Christmas blues...

Tina - posted on 11/28/2008 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Anybody have any ideas on how to have a great Christmas when money is tight? I work full time and have 7 kids, so making anything is not a possiblity for me.

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Corina - posted on 01/02/2009

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Tina, my idea won't help this year but maybe next year, I shop at the Real Canadian Wholesale club ( they have one where you live) and they have coupon's in there flyers that if you spend 250.00 and use the coupon they give you a $25 gift card...I save up my shopping so that I make the 250.00 min and then I save the gift cards till I need to do my Chirstmas shopping and I can either use them to buy my Groceries so that my Grocery Budget is now free to use to buy gifts or I buy gifts or you can also use them at the Gas Bar for fuel that free's that part of my budget as well... just a idea...

Colleen - posted on 12/30/2008

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These are all great ideas! I have a different problem. My mother came from dirt poor beginnings and it now obsessed with over purchasing for everyone. My 2.5 year old son couldn't keep interested long enough to unwrap all the gifts she gave him this year! It's ridiculous. She's over compensating and I don't know what to do. I think I'll steal the 3 gift max idea and tell her she has to abide by it. I just don't have the room in my house for all the STUFF. And the kids always have more fun with the packaging anyway...

Wendy - posted on 12/14/2008

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one year i only had $150 to spend on christmas and got very creative.i got one gift each for $30 that was on thier list and just got creative with the rest. the dollar store is my best freind. i got a plastic tote and put all kinds of arts and crafts supplies in it. also depending on your kids ages crazy carpets are only $3 and supply endless hours of entertainment. watch for board games to go on sale you can usually find them for $10. i also cruise the clearance isle not just in the toy section. i personally believe that christmas should be about being together and i dont remember many gifts i was given over the years but do remember building gingerbread housing and baking cooking and playing board games.

Tanya - posted on 12/12/2008

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I love the idea of only 3 gifts. We try it stick to that at our house as well.

I have to share... in 2005 we moved into our house just before Christmas. We were staying w/ my mom and had a box of mac n cheese that we were going to make for the kids that first night when we were trying to unpack. I couldn't find it for anything. Low and behold when I was wrapping presents I found it and wrapped it up for my youngest at the time who had just turned 5. Do you know that was the funnest gift she's ever gotten. We still talk about it and laugh. My husband said they used to get snacks and pop growing up as well. I'm a big clearance shopper. I start after school supplies and school pictures are done for sure sometimes even earlier. If you keep looking in the clearance stuff every time you can you will find plenty of stuff.

Tarilyn - posted on 12/07/2008

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You would be AMAZED by how much of your Christmas shopping can be done at the dollar store. Hair accesories for an older girl, chocolates for everyone, gloves, scarves hats, toys fo rhte younger kids, books, card games, coloring books/crayons, craft/art supplies, stuff to help do a little 'redecorating" for a child/teens room. Clearance sales at WalMart, Zellers, Sears. Always keep your eyes out. Kijiji, your local papers selling area, etc. I totally know what the tight money is like (and I only have one child!) Also I know its kind of late, but you can always check wtih your local Salvation Army or Food Bank to get help with food and gifts for your kids!! (Salvation Army is still taking applications I think till the end of this week?!) Good Luck and don't get too down! Remember, Christmas is more about the time you get to spend with your family!!

Jennifer - posted on 12/04/2008

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I never spend much on stocking stuffers. Socks and underwear, a chocolate and an orange. That leaves room usually for a Christmas ornament and MAYBE a small toy which you can get at the dollar store.

Shannon - posted on 12/04/2008

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For as long as i can remember, "santa" has put socks, toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, gum, body wash, smelly soaps, oranges in our stockings! Most of these items you can get at dollar stores. And while we are on the subject of dollar stores, they are awesome..you can get tons of stuff in them for a buck (and that's a canadian dollar LOL) that would be 2-5 elsewhere!

Tasha - posted on 12/04/2008

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I have a friend who does this and I plan to start. SHe fills stockings with socks, underwear, toiletries... They are things you would need to buy anyway, she knows her family has new/clean items that will fit (for a while anyway) and it fills up the stocking. Socks can be fun ones or plain white, whatever you want. Then Santa brings another gift that is someting they wanted.

Jennifer - posted on 12/04/2008

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One thing I did that saved me a ton was ordered a bunch of things online at Toys R US. They have a Clearance section and if you order the clearance stuff online it is 50% off the listed price. I got TMX Elmo for 9.98 and tons of other great deals. I live in Whitby, Ontario and there is a store, Once Upon a Child which has second hand stuff. Lastly, I suggest looking at the flyers. That's how I do all my shopping and if you get to the stores when the sales start you can get some really good deals.

Sarah - posted on 12/03/2008

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Try baking from scratch with the kids when they are off school for the holiday. This is much cheaper than buying baked goods at the store. I promise they will remember the fun they had dancing and singing christmas songs with mom while they rolled out cookie dough much more clearly than what was under the tree. The best thing you can give your kids are traditions and memories.

Kristen - posted on 12/03/2008

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We have a tradition of putting an orange in the stocking. There was once a time in our family where money was tight and fruit precious. So it is a reminder of it. Also it fills a nice chunk of the sticking as well! Usually $1 store items are in the stocking, candy or some other cheap or funny thing there. Many times for girls you can get bulk packages or makeup or nail polish. You can split these up into several stockings. Don't forget age old things like a jump rope or stickers for the younger ones (not too young). For boys a Nerf ball or hacky sack, playing cards or candy are nice. Nothing fancy and off brands are okay. We just keep it light and funny. One year my sister got a pack of "Bubba" teeth at the $1 store and we all had one to put on. It cost her hardly a thing but we will always remember putting them on and being silly together.

Another tip is the kids wrapping their gift in a scrap of off fabric from a fabric store (scraps are sold for pennies). Also you can use paper bags to wrap gifts and have the kids decorate them with markers, crayons, glued on tissue paper..whatever. Scraps can be kept in a scrapbook as well. You can also use butcher paper as well. Lets face it gift wrapping these days can cost more than the gift!

Another thing is encouraging the kids to make gifts for each other and for you. OR they can do their own gift exchange (Chinese, yankee, white elepant or otherwise) It can be really fun! This year one of our family groups decided to exchange $5 ornaments that best represent your personality, then we don't label them and draw numbers. The third person to trade for the gift gets to keep for good.

Other saver is check out craigs list for free items as well and call your local church for ideas or if they have programs in place. Not sure if you are a single mom but I know our church has a program in place. We actually give our single moms gift cards so they can shop for their kids. The kids are taken shopping to get their mom something while the moms are treated to a banquet in their honor where they will get the cards. If you need this and are in the DFW Texas area check out www.gatewaypeople.com

We just do 3 gifts max per our own children or one nice one. (Hey Jesus got three presents, that was good enough for him!) Plus filling the stocking. With my side immediate family we buy one gift for each child and all adults draw a name of another adult.

Hope these help ladies!

Jaimie - posted on 12/03/2008

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I figure us parents put too much pressure on ourselves to "keep up with the Jones'. In my family, we have eliminated the adult sibling gifts, the best gift for us at Christmas is enjoying a fantastic meal together & watching the kids enjoy themselves & their gifts. We put a $50.00 for parents combined if there are two. For the kids, they get their big Santa present, this does not have to be expensive, it is just what they want the most. Then I buy 2 gifts each for them from myself & my husband. There are always stockings filled with little nick nacks & such. My husband & I don't buy for each other either but we do take the kids out to buy gifts for us ($25.00 max). I made this a tradition in my house 8 years ago when my daughter was only 1. I remember being embarrassed when people would come over and see how many gifts were under the tree for 1 child. I ended up giving many of them to a christmas charity the following year. I feel that the over spending & greed has taken away from the joy of christmas & causes a lot of stress that we can all do without. I hope this helps a little. Happy holidays from my family to yours.

Diana - posted on 12/03/2008

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try kijiji or used edmonton.com I have found many things on there.. also.. toys r us.ca usually has things on line for cheaper then in the store and its only 5$ flat shipping (i live in edmonton) no matter how much you order.

Tina - posted on 12/02/2008

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Thanks for all the ideas and input! BTW, I live in Bonnyville, Alberta, Canada and have 7 kids.

Hillarie - posted on 12/02/2008

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To get money for Christmas this year I packed up a bunch of outgrown clothes and toys and sold them to a consinement shop. Then I sold some home made items at a craft sale. I made enough money to give my kids a good Christmas!

Rachel - posted on 12/02/2008

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Try Freecycle.com they often have toys that people are clearing out. You may have to sort through stuff but I am sure you could find some great things. Good Luck.

Robin - posted on 12/02/2008

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I find lots of like new used things at thrift stores like Savers or Value Village here in Minneapolis, MN. And most of those stores even have half price days you just have to find out when they are.

Jaime - posted on 12/01/2008

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I agree that Craig's list is a good place to find used items....kind of like an online garage sale! One way that I allocate a little more money to the holidays is to cut costs elsewhere in my budget. Here in Oklahoma ( and I know other states have it too) I discovered "Angel Food Ministries" it is NOT income based and it really helps save on the food bill.

Nicole - posted on 12/01/2008

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We are doing an old yankee swap this year with our family. Last year we did the regular old yankee swap, but someone (a wealthy friend of the family) introduced a new version this year and we are going to try it. You find something old in your house that you recieved as a gift or don't really want but someone else really may love and enjoy. Wrap it up put it under the tree not labeled. We try to make the gifts unisex. This may really only be for the adults, but we do draw names for all the kids, 13 an under (14 and up get in with the adults) draw names on Thanksgiving and buy a gift for that childs giving them a month to save up and buy. This could work with large families and or small ones. We have all accepted we can't buy a gift for everyone any more and this way you may only have to buy 2 gifts. You and your kids could draw names and each make or buy a special gift for that one person!! We always set a price limit.



.... Happy Holidays to all!!

Jacqui - posted on 11/28/2008

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My parents started doing a gift exchange between the family members and then just giving us each money--and stocking gifts. I think it wound up being cheaper for them, and it eliminated the isk of buying things for your kids that they never use. I think we used to all go out together on boxing day to buy stuff with our money, which is also great because then everything's on sale! If money is REALLY tight you could always just do the gift exchange. I think this would depend on the ages of your kids though. May not work SO great if you have a bunch of kids under 3 or something.

Shannon - posted on 11/28/2008

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Not sure where you live, but here in Greater Vancouver BC, Craigslist.org is huge for getting good quality used toys. I got over 250 worth of toys (little people farm, garage etc etc) for $37 total!

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