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Thread: Another holiday thread: Holiday on a budget

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Elgin, IL
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    Another holiday thread: Holiday on a budget

    Hi all. I'm going to be doing a presentation at my job at the beginning of November re: Holiday Fun on a Budget, and Taking the Stress out of the Holidays. I have done similar lectures before, but I thought I'd see if you guys have any new (to me!) ideas. It can be any hint or idea that helps you enjoy the holidays with less stress and expense.

    Thanks!
    Terri

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    South Lake Tahoe, CA
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    3,250
    In the 40+ years I've decorated for the holidays, there were three when I needed to greatly simplify. Those years, instead of a tree, I used boughs on the fireplace mantel and other selected horizontal surfaces, decorated with ribbons and/or pine cones.

    Kay

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Last year was really tight for us, financially. We made our own gifts for friends and relatives. I made pizza kits and bought the stones, and DH made pen/pencil sets. I also cross-stitched sweatshirts for MIL and SILs.

    This year, I will also be making something to send... don't know what, though.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Northern Michigan--waaay northern
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    I find it much less stressful to focus on the season, rather than one or two days--that puts a lot of pressure to make things "perfect." Something I've been doing for almost 30 years is decorating all December long. I start by putting up one decoration a day until about a week or so before Christmas. Then the tree goes up and all the rest, too. My kids help, so it makes things feel festive for a very long time.

    I also have been making "necessary" purchases and using them as Christmas gifts. For example, my kids each needed new sheets last year, so Santa brought them. Pajamas, new clothes, hats/mittens--anything that can be wrapped can be a gift! And giving gifts that are useful--maybe stationary with a book of forever stamps--is always appreciated in our family.

    We've started a tradition of doing something outdoorsy on Christmas Day as well. Last year, we went snowshoeing, and then had hot cocoa with candy canes as mixers after. It gets us out of the house and that usual "let down" doesn't happen. My husband cooks our Christmas Eve dinner, and I do Christmas Day--we each have our own traditional menus that we simply can't give up! So, there's no need to choose who has the better tradition, which is extremely stressful!

    I hate to travel for Christmas, so we usually are on our own home base. We have a story in our house (started by my own mother) that Santa won't stop if the house is messy. So, after dinner Christmas Eve, we have a house cleaning blitz. It's SO nice to wake up Christmas morning and have a clean, tidy house!
    As the arc of history bends towards justice, it's a new, more progressive day. --Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, 11-07-12

  5. #5
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    Thanks all! Keep 'em coming!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    North Carolina
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    Last year a magazine I read said that a good rule of thumb is to not spend over 1.5% of your annual salary on your major holiday (Christmas/Hanukkah/Etc). For example, if you make $40,000 a year you shouldn't spend more than $600. Not just for presents, everything - food for your main meal, party food, decorations, christmas cards, etc.

    I cut back significantly last year by doing the following...

    1.) We used to spend $400-600 on presents for all of the family. Last year we went to (like I mentioned in the other topic) drawing a name and setting a $50 spending limit on one side of my husbands family. Between two presents for each of the names we drew and a present for the nephew we spent $150.

    2.) Don't buy me anything, I won't buy you anything agreements - did this with family members on the other side of my husbands family (his parents divorced and remarried other people so there are two sides) and my family, but did get together for a nice meal together one night.

    3.) Cut back on the holiday baking. This really hurt my feelings but I had to - I would spend a minimum of $150 to buy all the ingredients and items to make my holiday baskets - the price of nuts and chocolate is insane these days. Rather than make a big basket of items, I made one Chocolate Pecan Tart. Figures it helps my budget and my friends waste line at the same time For us personally I only made two cookie recipes instead of making five or six different ones.

    4.) Reduced my Christmas Card list. Postage has went up, so has the cost to print my custom Christmas card (using my own pictures). Used to send out 60 cards, reduced it to 25 of our closest family and friends.

    5.) My husband and I decided to not buy each other anything for Christmas, but agreed to bump up the budget we usually spend on each other for Valentines Day.

    6.) I don't personally put decorations outside, but for those who do they need to examine their electric bills in past years and see what kind of impact that had and decide whether or not they should scale back on the amount of lights they put out.

    I may think of more to add in a bit

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Phoenix, AZ USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by leebee View Post
    We've started a tradition of doing something outdoorsy on Christmas Day as well. Last year, we went snowshoeing, and then had hot cocoa with candy canes as mixers after. It gets us out of the house and that usual "let down" doesn't happen.
    I LOVE this! might try to do this (no snow for us though)

  8. #8
    Last year, we followed the advice of someone on these boards (I'm sorry, I can't remember who!)

    3 presents were good enough for baby Jesus; they're good enough for my kids, too!

    mary jo

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryMorph View Post
    Last year, we followed the advice of someone on these boards (I'm sorry, I can't remember who!)

    3 presents were good enough for baby Jesus; they're good enough for my kids, too!

    mary jo
    I think that was Terri_A. If we'd started that tradition earlier, we would be richer... both financially and spiritually!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Michigan
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    I think it was TerriA, and that's the same rule we follow too!

    Quote Originally Posted by MaryMorph View Post
    Last year, we followed the advice of someone on these boards (I'm sorry, I can't remember who!)

    3 presents were good enough for baby Jesus; they're good enough for my kids, too!

    mary jo

  11. #11
    We do the same thing for the boys. 3 presents from the parents, one to/from the brothers and one from Santa.

    Cheryl

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    4,729
    I have a group of friends with whom I would normally exchange gifts. Last year we decided to do a potluck dinner in lieu of gifts; we had a wonderful time and plan to do the same this year.
    "Why should you go to jail for a crime someone else noticed?" - attorney Bob Loblaw, Arrested Development

    "Spend time with your kids so we don't have to" - Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice bumper sticker

    www.nostinkycheese.blogspot.com

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