Riii-iiight … so here’s the almost mid November Christmas Check list… for a frugally type Christmas.
- FOOD – I.E. DINNER AND AFTERS: Turkey in freezer… just need to get bum into gear and prep some veggies to add to it… also very freezable. Need a Christmas pud and sharpish… or I’ll leave no time for brandy tot adding.
- DECORATION – TREE & ROOM: Much easier to ‘make do’… we have our union jack bunting, there is of course the obligatory paper chain (kids love making) and I have some nice little ideas for Christmas tree decorations that I’m testing out… all those old magazines and free in store books coming in useful now. I love the freebie book type mags from Asda and Tesco at the moment… they’re full of Christmassy pictures that are great for making decorations and little boxes. Probably not the point of them but hey!
- PREZZIES: KIDS X3 + OTHER FAMILY KIDS: MrC won’t spill what he’s bought for me… so in the spirit of thhppffft [blows raspberries] I’m not going to tell him either… but its something he wants and its useful. We’ve bought the kids main prezzy and they’ve been trying to guess ever since. We’d like to get them another little thingy or two still… and I have a few ideas in mind.
- On the subject of other lil kids in the family… We have a rash of babies and little tots and then some cousins at about K and Ns age. The older ones I’m more inclined to give some money in a card, its easier as kids can have a very definite idea of what they like at that age. Kids over 7 aren’t in it for the person gift giving experience. For the babies and tots I’ve been collecting items of clothing all year. One of the few plus points of all our towns’ larger stores going out of business are the closing down and 75% off sales.
- GIFTS – FAMILY TOKEN GIFTS: I have a wicked (HOME MADE) idea for these. We used to buy the big tins of chocolates, which cost about £4 each. Not too bad price wise but it soon adds up over a large family. I have a home made, nice and personal, frugal but not difficult or original idea… but I wont share until closer to the time…Lets just say it involves me making more boxes.
- GIFT WRAPPING: We have a roll of brown paper from our LOCAL stationers. Its also available at ALDI if anyone wants to give some good old-fashioned wrapping a go. I had some old brown raffia which I’ll be using it for the union jack bunting… but… Wilkinson’s is selling a box of 3 colours/ rolls for £1… the sets of three rolls come in a few colour choices… I like the red/ brown and white. The red and white will look great against the brown paper. I may… if I get time… decorate the paper. IF I WAS buying ready decorated paper I’d either get something like this http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/10223378/ or something simple… perhaps plain silver or gold paper. Plain paper can be more cost effective because you don’t have to just use it for Christmas.
- CARDS: I was considering letting the kids loose with these… that gorgeous card like lining paper on the roll (Wilkinson’s from £2 to £3 per roll) will make great cards… then all the kids have to do is add some drawings or stick on some seasonal shapes. Voila!
- ADVENT CALENDERS FOR KIDS: I Made the (25 X 3) little boxes but need to buy some little chocolates/ sweeties for inside them… np Aldi do allot of that sort of thing this time of year… PLUS Pound world are ridding themselves of old Halloween sweets stock. Hey a sweet is a sweet and if I really want to get clever I can melt the gum/ chewy type sweeties down and pour them into more Christmassy moulds… which also come in useful for and Christmassy baking.
- Set a budget for Christmas and KEEP IT
- Making a gift can often be far more personal and thoughtful than the item you got free when you bought something else.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good book. An avid reader will always appreciate another opportunity to separate from reality and dive into a good story. If I want books (or want to sell ones we’re not reading) I go to play.com… I get kids books (or DVDs) first and second hand for a fraction of what I’d get them for anywhere else.
- Don’t go too OTT on the ‘useful gifts idea’, I’ve heard stories of people getting loo rolls… DON’T DO IT. A little luxury is nice this time of year.
- PLAN AHEAD FOR DINNER! Don’t leave it until the last minute… the shelves at the shops will be empty!
- Christmas cake/ pudding is great but kids usually aren’t too thrilled about it… why not try something less traditional and more family friendly. Nothing says Christmas and pudding like being sat on the sofa (with belt undone) eating something chocolaty… or better yet something chocolate orangey.
- No Waste… Do you remember how carefully your grandmother opened her gifts so she could keep the wrapping paper? Well take a leaf out of her book. Gift bags are also TOTALLY recyclable. If the tags have been written on, just tear them off and add one of your own! Your turkey bones will go a long way to making a great stock… and Christmas leftovers, once totally cooled, can be kept for the next days breakfast/ lunch.
- Money off vouchers… they’re everywhere… make use of them. Its worth it if for example you’re a Tesco’s shopper… collect the points through out the year and you’ll have a Christmas dinners worth by December.
- Garden produce can make a great gift… especially if you’re bringing a course or plate of something to a party.
- Make your own decorations… its cheap (or free), recycling and FUN!
- If you’ve got a decent group of friends or family… why not share the cost of the day… everyone bring a course or a bottle. Its okay to have the dinner/ lunch in sittings… gives you more time to chat/ quaff the vino.
- Cards… buy ahead of time… January everyone will be ridding the shelves of them…OR BETTER YET make them your self… keep old cards you were sent and reuse them or parts of them on this years cards. If you want to get ahead of the game, as friends and family to keep them for you.
- A bit of nature can make glorious seasonal décor… think mistletoe and holly… or just something fresh and green.
- What to wear? Unless you’re trying to impress don’t go overboard. We’ve got a nice quiet Christmas planned with a trip over to Mams in the morning (after present opening)… The kids will get something new… but I’m thinking more practical. A sparkly top to go with my black maxi skirt. Not to seasonal so I can easily use it again and again… formally, on a night out or to jazz up some jeans. And when it wears out it too will become part of that years Xmas décor. LOL
- Relax on the cheap… a jigsaw or a nice film is easy, cheap and requires few if any batteries… switch of what doesn’t need to be on and enjoy this momentary blip in your busy year of comings and goings. Don’t knock Cluedo, Uno, trivial pursuit or pictionary. Pop on the old Christmas feel good movies… popcorn is cheap and easy… and it SO makes a night in.
- Don’t forget the Christmas post lunch walks… tell the kids to run round the garden and you can watch from the warmth of the house with a hot cuppa. I’m frugal not stupid!