Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CnC: Thrifty Christmas

I asked a while ago if you like what I blog about or want me to blog about other things.  Someone specifically asked for Christmas ideas.

Let's see what I can come up with...

Baked Goodies.  Anything special from your kitchen will go over very well. 
  • From my kitchen, I'll be serving up some White Chocolate Fudge.  Personally, I spring for Trader Joe's Mint Jo Jos to put in there. 
  • I also like to make Homemade Marshmallows and Hot Chocolate.  I use a snowflake shaped cookie cutter to make my marshmallows extra special. 
  • I have a couple of special cookie recipes too:  Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Craisins (or Cherry Craisins), Sugar Cookies with a pinch of nutmeg finished with a glaze made with rum extract makes plain sugar cookies taste like Egg Nog.   
  • I like to give my Nanny's Fruitcake as a gift too.  The recipe is a family secret. 
Crafty Goodies.  I tried doing a few things last year and I found that I don't have the space and the patience to make things as nice as I'd like, but here are a couple of ideas...
  • Marble Magnets are useful and thoughtful.
  • T-Shirt Bags made from t-shirts purcheased Goodwill for $2 or less are fun and creative.  I found that duct tape can be expensive.  I even bought iron-on vinyl to line them and make them water proof. 
  • Covered Journals - I take plain composition books and cover them with scrapbooking paper.  If you're like me and bought composition books in August or September when they were on sale with school supplies and you use left over scrapbooking materials, this could cost less than $1. 
  • Personal Care Items - You can make cleansers and scrubs and such with stuff that is already in your kitchen.  This website has some great ideas. 
Cheap Goodies.  This year, I'm clipping coupons and picking out some inexpensive stuff...
  • For kids: Free Travel Games are always fun and inexpensive, little girls would like Crayola Pixies stuff, and you can't go wrong with Lifesaver Story Books are on sale at Target for $2.33 and you can print coupons.  Print them twice and get 6 gifts for $8!
  • For adults:  Find a few coupon blogs you like and watch for deals on things like razors and chocolate.  I find The Krazy Coupon Lady's website easy to use.  There are tabs for stores you might be looking for.  This week, you can get free Snickers Nutcrackers at Walgreeens and 99 cent Hersheys Pot of Gold boxes at RiteAid.  Last week, I picked up two free razor sets.
  • For fun:  Nail polish and eye shaddow is almost always Buy One Get Second for 50% off or something.  You can use coupons on both items so you can get some fun feminine stuff in case Mommy's stocking is "overlooked" by "Santa". 
At the end of the day, we give gifts because the Greatest Gift, Jesus - God's own Son, was given to us.  It's not a competition for the biggest and the best.  So I think it really is the thought that counts.  That being said, presentation can make an inexpensive gift much more thoughtful... at least you took the time to make it pretty.  I like to make up pretty little gift boxes or bags or baskets with personal touches or an ornament. Find cute “fillers” (tea towels, candles, coffee mugs, etc..) at the Dollar Store or at drug stores like Walgreens and RiteAid.  I try to make up a few extras as hostess gifts or exchangables or teacher gifts.

At preschool alone, Seth has three teachers in the classroom, one administrator, and one speech therapist; he also has a second speech therapist.  Each kiddo is in a different class at MOPS that have at least three workers.   At minimum, I have to come up with EIGHTEEN teacher gifts.  At the rate I'm going,  And I really would like to be able to gather up enough stuff for the Garbage Men and our Mail Carrier.  We also have three sets of siblings and spouses, seven and a half nieces, three nephews, four parents, and one grandparent.  We have to be creative ... and it has to be small enough to fit in a USPS Flat Rate Box

"But CnC, how do you have the time and energy?"
"Fret not, Dear Reader, I don't.  I use artifical stimulants like caffeine and sugar to multiply my time."



  1. LOL, do we represent the "half-niece"? You do a great job Clara. We LOVED the marshmellows and coco... especially those marshmellows!!!

  2. I'll add you to my list of people who make homemade beauty items - i'm forever passing on pretty little jars and pots that i can't stand to throw away but have no use for my own self. Just gave one to Molly last night.

    Also, we have a trillion and one t-shirts. If you ever want some of our stash to make bags from, say the word!

  3. Great ideas Clara! Thanks for posting.