What do you get the people who have it all? When it comes to grandparents often a gift must come from the heart, because they have everything else. Gifting to grandparents requires time and a little creativity to make their holiday season a little bit more special.
This is not the type of art that is expensive, considered an investment, or has a well known creator. This is family art. You could make a family mosaic. Collect a large amount of family photos including of you growing up, you and your siblings’ families, and all their grandchildren. Use scissors and glue to create a collage like creation on a poster board. When the glue is dried, frame it, wrap it, and send it on to the grandparents. Another artistic idea is sending them a toddler abstract work. Take a poster board and let your toddler go to town with a set of markers, frame it, and send it on its way. If you are worried this sounds a little unsophisticated remember there are people who dip cat paws in paint and let them walk all over canvas. This too is considered art, but grandma will love your little guys work much more.
We all know that we need to spend time with the ones we love, but when grandma and grandpa live far away that is more than a little difficult. So instead share a record of the time you have been apart. Send scrapbooks made from the past year or keep a daily journal of your children’s exploits from a point of view a grandparent would appreciate. You can even add a parent’s footnotes or have your little one write a note or draw a picture each day.
Last but not least you can create the perfect gift for that special grandparent that has blessed your home with the noisiest toys known to man. Record an hour long concert preformed by your child and his favorite music toys. Or if you have a talented and musically inclined teenager, create a CD with a sample of music from each month of the past year. The gradual improvement of the CD should let mi-maw and pop pop know of all the hard work your child has done honing their talents. The best part is they will have proof to go along with their bragging rights.
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You may already know that stores have sales cycles that change every month or so. Often they stock up on certain items (often ones related to the holidays or seasons) that then need to be removed from the shelves once the appropriate time has passed. When those stores are looking to move items from their shelves is the best time to buy those particular items.
Let’s move from the abstract to the concrete as we look at what items are discounted this month.
1. Baking Supplies. The best thing about baking supplies going on sale is that they are easy to store. If you use baking cups regularly, be on the look out for discounts. Also, if you don’t mind the holiday decorations on them, you will be able to get those at half price or better on the day after Christmas. You’ll also find flour, spices (I just bought organic spices at 50% off last week!), chocolate chips (which store very easily in the freezer or the pantry), condensed milk, and pumpkin puree (who says you can’t have pumpkin pie in January!) discounted this month.
2. Thrift Store Merchandise. This is not as much about a discount as it is about availability and selection. A lot of people are trying to get last minute donations in before the end of the year for tax purposes. So, thrift stores like Goodwill and other organizations (with the tax-exempt status) will have plenty to choose from by the end of the month.
3. Gift Cards. Right now there are lots of promotions offering “bonus cash” if you buy a gift card. So, if it’s a store or restaurant you frequent regularly and you have the cash (after you’re done with all your shopping), then it’s a great way to maximize your money.
What else do you buy in December?
You may have a cherished fuzzy friend. You may have children who have a cherished furry friend. Either way,as un-frugal as it may sound, you’re getting your pet a present this holiday season. How do you include your pet in the holiday celebration without adding too much of an expense?
Get Your Pet a Book
Yes, I am aware that your furry friend, while very talented in many areas, does not read. You, however, d, and you have incredible talents that can be gifted to your pet. You could pick up a recipe book designed for your pet’s dietary needs and let them enjoy your culinary skills. Or you could pick up a book of training tips. They make them for dogs as well as cats. There are even books on creating toys for your fur baby. The best part is you can often find these types of books on sale or at a discount.
A Pet Service
If you have children, and they want to get the family pet a present, have them find acts of service that aren’t already a part of their chore routine to give their fuzzy friend. Don’t include things like going for a walk or feeding. Do include items such as extra time with the laser pointer or other favorite toy. Have them devote extra time and effort in a grooming session or contribute to a tooth cleaning. Your pet will want some of these items and need others. Service can go a long way as a gift, even for an animal.
One of the cheapest gifts of all can be a can of tuna (water packed) or a bag of raw hide treats. For many animals food is one of the best gifts they can receive. Let the giving of human food (the tuna) be only for special occasions and the treats be spread out over the month.
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1. Procrastinate. To be honest, sometimes procrastinating at this time of the year ends up working for you, as some of the deals right before the big day are fantastic deals. (I think of those amazing deals the day before Christmas as a reward for the trauma of dealing with all the other procrastinators in the store with you.) Procrastination will not work for you, though, when it comes to ordering and shipping gifts. Waiting until the last minute can be very expensive with expedited shipping costs. A little bit of planning can save you a lot of money.
2. Buy Expensive Wrap. Holiday wrapping paper can be very expensive. While I do appreciate some of the fancy paper, I always remind myself of how that paper will end up only minutes after the presents are taken out from under that tree. Don’t do it. If you didn’t purchase your paper after Christmas last year (which you should always plan to do), then go to the dollar store and get it there. The only one who will know the difference is you–and your wallet.
3. Don’t Plan. You know what it’s like to shop for groceries without a list, right? You ALWAYS buy more than what you intended (and usually forget something that should have been on the list)! Don’t approach holiday shopping that way. Get a plan and do your best to stick with it. If you don’t, you’re likely to be lured by all the advertisements and “great deal” labels that don’t necessarily mean a thing.
4. Treat Yourself With a Big Gift. Buy yourself a fun cup of coffee, chocolate, a pastry, or even a candy cane instead. Don’t splurge in the name of treating yourself; you and your bank account may regret it later.
What do you do to stick to your holiday budget?
Making a list of all the people you want to share your holiday joy with can be daunting. Friends, co-workers, extended family, the postal worker, the trashman, neighbors, and more! There is the buying of the gifts and the desire to personalize each one. There is the added costs that go along with cards and wrapping. Here are a couple of ideas to help keep your gift giving happy and stress free.
There are so many kits that can be done with jars. I have seen the regular cooking ones for hot chocolate, brownies, or cookies. I have also seen chili ingredients all lined up in a jar. These types of jars look really fun with their layers of ingredients in a clear shiny jar. These can be made at home or bought at a store. You can either get everyone the same one or you can get each person a different jar. For example, if you have a friend who is watching her weight get her the chili instead of the fudge brownie jar.
Other jar gifts include kits, such as a spa kit, nail kit, or first aid kit. You could even just fill them with each friend’s favorite candy. These can also be decorated with stickers or ribbons. Cover the top with fabric and stick a bow on it. They don’t need to be wrapped, but if you are feeling extra festive they fit great in small gift bags.
Digital Greeting Cards
There are a few free greeting card freebies on the internet right now. I recently saw one from Lego that you could create with your family as Lego people in various holiday settings. There is also Punchbowl.com, which has a large variety of card and envelope templates to choose from. They have cards reflecting each holiday that is celebrated this season and even party invitations. You could choose to use the free templates and even add a family picture if you wish. Save on postage and send your family greetings digitally!
You’ve put up your decorations. You’ve begun shopping and maybe even wrapping presents. You’re gearing up for the holiday you’ve waited for all summer. Okay, so maybe you haven’t yet, but I have.
Maybe it’s the planner in me. Maybe it’s the shopper in me. Whatever it is, I have started thinking about what deals I’m going to be looking for on December 26.
As our family decorated the tree this year, we managed to break an ornament. We broke a couple last year because the little ones couldn’t keep their hands off of the shiny, colorful “balls” on the tree. So, I’m taking notes.
1. Tree Décor. Take note of the tree décor you have and what you’d like for next year. Maybe you would simply like to replace ornaments that have been broken or lost. Perhaps you’re thinking you’d like to make more dramatic changes and alter the style or color combinations on your tree. You’ll never have a better perspective on the changes you’d like make than right now.
2. Wreaths and other holiday décor. I got a great deal on a wreath about six years ago. It’s been a great wreath. But, it was one of those that you buy green to add your own decorative pieces. It was a fantastic deal and super cute. But, some of those pieces are falling off now. So, I’ll be looking for deals on wreaths on December 26 this year so that we can be ready with a wreath for next year. If you have tablecloths that are worn or if you added another table to your holiday supplies (as we did), you may need a new tablecloth for next year. The best time to get the best price on a holiday tablecloth will be right after Christmas.
3. Lights. They can be such a headache. How is it that in the year that they simply sit in storage, they just decide to stop working? That happens every year it seems, right? Don’t wait until next year to be reminded how many strings stopped working this year. Take notes and replace them in two weeks!
4. Wrapping paper. I almost always buy Christmas wrapping paper the day after Christmas. It’s always at least 50% off right after the holidays. Since it’s so easy to store, it’s worth it.
Bonus Tip: Many stores now begin their Christmas clearance markdowns as early as December 23rd. So if there’s something that’s a high priority on your shopping list, it may be worth it to take a look early!
Will you be doing any Christmas décor shopping the day after Christmas?
Mailing packages is crazy during this time of year. They get lost, stolen, and end up places they were never meant to be. Best of all you are stressed about it because they’re your holiday gifts. Here are a few ways to beat the mailing mayhem and get Santa’s deliveries on time.
Make sure you get a tracking number for your package. If you are sending your package to someone else make sure they have that tracking number. Keep track of where the package is. Communicate with each other on whether or not your parcel has been delivered. If you are the receiver, get a list from the giver of what items are in the package. Let them know if something did not arrive or if the wrong item was sent.
Are you unable to find your package? Ask your neighbors or rental office if the delivery was made to them. The post office may have left it in their care, or it may have been delivered to the wrong address. Call or visit rental offices and post offices when you are expecting packages, but haven’t received them yet. Sometimes the delivery note is forgotten or misplaced.
Apply For Resend/Refund
When an item that you are waiting for is marked delivered, but you have not yet received it, check with the store to see how they can help you. They may be out of an item, in which case they should offer a refund. You could also ask that they resend an item. Stores are often willing to work to meet your needs.
Should you have too many issues with your mail service, try having your packages sent to a friends home, or renting a P.O. Box. It may also be easier to request your packages to be held and pick them up at the post office.