Prepping for next Christmas

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    • #268224

      Several years ago I made a decision that changed how I handle the holidays. I started shopping for Christmas during the year, instead of waiting for the 5 week rush right before hand. Each year, I’ve started shopping earlier until this year, when I am shopping the weekend after.

      I also started keeping an excel file last year that detailed what gifts I have and who they were for. This way, I’ll have a way to check what I gave each person so that I don’t give a duplicate item. (My memory has gone down the tubes)

      My gifts went over well. I gave (almost) each family a large Yankee Candle, shade and plate. I gave the younger families a Scentstories Player and disk. I gave them everyday designs. Next year I plan on giving them holiday shades and plates.

      Which takes me to Christmas shopping for next year now. I set aside all of the accessories that I’ll need for next year (There are major benefits to working at a store, such as holding items and getting first dibs) I received a 50.00 dollar gift card from the company for working an extra shift on Black Friday. I am trying to stretch it as far as it will go by waiting for the final markdowns and using coupons. I have 150.00 worth of sale product on hold. I will get 60.00 off from coupons. (10.00 off 25.00 dollar purchase) Then the 50.00 dollar gift card, which makes my out of pocket expense 40.00. (This is at the current sale price. I’m not sure what the final markdowns will be or if it will effect what I’m getting. Also, about 20.00 dollars worth of items is for me, which will have an effect on the final per gift cost) Currently, with 8 families, my cost per family is 5.00 each. Well worth the price of storing the gifts all year.

      I’ve done this type of shopping before. The last company that I worked for had a 90% off sale during the summer. I stocked up for 50.00 dollars and didn’t have to worry about gifts that year.

      Is anyone else as weird about this as I am? I’ll hit up the summer sales, but will focus more on men’s gifts. I really try not to shop at all during the traditional Christmas season, with the exception of our son’s Santa gift. My fiance thinks that I’m crazy, but I think that the people who are out on Christmas Eve are crazier. Not thinking about gifts is one way that I can reduce my stress in 11 months. I just didn’t know if anyone else started this early for Christmas.

      Shannon

    • #407268

      You are doing some smart shopping girl!!! Makes a lot of sence to shop where you work when you’re getting such a great discount. Sounds like you’re very organized.

    • #407270

      For years I did all my Christmas shopping throughout the year. Much less stress, especially on the pocketbook and I was able to find gifts that fit the person and often the gifts changed as I progressed through the year and found different items. Times have changed however and families have moved far away and don’t bother getting together for the holidays so exchanging gifts has been a thing of the past.

    • #407277

      I like shopping all year for the holiday presents. I will make up a list over the next week of birthdays and who will get a Christmas present from us. Then carry this with me when I go shopping and try to pull out the name of the person with the next birthday coming up and find something for them and try to find things for them for Christmas as well. I have a clear plastic tote that I put the items in for later in the year and write down what I have already bought. I don’t really worry about the price of the items-I am not one who thinks that the price of the item has to be the same for everyone (i know some people like that). If I see a shirt for a $1 that would be perfect for a neice and their birthday is past then I will get for them for the holiday’s or save it for their next birthday. I really hate the holiday crowd shopping-how can anyone think during all that rushing. You end up saving a really large amount of money if you have room to store the items. Unless it is a food item it will last, sizes of clothes might change depending on the age of the person you are buying for.

    • #407279

      I do the same thing. I buy all year long, when I can catch sales and use coupons also. My only problem is remembering where I stashed the goodies when time to wrap them for Christmas LOL.

    • #407280

      I think it’s very smart what you are doing. I try to get all my shopping done before Thanksgiving. This year I just had a few odds and ends to get last minute like candy for stockings.

    • #407281

      I used to shop right after Christmas. I noticed this year not much was out there (after Christmas)

      Usually with my kids issues Christmas/Yule was horrible so we always had second Christmas/Yule which was much lower key for everyone and I could actually enjoy it. The weekend after New’s Years, we opened stockings and some gifts.

      This year for some reason everyone was in a Grinchy mood, I am wondering about bringing back 2nd Yule just to try to get some cheer in the season. I think the SAD effect was earlier than norm because the weather was so lousy this summer, it was dreary and wet.

      I also end up buying and giving stuff during the year so presents were never the big focus.
      Ria

    • #407285

      I do the same thing too. It saves me the stress later. This year I intend to wrap as I go…I just have to remember to put the labels on LOL…forgot one year:)

    • #407287

      I always shop during the year for the coming Christmas. I was thrown for a loop this year as our family decided to go with home made gifts. but I’m all over that now! I need 11 gifts so one a month and by December 1st I’m done! I’ve gotten half the gifts planned out and into my Christmas planner for the coming year. Got one quilt that I started years ago already pulled out to finish up. A little at a time and then it’ll be a breeze next December! I still get to shop for stocking stuffer’s during the year though!

    • #407293

      I’m in the same boat as McNerd with family not getting together for the holidays anymore, thus reducing gift exchanging. Probably good since we’re retired now and not as financially able. We still buy gift cards (at their request) for out of state kids and grandkids so it’s hard to shop for bargains there. I only have 5 people to buy for here so I don’t shop ahead for them. I do however shop all year when I see bargains and keep a gift drawer for gifts I just want to surprise people with or when the need arises for a gift

    • #407300

      WRAPPING GIFTS:
      right now Christmas-y fabric is on sale, in fact there is usually something glitzy you can use year around

      Make bags – super simple (I hate sewing ’cause my machine hates me) .. think of different size pillowcases.

      CUTTING: depends on the size of fabric and the pattern, it can be one long piece folded or if patterned it will need to be 2 pieces. Size varies.

      1: Make hem on both sides of fabric (if patterned then on the top side) .. Be sure you put a decent size “hem” on top cause that’ll be the ruffley part that shows

      2: Put the good sides together. Make sure the tops are even. Flip down the fabric and stick some folded ribbon in a side seam right below the “hem” area ***IMP make sure the rest of the string/ribbon is in the middle of the bag. Flip back the fabric .. Sew sides and bottom if needed.

      3: Clip corners of the bag, turn inside out .. when you turn it right side out you will have 2 ribbons on the same side (**to wrap: twist them in opposite directions and tie)

      This is great for kids presents, you can find fabric that matches the toys (cars and trucks etc) and now its a storage bag too.

      For college kids make a big bag and double sew edges and its gets used for moves, laundry etc.

      I have access to some camoflague and am going to make bigger bags this year – after christmas hunting gear can get tossed in them.

      These fold flat for storage and can be reused over and over.

      Less mess

      No worry about recycling them, cause you will reuse it.

      Can be used for storage of other items etc etc

      win win

      Ria

    • #407980

      HSLINKS – this is a great idea. Thanks for the post.

    • #407987

      I shop throughout the year. If I see somthing that reminds me of someone I buy it and mark it as to who I thought of and it gos in a box in my craft closet. when a birthday or gift giveing ocasion comes up I go to the box first. This lets me buy things when I see them on sale or cheap.

    • #407989

      I thought I was the only that was buying birthday, baby shower and Christmas gifts ect. thur the year. I also use a tubby tote to store these items. I always watch for sales when I know I need a special gift.

    • #408011

      @HSLINKS 97012 wrote:

      I used to shop right after Christmas. I noticed this year not much was out there (after Christmas)Ria

      Yes it is real slim pickings out there this year! I wasn’t able to get any wrapping paper or bows this time around but still have a lot from last year. The stuff I’ve found isn’t marked down much at all.

    • #408012

      check out JoAnns and other fabric places, the Christmas fabric is marked down – and that will take care of the wrapping paper issue if you make bags

      Another advantage of cloth bags
      – less space to pack them away since they lay flat
      – they don’t tear
      – kids can’t peek (I really shut them up, and toss in some weird stuff like rolled socks etc into the bag)
      – weird shaped boxes are not a problem to wrap, make a bag to fit and toss it in there
      – no garbage, no little pieces of paper all over the place
      Ria

    • #408237

      As for the slim picking after Christmas:

      My company told me that they we not making as many items as they used to. With the economy the way that it is, they didn’t want to lose the money. Which I completely understand, but it did mean less for afterwords.

      Perhaps if things improve over the year, next year will have a better selection.

      Shannon

    • #408351

      My problem is – if I buy too far in advance for specific people, by next Christmas they will already have whatever that item is. People in my family have a tendency to go get what they want or need.

    • #408386

      Maybe you need to change your thinking a little! Instead of a “need” or “want” maybe you can come up with something they’ll appreciate! I really moaned last Spring when all my family decided we’d do homemade Christmas gifts from now on!

      I got it done but boy really had to think! Got 9 quilts done- 3 of them unplanned- dh loved one he saw and just thought i could pop a few more out for his side of the family! i’ve already started on next christmas.

      i’m working on a big cookbook with family history tied to it for my kids. making some quilts for my sisters and started on a big family history project for dh’s side of the family as dh will never say what he wants to give them until the last moment! my sister’s loved the picture i printed on fabric of us when we were kids and made into a pillow and put it into a basket along with some soup and bread mixes.

      my kids have clung onto the quilts i made and dil called me special like to let me know he had never gotten a gift more special then the memory quilt one i did for him. it was fun and i will long remember the gifts my kids made for me- they really touched my heart! i can hardly wait for next year to see what they come up with!

    • #408396

      What a great relection brchbell of your Christmas. You have inspired me to complete a project I so dearly wanted to finish in time for Christmas, but just couldn’t. My dear wonderful grandmother died 8yrs ago, and I ran across her receipe box this past summer while helping my mom clean out a closet in search of garage sale items. I grabbed that receipe box and hung on to it for dear life.

      So as not to be selfish, I thought it would be fun to put the receipes in order and make a ‘grammys cookbook’ for all my family to cherish, but time, snow and life got in my way and I couldn’t complete my special project. After reading your story, I’m going to finish that cookbook and be steps ahead for next Christmas.
      Thanks for sharing your wonderful family story.
      God bless.

    • #408400

      Mrs H Oh what a precious gift! I would dearly love to have my grandmothers or my Mom’s recipe file! I have the few they sent me when I first got married and many stories to share.

      I am making sure my kids never wonder how Mom made their favorite dish! So glad you will be able to make a very special memory for those you love and care for!

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