Saturday, November 29, 2008

Frugal Thoughts For Christmas

I was going to do this post over at our getting out of debt site but it's so consuming my thoughts and life right now that It probably belongs here. The point is that we are determined not to use our credit card at all this year for gifts. Even with the "we can pay it back in January" mentality we sometimes have.

So, in the budget there is so little room for Christmas. I thought I'd share some ideas I'm using to make it happen.

-I'm thrifting a lot, especially for the kids but also to put some things together for family.

-I'm taking Daja's idea from last year and making a basked of felt play foods for Lilo and Superkid (Daja has some other great ideas on there too) who still enjoy playing restaurant and such. The kit will be a basket from the thrift store w/ a vintage tiny table cloth I found a few months ago thrifting, the felt foods, and the aprons and chef hats they all ready have along with a new apron I found that is for the on who wants to be the waiter. Plus one little notebook and pen for taking orders.

-I found a "bedazzler" a long time back at a thrift store and saved it. I'm working on a craft kit for the girls that will include that, some cut squares of blue jean from worn out pairs from our family that I've been saving, thread, needles, buttons, ribbon scraps and whatever else I come up with. Blue jean is a great starter fabric for girls because you can just sew a seam and let the edges fray in the wash. This makes purse or tiny bag making very easy. I'm throwing in the seat of the jeans so they can make them into little handbags and such. I still have to find some bedazzle beads so they can accessorize with those.

-I really liked Julie's hand made gift for her friend and it got my brain rolling on something to make for my mom (so mom, if you are reading....STOP NOW!). Only I want to print some black and whites of the kids and tear the edges and then mount them on cardstock to add to the message of the piece. I'm not sure exactly what will come together, but I loved her idea.

-I found some porcelain dolls in great shape at the Goodwill outlet. Their hair and dresses were still lovely. I have a bunch of old vintage doll dresses my grandma made in the 50's that I want to give to Princess with the dolls. I'm looking for two stands so she can dress them and then set them on her shelf.

-I was given a bunch of American Girl books with some hand-me-downs that I will be putting in sets with a ribbon and giving to Princess.

-I scored after Halloween and was able to get a Batman costume and a Superman costume for 75% off the original price. The nice thing is that they are size 8-10 boy which is what Superkid is even though he is only five, so the little ones never fit him anymore. Even though he looks big, he still wants to dress up. They came with the capes and masks and everything. So fun! You could still do these from thrifting but if you have not thought of it yet, they may be gone. Good thoughts for next year though.

-We are trying to put together some outside things for the kids. I found a huge bouncy ball at the Goodwill outlet that we are going to pump up and give to Lilo. Since the kids have gone to school they have become more interested in foursquare games, tetherball, and jump rope. So, I'm thinking of making a movable tetherball pole with an old time, cement, and a pole. I just need to figure out the pole part. We are also considering making a cheap plywood back board that they can bounce the balls against and letting them graffiti it themselves with paint. That one is still in the idea only department.

-I was very fortunate to find gifts at the Target 75-90% off for my nephews and niece last year. I don't want to say what they were but I also got one for our kids. It's a great way to get quality gifts for such a fraction of the cost.

-I'm making "Get Cozy For Christmas" kits for Rick's family but I can't say what's in them yet.

-Making a few more handmade things for friends that I can's share yet either.

-All year long I pick up "Boxcar Children" books Princess does not have, or "Animal Ark" or "Magic Treehouse" for Lilo or "Nancy Drew", all from thrifting, and tie each set up with a ribbon and box it as a gift.

-At Easter clearance I was able to grab a few Lego men singles from the Target clearance section. Superkid really gets more out of these than the big sets since he can't quite put them all together yet, and he likes the Lego men the best anyway.

-We save great games that we find complete from the thrift store through the year as well. This year I have an original "Battleship" and "Scrabble Jr." for the kids.

-Pier One is a great place to get some after season clearance items. Last year I got a holiday scent set for my grandma and will send it this season.

Those are the ones at the top of my head and I just can't share all of it yet so....have to wait for the rest of the details.

Here is a fun link for ideas.

And my friend Judy at Judy's Notebook always links to this site that is a craft lovers drooling station.


Judy said...

Hi Alicia,
Thanks for the link! I am dying to know what "this site" craft site is the one you like to visit. Right now the link "this site" is the same as "fun link." ("Fun link" is definitely fun too!)

Judy said...

So it's How About Orange! Wow! To all of SFE readers: go to her archives. Lists and lists of free stuff to make or download. I think Jess spends 8 hours a day surfing for fun spots. I guess someone's got to do it. Wish it were me. :)

Christina said...

Let me know if you need any felt. I have a whole box of it. I know sometimes you need just a little bit of a certain color, but don't want to buy a whole piece.

Alicia said...

Thanks Judy, I'll check it out!
Yes, Yes! I could use more felt. At the above mentioned link "How about Orange", I found a link for more felt food ideas and my first thought was that I don't have that many colors. There were veggies, fruits, was so cute!

tricia said...

Great gift ideas.

Karen said...

We have that classic tire/pole/concrete tether ball and the kids love it. We didn't make it, but I don't think it would be too hard. A tire, a phlange to stabilize the pole, a pole with cap and some concrete seem to be what you'd need. Be ready tho, the thing weighs a TON and is terrible to move.

Gombojav Tribe said...

Thanks for the linky love!

julie said...

awesome post alicia! we are on the same idea track i think! keep it all up!!!!!!!!

Zimms Zoo said...

I can't say that the gift we got the kids was frugal, but hubby's parents wanted to give them money toward it so we didn't pay. We have bought a few things to go with it with points that we have been saving up from our check card. (not credit card we don't have one of those). Also we used those points to buy a couple of other presents for people and that didn't come out of our pockets at all.

I have been garage saling for nieces and nephews. I also hit Claire's when they had a 10 for $5 and bought a bunch of girly stuf for my nieces.

The kids are making gifts for each other. BB is making a sword(out of scrap wood)and a shield (from leftovers at daddy's work)for his little brother. Then he is printing off coloring pages and making coloring books for his other siblings. Monkey is making those felt pencil cases that roll-up for her little siblings and not sure on the big ones. Still thinking on that.

We also made a ton of candy that we already have in the freezer for neighbors and teachers. The kids also decorated plates for grandmas and are making remote holders (from leftover fabric) for grandpas.

I think we have spent the least this year of any year. We never use credit cards, but things can sometimes get tight. This year there was lots of breathing room and I feel so much better about it. Thanks for some more great ideas!