Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Beady-Eyed Christmas Monster

Christmas will be here before I know it... and before that, baby will be here.

I've got shopping and getting ready to do, and really, I need to have it all done before the end of November. I know there's not a chance I'll be doing much Christmas prep once I've got a squirmy-wormy little baby in my arms. I also know the likelihood of us showing up at many of our typical holiday gatherings is slim, but that's another post for another day

So anyway, anyone who reads these ramblings of mine very often will know that we're gearing up to start the TMMO/Dave Ramsey plan.

That leaves us staring into the beady little eyes of Christmas... on a budget. A tight one. I'm not excited about this prospect, most certainly not excited to feel as though we're 'not doing enough' for our friends and family.

I've often felt that Christmas is pretty over-the-top anyhow, and I've left more than one holiday gathering where I feel like the one who didn't give enough. I know, I know. It's the thought that counts, and all of that crap. But that doesn't save me from feeling crummy about it, now does it?

So... this is where you come in. What do you think? How does your family handle these situations, or do they handle them at all? What are your best gift-giving ideas for those on a budget? What other pearls of wisdom can you share with me?


Laura said...

Such a good question! I'm not sure that I really have a good answer... I'm trying to figure out the same thing for this year. With both of our parents remarried and like a dozen siblings between us, we spent so much on Christmas last year. Most of it went on a credit card and we refuse to do that again this year... so now what? I've decided to make some nice mini scrapbooks for the parents/grandparents of pictures with them and Anthony. Pictures are inexpensive to give and I think making them into a scrapbook is much more personal than just putting one in a frame. Plus I think the time it'll take to make them should count for something.

Christina said...

Ohh, that's a great idea Laura! I'll have to tuck that one away for next year! :o) I know you'll make Anthony's grandparents feel so special with those scrapbooks. What about having him color a picture for each of them, and including those in the scrapbook?

I find it difficult to shop/be 'frugal' for people my own age or younger... it's easier to do something nice for parents or grandparents without spending a ton of cash, isn't it??

...and I've got to say, you're not the only one who went a little nuts last year. I think I was self-medicating... sure did a LOT of shopping between the m/c and Christmas. I really don't want to go that route again either.

Miss V said...

Last year I quit my great paying job just weeks before Christmas. Needless to say, we were on a major budget with eating cornbread and chili for dinner. I knew that we would be receiving many nice gifts from our families and I didn't want to show up empty handed. So I put my baking skills to work and made a bunch of different cookies and sweets. I decorated them by wrapping them in little clear plastic bags made for candy from Michaels and tied them with cute bows also from Michaels. I went to the dollar store and purchased these little Christmas baskets and filled them with the goodies! They were a hit! Everyone loved them!

Shara said...

Both of the other suggestions rock! I'm all for the dollar store. That's where my sister in law and I shop for each other. :) My sibs and I have decided with marriages and what not, we can't do a gift for everyone so we've started drawing names. That actually came up today. I need to figure out who I My folks have never been too concerned about what I get for them either. There have been years when it's been nothing but a hug and some help in the kitchen. I've got to decide what I'm able to afford this year. Of course with an extra niece and an extra nephew plus a sister with 2 boys and a hubby that's now in my life...ugh. :) This year, I'm going to be doing most of my shopping on Usually can find new or like new stuff for MUCH better prices. It's run by ebay.

Christina said...

I love, love the idea of baking and making yummy treats for our families. Since the weeks leading right up to Christmas are likely going to be a foggy blur for me, I was thinking about a different spin on baked goods... ever been given one of those jar mixes, where all you do is add, say, water? I could still personalize them, add them to goodie baskets and what-not... but I can also make them in advance. I could also maybe add some homemade truffles, which will keep for a few weeks... and... hmm... the possibilities are endless! :o) never used it, but I should give it a look. I also love drawing names. Not only does it help your bank account, but it gives you an opportunity to focus more shopping energy on one gift. We did that last year with Ryan's siblings and their spouses--wonder if we'll do that again this year? I guess I'd better get the ball rolling! and soon!

Thanks girls! Great suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Something a friends mother started one year was a cookbook, with recipes from family and friends, she bound it in a 3-ring binder, and every year she can add to it. I am actually thinking of doing that this year, along with some crocheted gifts.

Jen said...

I bought lots of magazine subscriptions for people last year. I would buy one copy of a magazine I knew they loved and then send in a subscription for them for one year. In most cases, you can get people a year's subscription for like $5-$10. Then I would just wrap a bow around the magazine with a little Christmas note. Another great thing about this gift is that you can send in the subscription and have them bill you later. That way, you can possible pay for the subscription after the holidays when you have a little money back in your pocket. Anyway, that is just something that went over well for me last year :-)

RaT Babies said...

Home made gifts!!!!!! Get Ryan some Grolsch swing top beers, let him enjoy them, then refill them with a NICE olive oil & add lemon, lime, chilli, whatever to them for infused olive oil. A blank canvas with Camden's hand/foot prints done in paint on them for Grandparents. Tori can help with the best advice for getting those done.

Maggie said...

hey you! we have cut back for the past two holiday seasons. we told all of our families that we were doing so - that way there would be no surprises. and we only bought for our parents and my handicapped sister (who still loves santa)

this year in january, i bought clearance stuff- I'm done! Can you believe it! homemade sewing stuff with fabric i already have for any last minute gifts....i have become the bahumbug of holiday spending :)
'cause it's not about the stuff. that is my new motto :) hope you are well! ~maggie

mgsprincess said...

This year I was thinking about starting a little 9x9 scrapbook for each family. As foreachperson in the family...we reallyonlyworry about our parents and give a call to friends and wish them Merry Christmas. Our close friends with kids we'll get a little something that they need. Like my friend Jenn needed winter clothes. so I went to s a store called Once Upon a Child and got her some inexpensive winter clothes from there. Make cards with pictures...I believe anything made for you is more special. I dunno howto explain it... I usually try to make it gifts because to me its just a little bit more personal. But try not over do it. Remeber pretty soon your going to be conqueringthe task of Mommy hood! Love ya!

Christina said...

Magazine subscriptions, infused olive oil, more great scrapbooking ideas... ahh... I'm loving these ideas!

Maggie, you're so NOT the bahumbug, you're just planning ahead! ...and that's what I love!

Now, if only I had managed to plan ahead... hmm?? But, nevermind that... too late to plan ahead now, so we go with the flow! :o)

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