Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Holiday Havoc

The holidays are making their way into my mind already. It’s
a curse. I finally get a handle on our budget only to realize that Christmas is
right around the corner and I’ve got to find a way to buy gifts for all of our
family members. I wrote an article entitled, 8 Creative Ways to Downsize the
that will be published in the December issue of Simple Joy. I’ll
post a link when it is available. I only hope that I can follow my own advice.

I’d like to hear if anyone has any genius ideas on cutting
down expenditures over the holidays. My son already has a working Christmas
list that includes, among other things, the complete monorail/castle set that
he was admiring at one of the seven million gift shops on Disney property. It
costs a ridiculous amount and we have nowhere to put it. How can I steer his
attention to some books, DVDs and smaller toys? What about making it his
mission to give? How can I be the mother of the kid that they feature on the
news who, at the ripe old age of five, starts a toy donation campaign for
children in need? I want to be that Mom. If you have any ideas about how to
turn my greedy five year old into a prodigious philanthropist, please pass them
on. I’m all ears.


  1. First, thank you so much for your latest fabulous post on my blog. I really enjoy and look forward to your comments.
    Second, my eleven year old wanted a drum set for Christmas. A professional band-worthy set. My husband and I, both sets of grandparents and one set of aunt and uncle pooled our resources and got it as one big gift from all of us. It worked.
    Third, for parents, in-laws and my fav aunt, I made simple scrapbooks a few years ago. Inexpensive, but time consuming; using loads of stickers, markers etc., it worked well and they all loved it.
    Thirdly, congrats on your upcoming article! It's always exciting to see your name in print. Can't wait to read your tips!

  2. I still lean toward shooting a shotgun out the door Christmas Eve, serving a nice venison roast for lunch Christmas Day, and telling the kids to get over it, everybody has to eat, and Rudolph made a can't miss target. HO HO HO!!!!

  3. Our idea last year, which we stuck to loosely, was to only get the kids 6 gifts each---3 from mommy and daddy and 3 from Santa. The idea was to model the 3 gifts from the wise men to Baby Jesus. I think if you could institute this and the kids knew what to expect it might work. Of course I found a work-around to this: for example I counted the Barbie house and several barbies as one gift...likewise with the Leapster and numerous games. So, in all truthfulness, the kids really got more than 6 gifts. Still, I think overall it was helpful that we set a limit and tried to stick to it.

  4. Solutions? Hmmm. When you find one, let me know :) I do a big toy clearout once a year, and send the stuff off to the school thrift shop if it hasn't been used in awhile. And, if it's a big thing they want, I check Craigslist first (nothing wrong with going secondhand :). Both my boys' birthdays are weeks from's a gift fest for a total month.

  5. You know, all my kids are grown and married. So maybe advice from a grandma, isn't what you really wanted. Anyhow, if you spend an afternoon with your child, baking cookies and deliver them to locate nursing homes, it would bring joy to alot of people and make your child see another side of the world.

  6. I always thought of taking my children to a children's hospital with gifts for the sick children to make them better appreciate health and no that it is the best gift we were given. I have thought of it but have not done it.
    Hey, and congratulations for having an article published. Woo Hoo

  7. Well since my family is so large, we only buy for the kids now, so that helps tremendously with our budget. I am going to start buying things here and there now with Johnny's bonuses, so that was our checking account doesn't really feel the impact too much.

  8. We started putting aside a cd dedicated to the buying of Christmas gifts each year. It's usually a 6-month CD with a small amount automatically added each month, but it makes us save.
    We also teach our sons that there is always someone out there who is less fortunate than they are. The eldest was happy to donate his toddler bed when he got his "big boy bed," and the little one just let the Pacifier Fair (another story entirely!) take his pacifier so that a baby who doesn't have one could use it.
    I made scrapbooked calendars for the grandparents and aunts a few years ago. If you buy a kit and make it assembly line-style, it's a great and inexpensive gift.
    Good luck!

  9. Keli-
    Great idea on the one big gift. I've thought about that but coming up with something AND having room for it may be an issue.
    Scrapbooks are a great idea. It's the MAKING of them that I have second thoughts about :)

  10. Mental note: steer clear of Papa Dale's house at the holidays.

  11. Jackie-
    Yeah, we tried the same thing and we stuck to it but it was still too much stuff. I tried to jam too many gifts into that requirement.

  12. Janine-
    Craig's list is a great idea. I'm certainly not above some second hand gifts.

  13. Thanks Maribeth. You and I have the same problem: we have great philanthropic ideas but it is actually acting on them that is the problem.

  14. Candice-
    We just started doing a kid's only thing last year. Plus, we draw names on Sean's side which helps.

  15. Rosemary-
    Great idea about the CD. My husband's work offers some type of holiday savings plan but we've never actually taken the time to take advantage of it. It's time.