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  1. #1
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    Default The gift of Duct Tape

    So, I sat down tonight to do my last minute, been putting it off, it's getting too close to Christmas, wrapping. Mostly, it was a few kids items. Hubby and I got few chances to shop this year for each other, so we went shopping together, and decided to just forgo wrapping gifts that we picked out ourselves. That left only one more thing- a gift for my 31 year old brother.

    Jason and I have always had an odd relationship. Never close, but never distant, either. When I was in high school, he was more than willing to beat the crap out of any guy who hurt my feelings, but he was also willing to hurt my feelings himself. A typical older brother.

    Now, in our family, we've always had a semi-unspoken tradition- wrapping the object in odd items, filling boxes with rocks, nesting tons of boxes, wrapping 12 boxes and making them pick the right one, etc.

    In the past few years, we haven't done this. In fact, the last one I can recall is a gift box that should easily fit 4 sleeping bags (first thing that came to mind just now), but was light as a feather. Of course, this could be new pillows. Or a gift card wrapped insanely. This was a year where we each brought 1 gift for the same sex- a female gift, or a male gift. If you brought one, you got to pick one from the pile. This ensured that people only needed to buy 1 gift, and if we didn't want to participate, it wouldn't leave someone else out, either, and we had until Christmas morning to decide.

    So, back to the big box. This particular year, my husband was sick, and spent the entire day in bed or in the bathroom. We brought a boy gift and a girl gift, so when it was Nick's turn to pick, I went for the big box.

    Yes, knowing our family tradition didn't phase me in the least, I grabbed big, hoping for new pillows, or a gift card. Alas, how wrong I was. My brother spent his $20 gift limit on 1 thing- as much toilet paper as he could buy. I was stuck with $20 worth of toilet paper, and not the good stuff- the 1 ply, itchy, scratchy, tear through while wiping paper.

    That was several years ago. Now, I'm reviving the tradition. This year, we drew names rather than doing generalized gifts (it works better, because you can get something the person might actually want). By a stroke of luck (it helped that I drew the names myself, though no cheating was involved), I got my older brother's name. From that moment, I had $20 to spend on him.

    The gift is actually somewhat mundane. I bought him 3 jars of peanuts ($.99 the day after Thanksgiving), a bag of plain M & M's (again, $.99 the day after Thanksgiving), and lastly, a $15 Target gift card, which I earned for free at Judy's Book. Initially, I was going to give him a different gift card that I had also earned, and just stick it in an envelope.

    But, I couldn't do that to my favorite brother. So tonight, I looked around for what to do with the gift card, and spied the peanuts, perfect for adding weight to the gift, as I forgot to find rocks or bricks. Great, except if I was going to give him the other card, I was already $5 over budget (though, since it was earned online, it was free to me). So, I decided to change to the $15 Target card, and fill in with the jars of peanuts and the M & M's.

    Then, I found a box with enough space to lay the jars side by side on the bottom, then I realized I needed to tape the bottom. I realized then and there that the regular tape would not hold it shut well enough, so I asked for the duct tape. As I started wrapping the bottom flaps together with the tape, I thought of an idea. I emptied the box, and taped the gift card to the very bottom flap, enough to secure and obscure it. Then I added the jars of peanuts, wrapping each in tissue. Then I added the M & M's, and stuffed the top of the bag with tissue
    .
    After that, I closed the box with duct tape. And kept going. I wrapped the box in layer upon layer of duct tape, each one going in a different direction. I finished off the first roll, and had to hunt down another roll to use. The box is entirely the gray silver color of duct tape, no box showing in any little space.

    I did this over and over again, recovering more space as I went. Lastly, I added the phrase, "No knives!" to the outside on all 6 sides of the box. I still need to decide if I plan to wrap it in regular paper on top of the duct tape.

    For now, there is a slightly rubbery feeling box under the tree, glowing dimly silver in the lights. It's beautiful. And the look on my brother's face Sunday evening will be well worth the 25 minutes it took to "wrap".
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  2. #2
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    RE: Budget101.com : The gift of Duct Tape


    Heather, I'd love to be a fly on the wall when he tries to open it!!!!! LOL
    My 2 younger kids - Jen 18 and Chris 19 do the same kind of thing,
    especially with the tape!!!! It's not Christmas without one of them having
    to spend forever taping a box with duct tape and electrical tape!!!!! Great
    memories.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.

    Hugs
    Pat
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  3. #3
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    Re: Budget101.com : The gift of Duct Tape


    I would love to be a fly on the wall Sunday LOL. That is awesome.

    Melissa
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  4. #4
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    RE: Budget101.com : The gift of Duct Tape



    Subject: Re: Budget101.com : The gift of Duct Tape

    HAHAHAHAHA I am still Laughing, that is TOO Dang FUNNY. You Make me wish I had wrapped my brothers gift before I sent it out to him down in hot hot TEXAS. LOL. Gwrrlll, you are Fantastic for the soul.

    Hugs,
    Liss
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  5. #5
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    Re:The gift of Duct Tape


    My husband and I did a similar thing to my sister-in-law a few years ago. We were much meaner about it; we wrapped $50 in nickels in a whole roll of duct tape and then wrapped the duct tape ball lose in a box with wrapping paper. You should have seen the look on her face when she went to shake the box and it went flying out of her hands! J
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  6. #6
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    Re: The gift of Duct Tape


    I am glad I am not the only sadistic one with tape at christmas!
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  7. #7
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    Buying clever frugal gifts is dangerous for me!!


    Hi everybody,

    This is the first time I have posted. I enjoy reading all the messages and often take notes. Thanks to everyone who shares ideas. This is what's on my mind:

    Like a lot of people, I love giving unique but cheap gifts. This Christmas I am giving all my female relatives vintage aprons with a little note in each one saying why I chose that particular one for the person. The aprons were all $1 or less. Today, for example, I went into a thrift store and found four really neat 50s type ones for 60 cents apiece. I love vintage things and it was hard giving these away because I tend to hoard things.

    BUT why I am writing is that I have spent money along the way on other stuff. When I went to my first estate sale, my blood pressure rose sky high as I found all sorts of wonderful embroidered old napkins etc as well as my first aprons. I love browsing in thrift stores but while I am finding clever raw material for crafts, cheap wrapping paper,etc, I am leading myself into temptation. Five dollars here, ten dollars there, a little splurge on a $4 waffle iron, $2 yogurt maker, cheap embroidery floss, Christmas decorations for my daughter-in-law, etc, etc ADD UP!

    From the sounds of it a lot of you do shop a lot. My question is, how do you stay frugal while out there especially when you are not at a grocery store with a list??

    I am thinking the best way for me to be frugal is literally to stay away from shopping altogether other than the grocery store. [My kids are grown and don't live at home any more.] I manage to find stuff almost anywhere I go if I look carefully. I think one of my new year's resolutions will be not to go shopping for frugal items, rather to use what I have and spend more time with those female relatives instead of at Value Village. This will not be easy for me!!

    Any comments or advice? Thanks in advance and Merry Christmas.

    J. Therese
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  8. #8
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    Re: Buying clever frugal gifts is dangerous for me!!


    For me, I give myself an allowance on what I know can be spent. I
    don't use a credit card, and we don't have a checking account. If I
    don't have the money in hand, it doesn't get bought.

    When you KNOW you are going to be shopping, limit the amount of
    spendable cash you have on you, and leave the credit card and check
    book at home!

    Good luck!

    Heather
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