For children the time of Christmas is a time to get gifts and be excited for the fun traditions that go with the holiday season. Parents feel the same about the holiday season, but may also view gift giving in a more practical sense. Now is the perfect time to give winter wear, socks, and other needed items. Keeping the balance between the expectations of children and the practicality of parents can be difficult, but there are ways to go about doing so.
Clothes can be difficult to choose for kids. It’s even more difficult when you’re sure your kids don’t want clothes. There are a few ways to make receiving clothes fun for your children. They may have a favorite cartoon character that merchandisers have put on a shirt or coat. The colors of the socks can be bright or crazy patterns. Slippers could be in the form of a favorite animal. Make the clothing fun by tapping into your inner child and the silliness that can go along with clothes.
Give a gift that promotes your child’s favorite talent. You’ll most likely end up paying for martial arts training or painting lessons at some point. Make it a gift. Some classes offer discounts or deals during the holidays. It’s a good time to also purchase an instrument. These are long term gifts and your child will get more use out of them as well as a useful skill.
Don’t Go Overboard
While having a practical theme can be fun for you, it may not be fun for your child. For example, you may think it’s fun and practical to theme your gifts around potty training, but your toddler may not. Get a book with their favorite character and maybe some target stickers to put in their stocking. Also get something fun for them that has nothing to do with the practical theme. Make sure it’s something special, just for them.
This coming week is a time when women all over the United States will be stressing out and scrubbing every square inch in their home. They will be planning their Thanksgiving menu, buying everything, and then coming home and stressing over what they forgot. This is why it’s important to take a day to just be calm before the storm that Thanksgiving can be. What do you do on this day of calm? You make sure you don’t overspend by thinking your way out of your panic state.
You seemed to have forgotten the rolls on your last shopping trip. You plan to have rolls, biscuits, and various types of sweet bread. Take a deep breath and admit to yourself that it will be okay that you forgot the rolls. While someone may notice, there are plenty of yummy bread staples around to make your roll absence not a huge loss. You and your family will still have a great Thanksgiving without the rolls.
You Need Help
Ask your family for help. You do not have six arms and you do need sleep. Trying to do it all by yourself is only going to cause you frustration and waste ingredients when things don’t come together as planned. The best way for everything to come together is for everyone to take on some small part of your Thanksgiving planning. Trying to do it all by yourself will just cause stress and holiday drama.
Let People Bring Something
People offer to bring stuff to your festivities, but you keep saying no. You’re the hostess and you will do it all by yourself. Well, stop it. Let people bring something with them. It helps some people feel needed or feel good that a certain recipe is requested. It helps you keep costs down as well as work load.
Now take a deep breath… and exhale. You will survive Thanksgiving!
It’s not even Thanksgiving yet and I’ve begun to feel that pressure. You know what I mean, don’t you? The lists. The shopping. The preparations, which send me back to the shopping list. It’s my favorite time of the year. But it can also be such a stressful time in some ways. There are a few things we can do to try to ensure that the season remains calm and bright, rather than harried and exhausting.
Plan Ahead. Plan in advance the kinds of gifts you would like to buy and start comparison shopping to find out where you’ll get your best deal on those items. If you find that there aren’t huge differences in prices between a couple of stores, consolidate. That is, sometimes it’s worth the few extra cents to make one stop instead of two.
Shop Online. My policy is that if I can get it online at the same price or better than what I can get at a local store, I’m doing it! Having a package arrive at my door is my ideal way of shopping. Avoid shipping costs by consolidating online as well. Most sites have a minimum purchase of $35 or $50 to avoid shipping costs. It’s the best way to shop and avoid the hassles of holiday parking and crowds.
Give. This year our family is participating in Operation Christmas Child, a project which is organized by Samaritan’s Purse Ministries. It’s a wonderful way for our children to remember that this time of the year is not simply about getting a bunch of new stuff and comparing their gadgets with those of their friends. Giving to organizations like Samaritan’s Purse provides the opportunity to bring perspective to a highly commercialized special holiday.
What do you do to maintain peace of mind and perspective at this time of the year?
As we approach the holidays, it’s easy to begin to feel the crunch on our budgets as they are stretched a bit further at this time of the year. It’s fun to attend parties, buy gifts, prepare food for parties and dinners. But that all costs. One easy way to save money and even make money is by shopping online.
Stores and sites have increasingly offered some of their best deals online, even before Black Friday. Amazon started its daily “Lightning Deals” right after Halloween. If you have your eye on something in particular, then do what I do. Place it on your Amazon Wish List or in your online Cart and keep on eye on its price. I keep some of my favorite items in my Amazon cart throughout the year in order to be able to see the latest price every time I go over to Amazon.
Other sites and stores also offer great deals online. My favorite part is that you can comparison shop, make your purchase, and have it delivered to your door. That’s my kind of shopping.
The other thing I love about shopping online is the chance to make some money at the same time. I have an account with ShopAtHome.com and Ebates.com. Since I do so much shopping (even for groceries) online, I simply go to Ebates, choose my store, and start shopping. I’ve gotten anywhere from one percent to nine percent cash back. As a matter of fact, I just got my check for this last shopping period in the mail. You could always sign up with both companies and check their percentages before making your purchase.
Shopping, saving money, and making a little bit of extra money has never been so easy.
How do you save money at this time of the year?
Check out the great savings for all your Fourth of July needs at Walmart this week!
Bought 1 Ball Park Park’s Finest Frankfurters, 14 oz $3.50, regular price
Buy 1, Receive $1.50 with Ibotta
Buy 1, Receive $1.50 with Shopmium (use code GHUUAEPE)
Paid $3.50, Submitted for $1.50 Ibotta Credit and $1.50 Shopmium Credit
Final Price: $0.50
See the Ball Park frankfurter deal here.
Bought 1 Heinz Ketchup, 20 oz $1.96, regular price
Used one $0.50/1 – Heinz Tomato Ketchup, 13 oz or larger from RP 6/22
Final Price: $1.46
Bought 1 French’s Mustard $1.18, regular price
Used one $0.30/1 – French’s Yellow Classic Mustard (frenchs.com)
Final Price: $0.88
Bought 1 Vlasic Pickle Relish, 10 oz $0.98, regular price
Used one $0.50/1 – Vlasic Pickles, Peppers or Relish from SS 5/11
Final Price: $0.48
Bought 1 Snickers Ice Cream Bars, 6 ct $2.97, regular price
Used one $1.50/ 1 – Mars Ice Cream Multi-Packs: Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Milky Way Brand or Dovebar, 3-14 ct (coupons2.smartsource.com)
Final Price: $1.47
Buy 2 Ziploc Sandwich Bags, 50 ct $2.28, regular price
Buy 1, Receive $2.50 with Ibotta
Use one $1.00/2 – Ziploc Bags (coupons.com)
Pay $3.56, Submit for $2.50 Ibotta Credit
Final Price: $0.53 each, when you buy 2
Bic Sensitive Disposable Razors, 12 pk $2.68, regular price
Use $2.00/1 – Bic Disposable Razor from SS 6/29
Final Price: $0.68
Birds Eye Recipe Ready, 8 0z $1.00, regular price
Use $1.00/1 – Birds Eye Recipe Ready Product (smartsource.com)
Final Price: Free
So Delicious Coconut Milk $1.98, regular price
Buy 1, Receive $1.00 with Ibotta
Use $1.00/1 – So Delicious Dairy Free Product from SS 6/15
Paid $0.98, Submit for $1.00 Ibotta Credit
Final Price: $0.02 Moneymaker
Dial Bar Soap, 2 pk $0.97, regular price
Buy 1, Receive $1.00 with Ibotta
Paid $0.97, Submit for $1.00 Ibotta Credit
Final Price: $0.03 Moneymaker
Brach’s Gummi Worms, 8 oz $1.28, regular price
Use $1.50/1 – Brach’s Candy Product, 12 oz or smaller from RP 5/11
Final Price: $0.22 Moneymaker
Wet n Wild Eyeliner Pencil, $0.93, regular price
Use $1.00/1 – Wet N Wild or Fergie Product from RP 6/29
Final Price: $0.07 Moneymaker
Eggs, 1 dozen $1.23, regular price
Buy 1, Receive $0.50 with Checkout 51
Pay $1.23, Submit for $0.50 Checkout 51 Credit
Final Price: $0.73
Pure Protein Single Bars $1.46, regular price
Use B1G1 Free – Pure Protein Single Bar from RP 5/4
Final Price: $0.73 each, when you buy 2
Are you ready for the 4th?
I love to prepare for Chinese New Year. It is a holiday not just full of fun and festivity, but also full of good habits and practical life application.
Starting the new lunar year means to sweep out all the old dust and to get the house as clean as possible for a new start. I call it my winter cleaning. It makes spring cleaning much easier. Things are more organized so I don’t find myself overbuying things I want, need, or already have. There is less clutter and it helps remind me to maintain my home. For example I change smoke alarm batteries and air filters in the air conditioning.
The Chinese New Year is also a time to pull myself out of debt. Whether it is five dollars I owe a friend or an outstanding gas bill payment, my goal is to have it paid off by the lunar new year. With that goal in mind I can plan to set that money aside (even if it hurts a little). It also helps me to avoid new debts that may be tempting me.
In With The New
My own personal addition to these festivities are taking inventory of what I want new this year. After we have counted Christmas gifts, taken inventory of what we already have, and thrown out the things we don’t want, the list of what we do want new is much shorter. Next we own why we want an item and if we will actually make use of it. We also make sure we finish projects to make room for other projects.
What are your plans to prepare for Chinese New Year?
Celebrate Christmas with ABC Family and Pillsbury as they share recipes and fun Holiday ideas for the whole family!