Monday, October 19, 2009

Ten Mondays and Counting

Now that you've set a budget, determined who you're giving gifts to and began writing out those Christmas cards (see this post) it's time to begin deciding and either making or purchasing those gifts.

We use our Christmas Club monies to buy for our immediate family and usually for the fixin's for our Christmas dinner, so that means that what we give to others comes out of our household budget. That means cutting corners on other things, which is perfectly okay, but that's why it is so important to begin right after Christmas getting ready for next year.

I have a shelf in my laundry room that is totally dedicated to Christmas gifts. Anything that goes on that shelf, I automatically know (and so does everyone else in my house) that these are gifts for the following year.

Our extended gift-giving list for this year is as follows:

My Mom
My Dad
DH's Mom
DH's Stepdad
My Sister *
DH's Brother & Sis-in-law * & her Mother (She lives with them)
DH's Sister *
DH's Brother-in-law*
DH's Brother & Sis-in-law
DH's Sister and Bro-in-law *
4 Nephews *
3 Nieces **
Piano Teacher *
2 Sunday School Teachers **
My Best Girlfriend and her Hubby
"Adopted Son"
"Adopted Daughter"
OCC Boxes (4) *
An "Adopted" family

This may be quite a lengthy list for some and for others no big deal. There's been much discussion in our extended families about drawing names, only giving to our parents and nieces and nephews, or just not giving gifts at all. DH an I have discussed these options together and decided that, for us, we prefer to give a little something to everyone. Everybody loves to get a gift and with proper planning, you can do that without blowing your budget.

For those on our gift-giving list, our parents always get their own gift each. We look at those personalities and give a gift according:

My Mom--Anything that will make a beautiful scent in her home: Candles, air fresheners, potpourri. Candles are often on sale at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. I must say I'm particular about buying candles. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they give off a pleasant scent....if at all. Use those coupons and match them with sales to get air fresheners and warmer units for little or no expense at all! Potpourri is everywhere and even at the dollar stores, this stuff always has a beautiful scent. A couple of bags of that along with a beautiful dish and I have a very happy Mom!!!

My Dad--Anything odd. He's always looking for a new gadget or an odd, pickled food he's never tried before. I can usually find him something at local flea markets or I can pickle something up around the first of November that will be ready to eat by Christmas!!

DH's Mom--Like my Dad, she also likes anything odd. She also loves something family memory oriented or useful. I've made family photo albums and one year I made family recipe books!!

DH's Stepdad--He retired from John Deere and collects anything and everything John Deere. Again, flea markets are a gold mine for these things!!

By knowing someone's personalities, it makes gift-giving so much easier!! By the way, for those four people I just mentioned, we spend $20 or less!!

Piano and Sunday School teachers usually get homemade ornaments, which I will be telling you how to make in the next couple of weeks. You can also pick up several ornaments after Christmas for 50¢ or less. Those 3 gifts...$1.50!!

Nieces and nephews have a $5 limit to that spending. Depending on age, you can find crayons and color books, reading books, stickers, nail polish, body wash, free weights. Yes I said weights. I have a teenage nephew and I found some free weights, hand grips and a jump rope a year or two ago for $3!! Total...$35. I rarely spend that much because as I've mentioned, I shop all year for these gifts. A more realistic amount would be $20-$25.

For the BGF and the GF, we will spend $ This year I have one seriously into music and one that loves to draw. Hobby Lobby and our local Christian book store may help me cut that total!!

My best girlfriend and her hubby will get something from the kitchen. I'll usually give it to them on a beautiful platter or in a bowl that I've found at a yard sale or thrift store. Money spent...less than $3.

"Adopted" son and daughter---$

For the above, we've spent roughly $80. Doable for some, not for others. That is why I can't emphasize enough how important it is for you and your spouse to set a budget, create a list and work together from there. There have been years where that dollar amount has been pared down to $30. Yes, it can be done, it just means being more creative.

Our adopted family is a result of pooled together monies to bless a family that might otherwise not have Christmas dinner of gifts to share. While we are just as careful in this spending as with others, we ask God to show us what they need and allow Him to provide all that He wants us to share with them.

Another ministry we do every year is Operation Christmas Child. This is a ministry headed up by Franklin Graham and is something my family has been a part of for more than 12 years now. To learn more about this life changing ministry, click here.

I love to give. I'd much rather watch someone open and enjoy something I've given them. To see their excitement and happiness is their gift to me!!

Next week I'll be sharing how to make gifts in a jar. This is a great way to make gift giving go a lot farther and put less strain on your budget....all for the price of some flour, sugar and some thrift store mason jars!!

1 comment:

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Our MOPS group participates in Operation Christmas child. It is just a wonderful program! You've got gift giving down to an art or should I say science?