minute but will be treasured every holiday when decorations are pulled out.
Food is the bond that brings people together. This doesn’t mean you have to go all out and sacrifice sleep to have a lovely dinner for your family and guests this Christmas. Keep it simple. Pull out the slow cooker, fill it with potatoes, vegetables (my favorite is to combine carrots and onions) don’t forget you can do a roasted vegetable dish with squashes, peppers and more in the slow cooker. You can add your meat if you eat it on top and walk away. For Christmas day I will be using my slow cooker to do a roast (since I am the only vegetarian that will be here) and vegetables and potatoes. In my rice cooker I’ll use the steam tray to do steam a variety of vegetables and squashes with some herbs. A side dish will be homemade applesauce pulled from the freezer.
On New Year’s with my youngest arriving with his family I will again pull out the slow cooker to make macaroni and cheese. In the rice cooker I’ll boil potatoes for mashed potatoes and steam veggies while the potatoes cook as each of us loves a good amount of vegetables. I will most-likely pull out more of the applesauce as the children love it and my son doesn’t get homemade applesauce often, a childhood favorite of his.
Rather than creating a menu that has me slaving away in the kitchen, I try to make a few favorites my family doesn’t get to have often, such as my home made applesauce. It’s not about how much food or what the food is, it’s about sitting down together. Of course there will be a pie, I just haven’t decided which ones. I’m thinking a sweet potato pie one day and maybe a pumpkin roll instead the next. So simplify your menu and spend more time with your loved ones.
Do you have “rules” surrounding gift giving? I have one, there must be a gift for every person who joins us. It might be a simple gift of a book or a handmade decoration they can take home but no one gets to sit here watching others receive gifts when they don’t. Happy Simple Living takes on the rules of gifting in this short post entitled Be Mindful These Next Four Days.