Danielle - posted on 11/10/2008 ( 14 moms have responded )
Here are just a few suggestions based on what my husband and I (who are on a ridiculously tight budget) did this year!
We have a four year boy who is crazy into super heroes... unfortunately most of these toys are rather pricey at Target / Walmart, etc. I spent the summer shopping the clearance of these stores, as well as TJ Maxx. Another great place we got gifts for him from was an outlet store in the NE states called "Ollies". We got all his coloring books (.50 a piece) and a good amount of super-hero things from there. They buyout of namebrand stores so all of it is high quality. For example I picked up a 12" Superman toy for only $3.00 (vs $15-$20 at a named store).
I am doing all of his stocking stuffers at the Dollar Store
.. which brings me to my biggest way I'm saving money this year. My husband and I both went through divorces recently, and both of us lost all of our Christmas decorations to the other spouse and neither of us have repurchased anything since then. After digging around online, I've actually found that I can do all of my decorating at Dollar General! And for very low prices. They even sell artificial trees (one around 6ft only runs $20-30). Personally, I never would have thought to look there, but I found Christmas Cards ($3 a box), candy for stuffing stockings, lots of little toys (including a remote controlled car for only $2 and a $3 cap gun), the beaded garland for our tree, and the ribbon for the bows on the tree ($1 a roll for 2" wide wire ribbons! - much more reasonable than even Walmart's prices).
I've decided to forgo all ornaments this year and am only doing the tree with clear lights, red bead garland, and a beautiful holiday ribbon in red/gold that I am tying in bows at the top of the tree, and letting the long stands hang down. The only ornaments are going to be homemade cardboard pieces cut out into stars, trees, and bells that are then going to be sewn with wide stitches on the outside with colored yarn and hung with ribbon (a very traditional and easy project). This eliminates a lot of money on buying ornaments (furnishing a whole tree at once can be pricey) and is giving our home a very "homey" and traditional christmas look. I also picked up a 24" wreath for $5, and am using the left over ribbon to decorate it and hang it on our wall in the dining room.
Just thought I'd share in case anyone else was looking for easy/cheap ways to decorate this year on a budget!