If you are anything like me you are already beginning to dread the holiday season. I do generally love it, don't get me wrong, but it is also a lot of work for mothers. And from today it's only 68 days to the big one.
I get no help whatsoever from Mr Beach House apart from his lawn mowing abilities, he just turns up on the day. You can just make out his lawn mowing skills here. I do the garden and basically everything else........ Just to elaborate a little here, there was the one year, not so long ago, where I had a 5 month old and was dog tired. The night feeds had really taken their toll and I could stay up no longer. Santa never arrives until we are well into bed, so I gathered the presents from their hidey holes and put them on the front deck under a towel, so if the Big Beach House Brat got out of bed, Santa would not have yet arrived.
I asked Mr Beach House to bring in Santa's presents before he went to bed and lay them around the fire place, trusting that this was one task he could manage. The next morning the Beach House Brat, who was then just 6, ran into our room crying that Santa had not been. I will never forget the look on his face. I think he believed all those threats, that Santa only visits good children, had come true and he was devastated Yes that's right, Mr Beach House had left Santa's presents on the front veranda under the towel. So as you can see, I can ask and trust that he will rise to the occasion, but it just doesn't happen. I've had to accept that over the years. I had to think fast and made up something about grandma having disturbed him when she got up in the middle of the night, so Santa had to leave the presents outside. Phew!!!! Luckily, the year I took this photo, there were no such interruptions and he came down the chimney, which is so much easier on everyones' nerves.
So as I do it all pretty much on my own, anything that can ease the load is great. And along with all the work involved, I am also conscious of the budget. So here are 10 ways to source your gifts without blowing the bank balance. I guarantee you these are all things I have done in the past and believe me, people have been known to rave about the gifts I give:
1. Garage sales are great for toys, plants and vintage. Kids don't care if they don't come with packaging or instructions. Ditto for ebay, Gumtree and all the other online auction sites.
2. Op shops. Mr Beach House's cousin still raves about the oddly shaped Italian made $8 white salad bowl I gave her for her 40th.
3. Kris Kringle: Oh how I wish my immediate family of 20 ( all Mr Beach House's, apart from my mum and kids) would adopt this policy. You buy one gift, that someone really wants because you ask them about it, for $50 to $100.
4. Markets - I once bought my 4 teenage nieces a beautiful beaded bracelet for $5 each
5. IKEA and K Mart. My sister in law got a cushion and a salad bowl from me last year. Total cost $7.50. She told me she thought I had been too generous. If only she knew and if she is reading this, she now does.
6. Keep back presents from kid's birthday parties and regift them at Christmas time. This one is great for younger kids. They get so much stuff, so spread it out a bit.
7. Regift- when I get something I don't want, which is often, it goes in my gift cupboard and is given again. Just because I don't want it, doesn't mean others don't.
9. Potted herbs are a great and much appreciated gift. Pot them up in a vintage colander or teapot and they look fantastic on a kitchen bench. See how to make that here.
10 Have a look at the $2 shop. They are getting pretty sophisticated these days and have some very reasonably priced toys and giftware.
And a bonus tip as always.
11. Agree not to give a gift to each other this year. I do this with my friends and the sense of relief can be liberating. This sounds a little sad, but I have to say I am over getting stuff I don't want, made from limited resources, because my friends and I are on this guilt tread mill. Invite them around for morning tea instead. Give them your time, the best gift of all.
So what are your tips for saving money on gifts this Christmas? I'd love you to leave me a comment and let me know.
I've put a button up in my side bar with Easy Christmas Ideas . It's a page with all sorts of easy projects for Christmas. I'll be adding to it over the next 68 days, so be sure to check back and see what's new.
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