Frugal Christmas unveiled

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with you families and loved ones. My Christmas covered two days in which time I was able to spend time not only with my immediate family but also the family of my youngest son’s best friend from elementary school.  His friend briefly lived with us for a short time and to this day still calls me mom.  It’s wonderful to see him and the father he turned into. His children are lovely and well-mannered, it’s a joy to see them most holidays.


His children enjoyed using my bed as a play space for their gifts. The few bows that arrived on packaging were used to decorate each other before being bagged up and sent home with the person who brought them.

The handmade gifts were a hit with everyone. The hopscotch mat was loved and I now have requests to make a couple more after seeing how much the children enjoyed it. You should have seen the dads, these big 6 foot plus guys hopping on it, it was hilarious.  My oldest son asked me to make one he can use with bigger spaces to accommodate his size 14 feet. Never thought I’d be getting requests from adults wanting one for themselves..

My children refuse to not give me gifts, but are good at being careful with their money.  I received two tools I can use in my furniture restoration and in crafts.  My eldest son being out of work gifted me with the only commercial chocolate bar I like (Hershey Symphony as it doesn’t have that wax taste). I was okay with receiving this from him as it was more symbolic than pricey at a total cost of $2. :-)

This was my favorite gift


It’s a bookmark made (with a bit of help from mom) by the little one in the pictures.  There is a funny story behind the holiday hat she is wearing.  I was with my son when he spotted this and thought he would like to purchase it for his dad but had no idea how to make it a special gift.  I suggested he buy some of his father’s favorite coffee and fill the hat, which they did. But before packaging the gift up to ship to his father, who couldn’t be with us this year, my son snapped a couple of pictures of his daughter wearing the hat to send with the gift.

I celebrated my birthday Saturday, turning 51, and received from my son and his wife a very thoughtful gift.  I received a thumb drive (which I can return when finished)  containing the final season of Dexter to watch.  Dexter was something they had gotten me into a few years ago, saving it on the DVR to watch with me when I would visit.  This year they cut the cable and didn’t have it for me to watch by the time I visited. The grandchildren called me to wish me a happy birthday with one of my sons trying hard to get his daughter to wait until he was sure I would be awake as she wanted to be the first to call. :-)

The handmade decorations grew the day before Christmas when my oldest granddaughter spent the night and did a bit of crafting with me.  She knew what she wanted to make  when she arrived, and exactly where these items would be hung.  Here are a few pictures of what she made for, and with, me.


The mini pillow ornaments I stitched earlier in the year then allowed my granddaughter to help me stitch and fill them. The backing I used was from a red silky shirt with subtle oriental designs that a neighbor was tossing out and the filling I saved from a torn pillow which I washed in a pillow case..  Since my crocheted tree ended up decorated with my jewelry, instead of ornaments, I decided to hang these with a small piece of tape.


The first item the little one wanted to make was the star above.  She immediately asked if I had paper so she could make a star. I handed her some Kraft paper I found in boxes left for me. This was the star she created and hung herself. She used multiple colors of crayons to give the look of it being lit with colored lights.  And while I might have hung it in another spot, this was where she insisted it was going and hung it herself.


I painted a couple of pine cones to decorate in the bathroom, having no windows, therefore, no natural light, I can’t use plants in there. But the little one decided they had to be hung on the wall in the main room. I had a couple of extra pine cones and gave her one because she said I had to have one with white paint to look like snow. Attaching a simple piece of crochet thread with hot glue was enough to hang these with. I think next year I will add a wreath to the top as the thread disappears on the wall.

The youngest granddaughter was impressed by the pine cones, wanting to touch them repeatedly. She was so impressed with them I pulled out the last unpainted pine cone in the house and gave it to her. She took it home to paint :like nama’s”.  Funny how the natural items are the ones the children are drawn to..


Mom wasn’t feeling well, she’s experiencing morning sickness all day, but rose to the occasion. Although she is the only one besides myself that didn’t try out the hopscotch mat.

I had one final surprise for the oldest granddaughter.  She was heartbroken when her favorite shirt from last winter was too small to wear this year.  I pulled the shirt out of the yard sale pile this past summer and put it away.  Then Monday I cut and reassembled it into a pillow for her, using more of the washed fill I saved..   It was so sweet seeing her reaction to being given back her favorite shirt.


Knowing the youngest grandchild was receiving tools to go with the tool bench I was asked to make for her, I thought a tool box was in order. Looking around the house I spotted a produce basket I was given by one of the vendors at the Farmers’ Market. I dug further and spotted some tissue paper saved from a gift opened at my house last year and decided to decoupage the paper to the basket. For added protection I hot glued a piece of an old white, fleece blanket in the bottom and presented it to her to hold the tools. She walked out of my house that night with the pine cone in one hand and the basket in another.

I had a couple of other surprises in store over Christmas. My neighbor now plows snow and gets to bring the truck home. He shows up in the middle of the night to set the plow down in front of my door and pull the snow away clearing it from the area for me, no more buried door.

The day after Christmas as I was getting dinner ready for guests I heard someone shoveling snow. It was the college student who lives above me.  He was bored and thinking I was away for the holidays decided to shovel so it would be clear when I returned.  Knowing he didn’t go home for the holidays I invited him to join us for dinner.  He declined when our dinner happened to be at the same time as his wrestling practice, instead I made him a plate for later and sent it up when he got home.  He took one look at the plate and informed me mashed potatoes were the “bomb”.  :-)  I’m glad a simple meal of homemade food, baked macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, carrots from the garden and homemade cinnamon applesauce made his day.

I hope you had as lovely a Christmas as I did. What was your favorite part of the holiday?

33 thoughts on “Frugal Christmas unveiled

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday with your loved ones Lois, and a belated happy birthday from me too! I can imagine your granddaughter was thrilled to get her favourite top back in a new form as was your neighbour for their appreciated boxing day meal from you. Giving is often much much nicer than receiving :) I was in Ireland with my family where we spent a lot of time together and I traveled around to see some friends, which I don’t do every year because it is quite tiring but was glad I did this year.


  2. A very Happy belated Birthday to you Lois! I love your handmade decorations especially the wonderfully colourful pinecones and the hanging mini cushions. Your granddaughter’s face is a joy to look at with her upcycled cushion, what a wonderful idea.


    • Thank you, Jen it was a quiet day but I needed that after two full days with all the children they can wear me out physically as I enjoy playing with them while they are young enough to enjoy it.

      I enjoy the mini pillow ornaments because I never have to worry about the ages of the little ones and the possibility they could get hurt on them. Pine cones happen to find their way inside year round it seems. :-)

      Little one was so thrilled with her pillow and it was such a cute shirt that lent itself well for Christmas. Wait till you see the next sewing project I have. :-)


  3. Happy belated birthday wishes Lois. It sounds like you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. We would all have healthier, happier lives if we followed more in your footsteps. Thank you for such an inspiring blog. May 2014 bring good health, abundant joy and much love to you and your family. :)


  4. Lovely to hear the culmination… :)

    (Sherlock is brilliant, nothing like any adaptation you have ever seen, with the fourth series starting…tomorrow!! Great excitement from all fans LOL)

    Happy New Year, Lois!


    • Daniela, I have to let you know the cloth napkins I bought from your store were much appreciated and will get plenty of use. She really loved them.

      Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s planned.


  5. When I was a kid, we had a hopscotch board painted on our sidewalk. All of the kids in the neighborhood (young and old) would come to play. We had some very fierce matches and were always on the lookout for the perfect rock to use for our marker.


    • Live and Learn, I forgot all about the marker. In my defense I was never able to play hopscotch. This past summer I taught the oldest grandchildren to play, they loved it so much I had to re-draw the squares every time it rained, which was often last summer. Having a painted one would be wonderful, I bet your house was the one all the kids wanted to hang out at. Wonder if I would be allowed to paint one here. :-)


  6. Merry Christmas Lois. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time sharing and caring.

    As of this comment, I am at my sisters home visiting for a few days so my Christmas is still going on :)

    I liked the fact that the adults wanted a hopscotch mat as well. it just goes to show that no matter how old we are, a meaningful gift can still bring out the kid in us all (hopefully).

    I’m also a Dexter fan and while I don’t have cable either, I still managed to watch the last season. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. not sure if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan but if you ever get a chance to check out a show called Sherlock, I think you’ll find it as exciting as Dexter!

    Take care Lois and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones. All the best.



    • Lyle, you really know how to make the most of a holiday. :-) We did have a lovely time, it sounds like you had so much fun you aren’t ready to leave the holidays behind yet.

      I haven’t started on Dexter yet, but am sure I will enjoy it. I’ve heard most people were disappointed with the ending, but I’ve been careful not to let anyone discuss the ending around me. I want to be surprised.

      I do enjoy a good Sherlock Holmes story, wasn’t impressed with the movie starring Robert Downey, jr. But might check out the series one day when I want something to watch. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Happy New Year, to you, Lyle. Have a good one.


  7. Hi Lois, Beautiful pictures and sweet stories! So glad that you had a lovely Christmas. Best wishes for many more blessings in the New Year!


    • Thank you. I’m planning on a quiet New Year’s. Maybe make time to get back to a cross stitch project I started for myself a couple of months ago. Do you have plans for New Year’s, hope you enjoy the day no matter what you do.


    • Well, the older two are spotting a few things they are drawn to, like Barbie dolls and transformers, but they would rather have crafting supplies and time in nature.

      It was a lovely Christmas, hope you felt up to enjoying yours as well.


  8. What a lovely Christmas with so many thoughtful gifts. I particularly loved your idea of saving the favourite t-shirt! They are lucky to have you as their grandmother. I struggle to come up with clever ideas. Well done!


    • Thank you, Linda, but I am lucky to have them in my life as well. Hope you had a joyous Christmas and will have a fun filled New Year’s. I had so much fun with the Frugal Christmas posts I will be doing them again next year. You are welcome to send me questions and I’ll see what I can come up with for you.


  9. Sounds like a beautiful Christmas. We had a good holiday as well. We decided to do “consumable” gifts this year (secondhand was allowed too, but no one chose that option). My stepdaughter even commented how much more fun Christmas was this year.


    • Christy, I love it!! I would love to try a year of only consumable gifts. I would ask for baked goods, having no oven I would appreciate this, and even birdseed being that I go through a lot of seed here. :-)

      You are setting the stage for the next generation to have future holidays which are so much more fun, like you step-daughter said.


  10. all sounds lovely, Lois. am glad your granddaughter got back her favorite shirt as a pillow. that was thoughtful of you.

    got to see / spend time with family. had a few meals together, etc. all very nice. glad you did as well.

    oh, and Happy Birthday.

    one year my son gave me a magnet to stick on the fridge, which said

    “the secret to being the perfect age, is finding an “age” you like and sticking with it”, grin…


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