Our girls are 19 and 22 now. We've decided that is too old for stockings. So we'll save $125cdn. right there (we used to do one for our son-in-law and each other too).
I went through my gift box the other day with dh and we matched gifts to recipients. I have most everything already...and what I don't have people will receive homemade chocolates and flavoured nuts.
Dh doesn't want Santa gifts either this year. I agree, though it does take the fun out of Christmas I think. It really does just become another day of the year. Oh well.
We were thinking of buying an artificial tree to replace the real one we buy each year. But we are also toying with the idea of going on vacation over Christmas, now the kids are grown. So why burden ourselves with a tree we won't use? DD#2 has kind of thrown our plans for a loop by still living with us after 18 yo. We basically keep Christmas the same because of her.
I'm hoping Christmas comes in at well under $500 this year.
Cricket's post reminded me of something. For those of you wanting to do teacher gifts but keep it low cost, please consider just writing a nice thank-you note. I used to teach, and honestly, I appreciated those notes far more than any trinkets that people gave me. I didn't like receiving mugs because I don't drink coffee, and I really don't have the storage room for them. I'm super sensitive to scents, so scented lotions and gels were often thrown away or given away. Baked goods are nice, but I have food sensitivites (can't eat chocolate, for example) and a strong gag reflex when it comes to nuts.
I was never, ever ungrateful for any of the gifts, but the thank-you notes are the things I kept and cherish to this day. It costs nothing more than a notecard and some time spent writing. Everyone likes a little encouragement and compliments!
Christmas will feel different this year with my dad passing away in June and my brother fighting cancer now. We'll go up north and see everyone and get my moms' tree and decorations up for her, it means a lot to her. My mom and I have always enjoyed baking and we always bake a lot of our gifts. I bake for the teachers and bus driver and always include a note of thanks. I bake for a bachelor uncle in the family. Gift certificate for my mother-in-law that all the kids go together on to make it a little more substantial. My mom and I are very close and I pick up little things for her all year.......the trick is to know when to stop. I quilt for my best friend and sister-in-law. My dh and I always decide ahead what we'll do for gifts, one thing each or something for the house.......usually the house wins. He always gets me a nice smelling candle too! My kids on the other hand are a different story. I cleaned up the basement the other day and just shook my head, they don't need a darn thing. Oh don't get me wrong, there will be gifts but last year we really scaled down and they didn't seem to notice.
No one has mentioned what a treat it is to have homesteadmama posting again!!!!!!!!! I was so surprised to read your post! I enjoy reading your thought on here and always learn something from them!
Next year I plan to put away $20 a month for Christmas, to avoid having a big expense at the end of the year..that should cover all of our presents. We buy each family member (both sets of parents, 2 siblings, and 1 grandma) a small-ish gift and we bought a couple of things for the baby. We spend a little bit more on each other because we VERY rarely buy anything for ourselves throughout the year. This year DH is getting a toolbox with wheels that he REALLY wants for work.
Now that I'm a mom all of the baby toy commercials are getting to me...they really make it sound like if I don't buy my baby his own video game system (yes, they have those for babies now!) he'll be stupid or something. >:( My little guy is quite thrilled to play with some buttons I put in an old water bottle, thank you very much! LOL
I am not all that frugal at Christmas. But I do budget for it and look for sales. DH and I only fill each others stockings. As far a family members we cut back years ago when we couldn't afford to buy. Now we just exchange small gifts. Most of my budget goes to my dd's.
i looked online and found magazine subscriptions for a year for under $5 or $10.... that is what i am getting everyone... (redbook $3/yr... harpers bazaar $4/yr... etc...) ... my ds's is the only expensive one ($6/yr)... i used to buy for all of the nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, grandparents, and of course the siblings... now, only ones who will be getting the subscriptions is my siblings, my kids and the grandparents... also, for the grandparents, they will be getting a gift certificate to the local supermarket... and my sister that takes my mom everywhere (my mom and sis live close to each other, i live farther away)... not showing favoritism but this sister does everything for my mom and the rest of us make sure we give her "gifts" bc we all live farther away...
we also give to the humane society, aspca, salvation army, united way, peta, salvation army, st jude research, the animal sanctuary for terminally ill pets near our house, toys for tots and a couple of others i cant remember... plus, we give to a sweet older couple that we have adopted as family... they give so much to the abused and unwanted pets (picking up strays, feeding them and finding good homes for them); we normally give them extra pet food and litter and blankets to help with this... (as you can read, we are big on the animal rights)... we also donate to several food banks/churches...
it is not a whole lot that we give but it comes from the heart and we all give freely as a family...
dh and i do not want anything this year... we are just thankful that we are alive and well and healthy... dh has been thru his 3rd amputation this year and so far (knocking on wood) he will make it thru the rest of the year... :D
i am thinking we will spend about $100 for everything (that is from dh and i) ... my dd will spend about $50 and my ds (who is only 16) will spend about $25 and this is for all of the charities we donate to...
I think that I am going to scale back this year. I am only going to buy a few people this year. I am going to try to keep it under $200.00 for all that I have to buy for. Which on some of the things I do have coupons for. What I do enjoy the most is just spending time with family. Also homemade noddles and fudge with my mom and daughter.
Neither DH nor I come from close-knit families (highly dysfunctional yes). Two years ago we both decided to quit doing and giving out of a sense of obligation. Now we only give gifts to each other, one of his brothers, his best-friend, my best-friend and my Momma.
We basically cut out all the pain in @$$ individuals (who never gave us anything but grief anyway) If any of the pitas even noticed we haven't heard about it. Saves us money, time and heartache.
The Holidays are much calmer and are now actually enjoyable. (fun at holidays??? what a concept!) Costs are down to between $150-$200 total for past two years.
I completely agree with cutting out the pain-in-the-you-know-what relatives. We stopped giving to my mom, sister, aunt, BIL & SIL and that has saved a tremendous amount of $. I make baked goods for neighbors, friends, etc and no one has complained yet. For one of my neices and nephews, I saved samples I have received this year and created little grooming kits. They are nice! Her's has the L'Oreal HIP foundation I got for free, lots of lotions, shampoos...things like that. I did include 2 makeup kits I got at Target in the Dollar Spot. His has the Quaatro razor, Axe body spray and other samples. Teachers are getting baskets bought at Goodwill filled with school supplies that I bought when they were on clearance at Target and Walmart. I did include a bar of Bath and Body Works soap that I bought when they were on sale for $1 a piece. Total is less than $5 per basket. In-laws (two sets) we have set a $50 limit per couple. It will probably be one personal gift each and then a gift card to WalMart or gas station. Something consumable like that...none of them need more junk cluttering their houses!!! I have to admit my kids are completely and totally spoiled at Christmas and get just about anything they want. They are still young (6 & 9) and my DH and I are totally in agreement with this. He says that's why he works so hard, to give his family the best. HOWEVER, we do not put ourselves in debt by doing this. We pay only cash and once it's gone, we're done!
An little update on mine. I am tring to be more furgal this year. I have already bought one item for my youngest nephew. I went to the local Build a Bear workshop. I stuffed him a bear. I put in a voice obx and a pair of pant. Anyone who know that BABW can be expenisve place. But all of that cost me with tax $14.50. I had $15 in coupons. I belong to there stuff for stuff program. After you earn 100 points then they send you a $10 coupon. SO I had that and a $5 one that they sent for there christmas. Then for my brother and my youngest cousin I am making them a scrap book. I had got one as a presant last year from my mother. It was the type that came with everything. So I just bought one photo album and making it work between the two. So my only total so far is $14.50. I did get a coupon for yankee candle for $15 off my pruchas of $45 or more. SO I am going to take advantage of that as well. I just hope that I can get some more good deals like that. But My biggest things is that I just want to spend time with my family. I think that if dh and I don't buy to much gifts for everyone that will be fine with them. Just as long as we all spend time togeather as a family.
I am generally the one who buys very expensive last minute gifts and then panics!
this year i've decided to get the kids' dad to go halves in a main present. my son annoyingly loves warhammer, so we have gotten him a big box set. dd wants jewelry and clothes, so i'll get the dad to order what she wants from the internet (with him paying, as i've paid for the ds present), then i'll get her some things to open on the day. stockins have to be filled too i guess, but that will be with cheapies, socks and undies etc.
the only other people i buy for are four nieces, 2 (potentially 4, but we don't really see them) nephews and my best friend's 2 ds. i usually see some other people over the period and so i have picked up some toys on fantastic sale - like $1-2 a piece. for 2 of my nieces they are getting $30 gift vouchers (their mum and i agreed on a price, and my kids will get the same, as they are from my kids' dad's side he will pay half), for the other 2 their mum and i agreed on a movie basket (got the idea from this site!), so i picked up four cute red baskets for 49cents each, bought the discounted movie tickets in a pack of 5 - that way i sell one to sil and she gives it to my ds. i'm putting popcorn, tickets, bindis (the jewelry you stick on your forehead) and i'll get the two girls a christmas decoration for about $10. i also have 2 friends visiting from poland and 1 from england who i will probably get something small for -$10 or so.
luckily i have plenty of cards from years gone by, plus paper and ribbon (i saved most of my birthday wrapping). i'll just need some stamps i guess. we also have a dinner at a restaurant on christmas eve, plus a work christmas lunch at a restaurant - well, there are two but i refuse to pay $20 for a barbeque! i wish our boss would do the right boss thing and pay - everyone else going earns at least twice or three times the amount i do. there will probably be some more nights out, but i'll be keeping it to a minimum. haven't had too many invitations yet this year which is good. i have about 8 bottles of wine left over as well which will help.
looks like its going to be a good $600, very annoying but at least it will be paid for in cash. i've finished most of the shopping too which is great, i reckon another week should do it. i have one more pay day before christmas - doubt i'll be snowballing much of that!