November 14, 2008

Thinking About Christmas

It has started...slowly but surely the world is becoming Christmasy. I love Christmas myself, but I like to wait until at least after Thanksgiving to decorate. You get tired of it after awhile...

So that leads me to think about what things we want to do this year, such as, do we want to get a real tree or use our fake Charlie Brown one? Are we going to put lights up outside, what goodies shall I bake, what presents will we buy/make?

I for one wish to simplify things a bit this year. I say that every year, but this time there just aren't a lot of funds to spend. Every year I watch my children pretty much destroy what they get for Christmas and get overwhelmed with it all, so I don't see the point in going all out on the presents. They just get torn up anyways, especially if they're cheap.

My husband and I are planning to save whatever bonus he will get for something important, like paying off debts and moving. That means I must buy a little at a time and make some things. Some ideas I've had so far:

I found a yummy looking recipe called Christmas Jam
You can make this and decorate with pretty fabric on top. You can google 'gifts in a jar' and find all kinds of recipes for cookies and drink mixes to give.

For the girls, I have seen some tiny little porcelain tea sets at the dollar store for $1 that I am planning to get. Also I can sew doll clothes, doll blankets, night gowns etc. We can get art supplies and go to second hand stores to look for dress up clothes. They do need clothes and shoes as well, so I will keep my eyes open for that too.

This year, instead of buying fru fru Christmas dresses, I will purchase some cotton Christmas print fabric and make them jumpers to wear with white or red turtlenecks. I only need about 1.5 yards of fabric for each child, which averages about $4-5 and I don't need buttons or zippers. However, if I find some cute Christmas buttons I may get some for embellishment.

I had also planned on making a gingerbread house with the girls. I need to research it a bit more though...I've made one before, but my grandmother made the actual cookie pieces and I just helped put it together and decorate. It was fun! (yeah, I was like 16 years old too)

So anyways, just thinking and thinking about it. I want it to be fun and full of memories, not a ball of stress and hassle. Here's a picture of last year's Christmas tree- the $30 one from Walmart.


VictoriousMommy said...

I think everyone's Christmas will be less stressed, less commercial this year. Everyone is suffering financially....or at least everyone I know is. I actually look forward to it. I think it will make people focus more on the true meaning of Christmas.
I have tried to stick with the three gift rule for my children....but have yet been able to do so. This year we decided that hubby and I would not exchange gifts and instead I saved up and got the entire family a WII. It is a complete surprise for the kids. Then I got the kids one game. Other than that I have gotten a couple of small gifts for them throughout the year on clearance as I have had extra cash. I am glad I did because here at Christmas we have found our finances exhausted.
By the way I thought your tree was beautiful last year.

Doll Clothes Gal said...

Yep, its on its way. The best thing to do about Chritmas is be prepared! Good luck.

Robyn said...

If you made the girls' jumpers in a solid color they could wear them all year round instead of just for one day . . .

Anonymous said...

Hey! I am still getting over the fact that Thanksgiving is coming so soon! LOL

Anonymous said...

I learned from past experience that it is much easier, more enjoyable and actually cheaper (especially with a coupon) to purchase the gingerbread house kit and pick up some clearance cany or use leftover helloween candy to decorate when the children are little. Put the house together one night and decorate it the next day. This makes it a 2 day event and soooooo much more fun not to mention less stress and whatnot from purchasing ingredients and all the baking and clean up.

Kristi said...

We are trying to keep it simple for this Christmas as well. We bought each of the kids a robe (I would have made it, but the fabric cost more than the robe!), and a "poof" to sit on, but other than what things I can get from the dollar store for stocking stuffers, their "main" gifts are going to be homemade: a doll and doll clothes for my daughter and a new block set made from scrap wood for my son. My mom used to wrap dollar bills (about 5 singles) in a large box just to make it look full under the Christmas tree. We were thrilled with having our own "spending money". I like using oversized boxes for everything because that creates an illusion as well. A great looking Christmas tree, full with gifts can make any kids eyes go "ga-ga" but it is also nice to have a Christmas morning tradition to take the focus off the gift giving; we are going to start with a Bible reading this year since our church doesn't hold a morning service on Christmas morning.

Anonymous said...

We're doing the same... reducing the dollars spent on Christmas this year. We bought a small, new Christmas tree pre-lit at Lowe's (hardware store) for $19.95! I notice that no matter what the tree looks like undecorated, it always looks beautiful after it has lights and ornaments. Just take a wad of christmas lights and turn it on and you'll see your kids oooh and aaah over just that alone. It really takes very little to make the kids amazed when it comes to decorations!

I bought my daughter's Christmas dress at Goodwill this year. It's beautiful! A red velvet, long, glittery one on sale for about $3. You might find something cute there, giving you more time to get the presents made.

It's crazy, but when I only have a couple gifts for my kids to open, I feel stingy ~ even though they trash or get bored quickly with their gifts. So, then I buy more than we can afford. Then I resent it! So, this year it will be one "big" present, one book, and one thing to put together. period. Then the stockings will have practical things in them from the dollar store. That's it! We've got to get back to a normal sense of what Christmas is.
Oh, friend, start this when they are young and can't compare "last year's gross abundance" with "this year's frugality"~~!!! They'll be happier in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!! Funny you mention this now, I was just talking with my mother in law about this today! I am in an "enjoy the season, make it simple" mode. I find we experience much of the same as your family, although our kids at 16 and 18 now. They get lots of stuff and forget what they got by a couple of days later, then months down the road they come out with something and say "when did I get this" silly isn't it.

I plan this year to get my daughter (18) practical things that she can use NOW, like a gift certificate to the gas station she uses most, a new robe and slippers things of this nature. My son is so much harder to buy for I have to say; he loves his music she I will probably get him the machine thingy to hook up to his laptop. We are only going to spend about $100 on each child. We don't buy for each other, we do lots of little things all year long for each other so we just don't see the necessity of it.....we really love to see the kids enjoy Christmas so that is our gift.

I hope your whole holiday season is everything you want it to be! Blessings to you and your family.

Jen S. in AZ

Mrs.KAOS said...

Two suggestions: if you by extra fabric this year, you may be able to hand down the two largest jumpers and just make a new one for the eldest (sorry I'm horrible at name/age stuff and can't remember the girls birth orders)and if you don't have time to make the ginger bread you can cheat and use gram-crackers. They make very boxy houses and you need to ice/glue them to a "frame" (like a paper milk carton) if you plan on a tall house, but they are cheap and easy. Good Luck!