Christmas Spending

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Christmas Spending
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 10:30am

In one of my posts, I talked about Christmas gifts and how I like to give gifts.  A discussion ensued and that night, I stayed up for a few hours thinking about how to bring my limit down.  I came up with one handmade gift idea (the picture frame and inside the picture frame, taking the person's name and using each letter to describe them).  I came up with several more handmade gift ideas for various other people and then, lastly, I convinced myself to give my dad and stepmom a handmade gift as well.

One of the gifts is flower pens.  My friend gave my daughter one a few months ago and I fell in love with it.  All you do is get some silk flowers, take the flower off, hot glue gun it to the top, and then wrap green flower tape around it.  I was able to get the silk flowers on sale and the green tape was super cheap.  Then I bought pens at 10 for 79 cents.  Then all I have to do is go to the dollar store and get some dollar vases and viola! a pretty little boquet of flower pens.

In my house, I just happened to already have two picture frames which works perfectly becasue the name idea I had was going to go to my two aunts.  I wanted to decorate the frames a bit thoughs so I went to Michaels and I found a box of 4 little plastic butterflies - 2 purple and 2 blue.  It was on the 75% off rack and you can't go wrong with that.  Well, when I went to one of those scanners to see the actual price, it was one cent.  Yes, you read that correctly - once cent.  I cannot even buy penny candy for one cent!   So I went home and hot glue gunned one of each color to opposing corners of the picture frames. 

Now one of my biggest spending areas has always been eating out.  Since I gave up eating out for a few months, I now have to up my grocery bill but I'm still saving money.  I get this from my dad, though.  He and my stepmother order out constantly.  It was worse before he retired but they are still bad.  I had given then one gift like this before but only for one night.  This time, I'm going to buy (or make, having decided yet) a calendar and give them one homemade meal a month.  It works out really well becuase all I have to do is buy a little extra and give it to them but I can still do it cheaply - stews and soups during the winter, a few barbecues of burgers and hot dogs during the summer, some breakfasts for dinner.  Cheap!

My brother and my sister in law just got married in September and I still have all the invites from their showers and I think I have their favor laying around.  I am thinking about getting a shadow box and making one for them (and Michael's always coupons so that will be a cheap gift).  I also have some clay at home and was thinking of seeing if I could make a clay cat for them and paint it in a way that it looks like their cat that passed away this year.  My brother loved that cat so much that when he got married and they mentioned the people that had passed, he even mentioned the cat.  awwwww  So I know he would appreciate that.

My uncle is going to get a gift card.  I cannot think of anything to give him.

Last but definitely not least are my mom and stepdad.  I'm still working on their gifts.

My daughter's budget will remain the same as will my stepdaughters, and 2 nephews.  Hubby and I don't exchange gifts.

I started out with an idea of $350 for everyone else but the kids.  Now I think I can do it all for well under $100. 

Thanks again for being the voice in the back of my head!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
In reply to:
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 11:09am
I have three kids and that will be around $200. I give to my sister and her husband and kids and one friend that is it. I sell avon and order things on clearance that they love and give it to them. I don't think hubby and I will gift give this year. So probably $300 spent I think. I usually budget 400 so you never know, I do buy extra groceries and having family over is more important anyway to me. Good for you for paring back!
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2006
In reply to:
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 11:41am
Very creative, frugal ideas! You are off to a great start!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
In reply to:
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 4:30pm

I love your ideas, and that you have changed your way of thinking.  I especially like the calendar with meals idea.

How about home made cookies or fudge for your uncle?  Or if he can't have sweets, make some chex mix? My mom made this every year - she bought the generic version of the cereal, and watched for sales on pretzels, nuts, and cheese crackers.  What was in hers was always a little different each time, but it was always delicion. You can find recipes on line.  Last year was our first year without her, and one of the younger girls in the family took over the tradition - my mom had a special pan she made it in, and I passed that on as a Christmas can save peanut butter or fluff or mayoaise jars, and have the kids decorate with the free holiday stickers that seem to arrive in the mail....

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
In reply to:
Wed, 10-03-2012 - 7:23pm

Good for you!

Last year for us, we decided to cut wayyyyy back on xmas spendiing.  This year I've already talked to my family and my parents and siblings are in agreement that we won't exchange any gifts this year.  We'll just get together and enjoy the company of the family.  My brother wants to have Xmas in my parent's haymow.  A little weird perhaps, but I'm all for it.  It's gonna be fun stringling the lights on the barn beams!  Nothing like Xmas in the country - I hope it snows and we can sled down the barnhill!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2010
In reply to:
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 7:58am

Oh wow, those are some great ideas!

I know for Christmas we shop for the kids and that's it.  Our siblings don't get gifts and our parents all get calendars with pics of DD from the previous year.

We exchange gifts with eachother each year but it's usually gift cards or something one of us wants but won't buy.  I'm going a little overboard this year as DH won't be home for Christmas and I know it's killing us as a family.  I'm going to start his shopping soon.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 12:25pm

Your ideas are great! 

Last year was the first year ever I saved ahead for Christmas.  I stayed pretty darn close to the saved amount of around $400.  That was for everyone.  Kids, parents, my sister and her DD.  Oh, and grandson. 

With all of the divorces in my kids' families, I don't have to go overboard with any of them.  One gift from everyone is plenty! 

A little harder with SO's kids, as the only gifts they get is from my SO and his xW. 

We tried homemade jewlery with my DD a couple years ago and never again!  It was hard and although not expensive, not that cheap, either. 

Lastly, one year I used my Coke Rewards and got everyone a magazine subscription.

p.s. Michelle, my only suggestion to you is to use a decent writing pen that you know will work.  I will never buy dollar store pens again.  I am sticking with Bic!


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
In reply to:
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 6:52pm
I don't really buy for anyone except my niece and nephew, my dd, and my H. I sometimes will make candy or cookies for a few of my friends, but it's not expected and I don't spend more than 10-20 total if I do.

I honestly have no idea what to get my H. He's not easy to shop for. He really likes the idea of that blender you can make soup in. It's 150. Maybe, if I can get together enough money... Otherwise. I don't know. Maybe a videogame but I don't even know what he would want.

My dd, god bless her, is the least spoiled kid I've ever been around. She doesn't ask for anything, and she loves anything I get for her. Her birthday is two weeks after Christmas, so I tend to buy a lot and split it up. I have already spent about 65 on her buying clothes, jewelry, and a small makeup kit on clearance. For that I was able to get two pairs of pants, four shirts, four pairs of earrings, a necklace, the makeup kit, and a mini rechargable speaker for her MP3 player. So, not bad. I am planning to get her some yarn and a knitting pattern book. Maybe I will glaze a mug for her at the paint your own ceramics place. They are expensive, but she would absolutely love it. Especially if she got some of those flavored instant Starbucks packets in her stocking too. Lol.

If I made personalized dishes for my niece and nephew then my trip there would be much more worth it. They usually run around 15-17 for a mug, small bowl or small plate.
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Fri, 10-05-2012 - 12:00pm
All of my kids birthdays are close to Christmas. I figured out I must only get pregnant in March. :smileyhappy:

So for my DD12, I do like you. I often will pull something out and save for her birthday.

Yes, God must have blessed your DD, because mine always wants something!!!