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TOPIC:   I know it's early....but... 


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DIVA14K
DIVA14K's Photo Posts: 1,218
11/2/10 3:49 P

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I have 4 kids and their older now. It's too late this year but I'm going to try my hardest to plan a trip next Christmas. No gifts. We take a family vacation and just have fun together.


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SASSI_SPRING
SASSI_SPRING's Photo Posts: 10,479
11/2/10 2:17 A

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That's great, creating memories and not focusing on stuff. :)



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4THEJOURNEY
4THEJOURNEY's Photo Posts: 5,261
11/1/10 12:55 P

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I agree. It is a lot of planning for just one day. :) My family's calendar is starting to fill already for holiday season events, but I'm really looking forward to the week before Christmas...the week the kids have off from school. During that week, I love to do all sorts of holiday activities at home. Crafts, cooking projects, drive around and look at holiday lights on houses, do our community projects to help others, drink hot chocolate and talk about our dreams for the next year, etc. I really want to create those memories and traditions with my son so that he'll maybe be encouraged to develop some fun memories and traditions with his own children when he grows up. :) Less focus on gifts and presents. More focus on creating family memories together. :)



~~Pat~~


SASSI_SPRING
SASSI_SPRING's Photo Posts: 10,479
11/1/10 12:04 P

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That's far too true for many folks that they use the cards to buy gifts they can't afford and spend the next year paying those gifts off....just to do it all over again. As you shared, it's all for one day a year. Seems like a silly cycle when you really break it down eh.

My parents, especially my dad, said it was silly to do that and it is silly to travel in bad weather to come visit for one day. As a result when I left home, I rarely came back for Christmas. My mum's side of the family actually celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving - where the family would gather together at Thanksgiving. In Canada that is early October, so the roads are good and weather is fine. Even if there is some snow it's no big deal.

So be as creative as you can be .. and it'll still be an awesome day. :)



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DIVA14K
DIVA14K's Photo Posts: 1,218
10/31/10 9:42 P

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We all stress for so many days and Christmas is one day and goes so quick. Then we're still paying if we charged our credit cards well into the New Year. I think I'm going to make a list of who I'm buying for and then set a budget for each person.


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SASSI_SPRING
SASSI_SPRING's Photo Posts: 10,479
10/31/10 1:34 P

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Christmas is only as commercial as you choose it to be. Children learn from example and really get into it all with energy and fun - without all the "stuff." Like letting kids go "crazy" decorating and being pleased with results, even if it is wacky using recycled materials. Like when my cousin got married, my (then) 6yr old stepdaughter did the decorations and everyone loved it. She made tissue flowers and paper decorations. It was lovely. She and I always used the cheapest materials and recycled stuff to decorate, its magical. :)

I pretty well am done. I "shopped" at Avon yesterday. Chocolate flavoured lip gloss, $2. Mini angels that light up, $7. Makes me happy. :)



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4THEJOURNEY
4THEJOURNEY's Photo Posts: 5,261
10/30/10 10:23 A

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Lay-away wouldn't work for me either, I don't think, for the same reason. Before Thanksgiving, I'm going to try and get the gifts ready that need to be shipped out to family far away. Then the gifts for people in my actual house can be looked for closer to the actual holiday. I do know that the gifts will be smaller and less expensive this year, but really....the holidays should be about creating fun memories together and sharing fun family times....not about the gifts. I can't believe stores are already having Black Friday sales. It isn't even Halloween until tomorrow. :)

~~Pat~~

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SUGARSMOM2
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10/29/10 7:31 P

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I don`t think we are getting much or doing much this year . I loved the walmart layaway and did put a lot in lay away . can not afford to get the large stuff we did in the past . the layaway at kmart do not work for me . they want payment through the week and can not do this . only get paid once a month . not twice. with the social security .they want paid every other week .

sugarsmom2 donna wva


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4THEJOURNEY
4THEJOURNEY's Photo Posts: 5,261
10/29/10 11:49 A

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Linda, that sounds so beautiful how you celebrate the holidays with your family. I wish, every year, that the holidays could become less commercial and that it would be more family/friend-focused. It sounds like you're living my holiday dream. :)

emoticon

~~Pat~~


BELTONWALKER67
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10/29/10 9:24 A

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I love the holiday season as it's the only time I get to see some of my family. Some of us get together for Thanksgiving (at the kid's Dad's home) and the rest get together for Christmas (my house). We also have the office Christmas Luncheon and Bunco, bowling & Landlord's Association Dinner. It is a fun filled time of the year seeing & visiting with family & friends. We do exchange small gifts at some of the functions but mostly it's about being together.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Make this a Healthy Choice Day!

"Just Do It"!

Linda-Missouri (CST)


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IILAAD65
IILAAD65's Photo Posts: 4,497
10/27/10 8:29 A

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I only buy for my two daughters and a few people at work.

Hopefully I will have a handle and 'be ahead' on utilities so that last check before Xmas I can just buy things for the girls.

I usually buy one big thing for each (Ipod touch or something similar)... or I may just give them money. They are both saving for a car.

I am stretched thin. Cable/internet is off at home and trying to get caught up. The 2nd job kept me afloat but I quit it.. so now I have to really have to focus on spending in a budget.

Beth

"The road to success is always under construction."

www.knightanddayfitness.net


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WDBROWN94
WDBROWN94's Photo Posts: 2,920
10/26/10 10:18 P

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I used to use the Law-Away when Walmart offered it. I also have used it in the past at KMart when my daughter was younger. It helped to spread payments out also along with the hiding factor.

No one need live a minute longer as he is, because the Creator endowed us with the ability to change ourselves. - J.C. Penney



FROST_OWL
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10/26/10 5:40 P

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I know a lot of stores' advertisements inform shoppers about lay-away for the holiday season (I don't know if that's only for stores like Kmart) and that way, you pay just a little money down and over time until you've paid off the entire item(s) and can pick it up right before the holidays and wrap the gifts (that way you don't have to store the gifts except under the tree!)



SASSI_SPRING
SASSI_SPRING's Photo Posts: 10,479
10/25/10 4:23 P

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I remember when one of my bff(s) went "on strike." She claimed that over the year she had cooked x number of meals and on Christmas, she wanted to relax, enjoy the holiday.

Her husband watched "Wok with Yan" - Chinese food cooking show - and said he'd take over Christmas.

As a result they had an open house on Christmas day and served up a never-ending buffet of Chinese food. He did all the prep, cooking and serving, she sat back enjoying the day. It wasn't that difficult as the foods were simple and he loved it.

The day was a blast. People coming in and out, enjoying food, company and having a great time.

Another easy way of Christmas is how we did it up north - singles and married. We gathered at one home and it was never-ending. We all worked shift and all shifts were covered in the party planning. We threw together pot luck style food dishes, one stay at home woman volunteered to do the main course and the children had a blast. People came and went over a period of something like 18hrs. Everyone pitched in to set up and clean up. Easy peasy.

When I was living away from here and not going home for Christmas, I did up gifts for my pets and put them under the tree. I opened gifts while I was on the phone with the people who gave them to me. I watched movies and relaxed. I was working up to 5 jobs, so it was wonderful to relax.

Other times I volunteered to work on Christmas so others could have it off. With the small amount of staff on, we'd do little things to make it festive for others in the hospital. It felt so good to see someone who was really sick smile...for the first time in a long time...because nurses were singing carols in the rooms.

So from that another suggestion ... instead of a big family Christmas, head down to the local shelter or hospital, create a festive time there and help out, volunteer. Want something different? Volunteer to go to the animal shelter - as regular volunteers and staff will be gone and the animals sure would love company.

Holidays are only as stressful as one makes them, so make them as little stress as possible. :)



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4THEJOURNEY
4THEJOURNEY's Photo Posts: 5,261
10/25/10 3:55 P

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I'm really enjoying hearing how everyone plans for the holidays. I've gotten a few good ideas already on how I might make my holiday season a little less expensive and less stressful. This is so wonderful. :)



~~Pat~~


SASSI_SPRING
SASSI_SPRING's Photo Posts: 10,479
10/25/10 1:48 P

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Up here in Canada Thanksgiving has come and gone. *grin* And we don't have that big rush you all do down there after the weekend.

As for holidays I grew up with the idea that holidays are a time to get together with friends and family, not about gifts. Even today we still only give a gift around $20/$25. Being that I'm an "auntie of the heart" to many I've had to really scale down - then again, I was never up there with $$ for the gifts. I give gifts around $5-10 to them and the older ones tell me every year to only focus on the younger kids. But I can't help it, I want to give, so I do. They know it's little and the married ones get a combo gift or something each that is small - like a fishing lure each.

An idea that went really well is to make up gift cards. I made for the 2 "girls" a gc each that gave 3 cards of free babysitting. They could call it in at any time. For my bffs birthday this year I gave her a homemade gc for lunch - she had to go with me and I'd buy. We went to the Tea Room.

In the past I've also made gc(s) for house cleaning and pet sitting. I love the idea of a gas gc for a gift. I love practical gifts. That's a great idea.

Another neat gift is putting all the ingrediants for cookies or a cake in a mason jar, put a decorative lid on top and attach the recipe.

When I grew up and extended family was all together, only children 12yrs and under were in the gift bag. The names would go in, you'd draw out a name and give a small gift. That way it kept down costs.

My bff still does gift exchange with both sides of her family - hers and her husbands. They also have a gift exchange with one side where you buy a gift for a specific amount, wrap and label "male" or "female." Then you play Chinese gift game - where you pull a number, the first person chooses a gift and open. The 2nd decides if he/she wants that gift or choose a wrapped one. This goes on until everyone has a gift.

Lottery trees are another fun gift. My brother, sister'n'law and I do this for my parents. I have to check in with Niki and see if they got a branch before it snows. We throw in $10 each and buy $1 tickets. We peg them to the branch and put the branch in a flower pot with jelly beans. We also cover the branch with tinfoil. My parents love it. We do it usually every 5yrs as something fun.

Books are great and I love giving books. If the books are in prime condition there isn't anything wrong with pre-owned books. I am choosy though as I cannot tolerate any mold in books, so I have to sniff the books to ensure that they are not full of icky mold. I actually ended up with the title "book lady" because of my gifts of books. My friend's daughter heard I was coming to visit (yrs back), she was around 3 or 4yrs old. She ran to her room and started pulling out books - not just any books, all the books I had bought for her. She took them in the living room and set them up "for the book lady mum." We were all taken back, how wonderful that she treasured them so much. The books were there waiting for me when I arrived and yes, I did read most of them to her. *laughing*

As for buying ahead, I do that and then forget that I've done that and now I have a rubbermaid container filled with gifts. LOL!!

The part that kills me is shipping. We go between the bus and mail when sending out gifts. Most of us here have decided to send lightweight gifts or gc(s) because it's expensive to mail. I've sent gifts that the shipping is more than the gift!

Good conversation on this. :)



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CJANSEN40
CJANSEN40's Photo Posts: 826
10/25/10 9:22 A

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I quit giving presents to all my in-laws there is about 50! I make a Christmas ornament to send to each family and child. I buy all through out the year for my kids. We collect glass so I find something at their annual tent sale for them. then we have a major sculptor in town, I get them each a piece, usually something small. and now a give card usually home stores since they are all working on houses. I also get everyone a book, they don't mind "used". DH has never given me anything, so I don't expect and I give him something we need around the house. this year it will be cash only.

Happy Sparking
Cheryl J

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LATVIAN_SANDY
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10/24/10 8:29 P

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Wow! Thanks for bringing this up, and I'm totally amazed by the people that are already DONE shopping! Good for you!

This year, since we have limited funds, I put away $75 a month (starting in April) just for this kind of expense. I'm sick of having to skimp on presents. I do like the homemade gift idea, but I only prescribe to edible gifts, since we're really not into crafts of any sort. So I'm slowly figuring this thing out, and I at least KNOW we won't add to out debt this year, which to me is a bigemoticon

Sveiki!
Central time zone


WDBROWN94
WDBROWN94's Photo Posts: 2,920
10/24/10 12:57 P

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I think I am getting off easy this year. I have 3 nieces and 2 nephews and I kill 2 birds with one stone for gifts. My daughter sells gift cards as a fundraiser for school, so the ones that drive get gas cards. I know it is bad to do but it helps my daughter and the kids get some gas money. The youngest ones are so into sports that I give them gift cards to sports stores or cash to buy what they want.

My husband is Jewish and has a fit if I say anything about buying him a gift. So we just go to dinner. Now our daughter is not expecting anything because we are sending her to Australia during the summer, and she got a major party for her 16 earlier this month.

So I think the stress of the holidays is going to be gone for the first time in years. Now if the school would stop doing fundraisers....LOL

No one need live a minute longer as he is, because the Creator endowed us with the ability to change ourselves. - J.C. Penney



I_AM_ME_STILL
I_AM_ME_STILL's Photo Posts: 1,120
10/24/10 12:44 P

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We have a 1950's tiny 2/1 with no original storage. The (2)closets are 3 foot wide. Our clothes don't all fit. We have had to be creative.

I used to store all my left over wrapping, ribbons & the like, too. Now I save that space for clearanced items throughout the year. What I save off of one or two clearanced gifts gives me plenty of money to buy new wrapping supplies each year at the dollar tree.
I make gifts throughout the year as well & need to store them carefully as they are fragile.

Might not be an option for all, but works for us.



4THEJOURNEY
4THEJOURNEY's Photo Posts: 5,261
10/24/10 11:53 A

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That's my hope also. I hope to finish my shopping between now and Thanksgiving so that I can stay home and just enjoy my family without the hustle and bustle. Now I just need to figure out how to fit it into my budget. LOL :)



~~Pat~~


CATIATM
CATIATM's Photo Posts: 33,759
10/24/10 11:42 A

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I try to finish shoppping by September so that I stay on budget and can just enjoy the holiday season. I haven't wrapped anything, though.

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WDBROWN94
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10/23/10 10:45 P

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I have started thinking about the holidays. I know that I usually buy wrapping paper/bows and gift bags from the dollar store. I already know what my daughter wants so I have been checking out prices online, and I have been using coupons as much as possible.

I also buy little gifts for co-workers and those I try to do body lotions where I can get a deal at Bath & Body(5 for $10), things like that.

No one need live a minute longer as he is, because the Creator endowed us with the ability to change ourselves. - J.C. Penney



4THEJOURNEY
4THEJOURNEY's Photo Posts: 5,261
10/23/10 10:39 P

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...is anyone else thinking about the holidays?? We're almost to November, and I keep seeing the weeks ticking away until Thanksgiving...and the official start of the shopping rush...and all the sale ads coming in with pictures of all those items that the stores are pushing as a "Must have!". Family, friends, co-workers to give to, and it's already getting overwhelming.

We don't have a ton of storage space in our home, so I can't shop throughout the year, but I'm really thinking of making my list, setting my cost limits, working it into my household budget, and starting early so that everything can be spread over more weeks instead of just having to spend money at the end.

I know I can make handmade gifts for some people. Others, I'll have to give a gift. Thankfully, I think I still have enough gift wrap, bows, and gift bags from last year to use ,and I shouldn't need more of those. :)



~~Pat~~


 
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