Wednesday, October 17, 2012

10 Tips to Save Money on Gifts at Christmas Time

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 moving 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.  

8. Make something.  I've made beach votives, chalk boards or baked gifts which people have absolutely loved.



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.

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.
Today I am linked up here

38 comments :

  1. I love giving and I love the thrill of the hunt. I especially like finding unique gifts for my friends and family.

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    1. You are coming from a great place then. My mum is like that too.
      Carolyn

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  2. Hi Carolyn,
    I think we share the same Christmas shopping philosophy ;O)
    I love your ideas......
    I do the whole Christmas thing completely by myself too!!!
    I've already started.
    I'm a big fan of finding something beautiful at an op shop and putting it in a $2.00 gift box.
    It helps a charity as well and this is especially important at this time of year!!!
    Great tips......
    Tania xx

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    1. It can be lonely out there in Christmas preparation land. It's reassuring to know I am not the only one.
      Carolyn

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  3. Great tips Carolyn and I love the idea of your little Easy Christmas Ideas side bar. I must admit - I did smile when I read about Mr Beach House's (non) ontribution/s to the festive activities. Ditto Ditto here! Santa's presents on the deck is a classic. The one I remember most vividly is Cyclone Joy bearing down on the FNQ coast 2 days before Christmas - a new born at home - and having to drive 20kms in 100km/hr cyclonic winds to collect laybys from KMart just so my other two wouldn't think Santa had forgotten them!! "The things we do..." ;)Sharyne

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    1. Wow sharyne that is above and beyond the call of. duty
      Carolyn

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  4. i mainly only buy presents for the kids in the family. we have a kris kringle for our extended family with a maximum of $20 per gift. thanks for reminding me to start early!
    x

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    1. I like your budget. It's amazing what you can do for $20 if you know where to look.
      Carolyn

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  5. We no longer give presents to friends or siblings by mutual consent, only parents, but I usually make some baked goodies for VCH's siblings.
    This year I am giving the nieces and nephew a movie voucher to our local movie theatre- too simple and not cluttering up with more junk they don't need!

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    1. I'd like to drop the sibling thing as well. Unfortunately I have no say in these matters and would rather go with the flow to keep the peace for the sake of a harmonius Christmas.
      Carolyn

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  6. Our son is the only kid in the family on my husband's side, so I don't have to buy for nieces and nephews, thank goodness! We do a Kris Kringle thing with my husband's family with a limit of $25.

    I don't buy gifts for friends - I might make them something, but we don't exchange gifts.

    The budget for E. is around $150. He's happy to get hand me down electronics, and is looking forward to receiving my ipad this year (Mr. R. is getting himself one, he's passing his down to me as his has the 3G, and mine will go to E.)

    PS - my new blog on Wordpress is now "live" - please drop by for a visit - www.affordyourpassions.net

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    1. I checked it out and it looks great.
      Carolyn

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  7. Very cute story about the year Santa didn't come (almost)! And these are great tips. We have a monetary limit for all of the kids and in gift exchanges with relatives. That helps.

    XO,
    Jane

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    1. Budgets are great at Christmas time. The lower the better I think.
      Carolyn

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  8. Love Santa's footprints!!! Our family (both sides) only do gifts for the kids now! Seems to suit everyone. xx

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    Replies
    1. Footprints were a big hit with the Beach House Brats. Amazing what one can do with some icing sugar, a sieve and a sand shoe.

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  9. eeeek the countdown is on! I have bought some funky pots from Ikea Im going to pot up some succulents from my garden that have been growing really well.
    The footprints look fantastic, what a great idea :)

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    1. Succulents and IKEA is there a better combo? Sounds great.
      Carolyn

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  10. Sound advice Carolyn. All except for my son's brand new bike last Christmas, everything was from op shops or garage sales (oh and except for a new DVD each). They didn't know any better and they were their most played with toys ever. What difference does it make? Less packaging to through away. Oh how I hate that packaging. LOL

    Anne xx

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  11. This year, I am trying something different in the lead up to Christmas. I have organised a few Sunday afternoons with a group of like minded family/friends and we are going to share craft/cooking ideas. The idea is to bring along a easy craft project we can all do in an afternoon, or a recipe for baked presents. Its to get us all in the mood - we are having egg nog slushies and festive food as well as sharing the Christmas 'homemade' spirit.
    I am writing a post about it soon on my blog - a before and after!

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    1. Sounds brilliant and all about the true spirit of Christmas.
      Carolyn

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    2. Hi Carolyn,
      Love all these tips, particularly number 11. I'm trying to get my family to rethink the whole gift thing.
      Thanks for the inspiration,
      Beth x

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  12. You're such a clever, imaginative and creative girl. Love all your ideas and inspirations. I'm with you - do all the work on Christmas Day, and the lead up, even have to sort out the drinks, which I thought was a man's job! Love your Chrissy ideas too. Looking forward to seeing what you have planned for us this festive season.

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    1. Isn't it funny, I thought the man looked after the bar too, until I married Mr Beach House. The first guest walks through the door and he thinks he is one too. Arrrgh
      Carolyn

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  13. I love all these ideas hun. We do the kris Kringle with my Family and only buy for the kids. But you know what - I love little home made gifts the best. They mean so much more because of the thought and time and effort and love that go into them. Looking forward to your Christmas posts again this year lovely xx

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  14. Great Tips, it just gets so out of control. I have 5 kids of my own let alone everyone else.

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  15. Fantastic tips, Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Hope your family have an awesome christmas this year.

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  17. Stopping by from FYBF hop! These are great tips:) I'm trying to get prepared for Christmas ahead of time as my baby's due date is the 23rd! I would love for you to stop by and enter the group giveaway I have going on at http://the-life-of-faith.blogspot.com/

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  18. I love your tips, Carolyn. We do Kris Kringle with our three older children now. And then we all spoil the two little ones. Thanks for linking up x

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  19. I do hope your husband realizes just what he's missing out on by not participating before it's too late. My hubby tended to be that way very early on, but then we had a "discussion," and he realized the error of his ways!

    I absolutely love all aspects of Christmas, and do a combination of buying and making gifts. We now have six grandchildren, so we gift to the children, but have requested that our children not give gifts to us. There is absolutely nothing that we need that we can't buy for ourselves, so we would rather see them not spend their hard-earned money that way. Some years, when we've found something that we feel would make a wonderful family gift for our children, we have done that. Other years, it might be a big plate of homemade cookies. We also try to do some pre-holiday activity all together, and now that we live closer, Christmas Eve is at here at Nana's home.

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  20. Super ideas. We do a really small Christmas and try to find a family in need to buy for. That makes it really Christmas. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

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  21. Love of the tips. I especially enjoyed the red and white ornament. I had a similar one my aunt made me when I was much younger. I still have it and it brings back such nice memories. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. Great ideas! Saw you link up on some link parties. Would love it if you linked up on my blog hop and added it to your list www.w-t-fab.com/search/label/bloghop. Also let me know if you'd like to follow each other!

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