View Full Version : shopping for holidays

Zoe Girl
11-7-15, 10:19am
This may be a bad topic for here, but I totally have to shop ahead and get super good deals this year. I was making progress on living in my means without child support and then I had a large car repair with a car rental on top, sigh. So I would love to talk about what you all are doing. My kids are 18, 22, and 25 and all have SO's for at least 2 years so I want to get everything something nice (plus money of course at this age).

* today I am driving up to Celestial Seasonings because the store has more tea offerings and cute mugs. Everyone loves tea in my family.
* ordering from Think Geek!
* making one afgan and maybe one more gift
* no clue for my parents,
* the small gift I love doing is a reusable Starbucks tumbler for a couple dollars, a $5 gift card attached and some chocolate in it. For people like my staff

11-7-15, 10:34am
Your small gift is really nice--I think most would really appreciate that!
I love shopping for my family, and this year, got almost everyone Fleece jackets on sale from LL Bean, for $39. Bought a book for my dad where most of the money went to dunal conservation in the Great Lakes region, another book of beautiful photos of this part of the world for another brother.
I want to make my son a hat and darnnabbit, this might be the year I actually finish it!

Zoe Girl
11-7-15, 10:55am
I want to make my son a hat and darnnabbit, this might be the year I actually finish it!

Oh yeah, I know that one. i got out hats and gloves and found the things I had made previous years, not sure if they use them often but I like making them and they seem to like them.

Float On
11-7-15, 11:43am
For my parents I'm doing some more wood-burned designs on thin slices of wood from a tree on the farm and some old-family photo transfers onto wood slices (going to look for old photos from Christmases past on the farm (we/they had a christmas tree farm for 40 years) while home at Thanksgiving. Mom is only decorating a tree in the cabin this year so it's an old rustic style theme we're going for.

For the boys, I haven't begun to think about what to give them, though both single men in college I think the money theme will sustain them. You know, the gift that keeps giving pizza on Friday nights to get them through a semester of dorm food.

11-7-15, 11:44am
I exchange with just a few people since single, parents passed, not close to sister and her family. My best friend and I keep it simple. We usually do one primary gift, under $20, and include a few inexpensive treats around it. Another friend and I exchange gift-basket like gifts. There are those I work with who I don't exchange with but I appreciate and I like the lotions from The Body Shop. You can score BOGO deals there and they're really nice. My big holiday thing is cards. My way of touching base and letting people know I'm thinking of them. But, overall, I keep it simple. My 2d or 3d year living on my own I had a revelation about whose birthday it really was and decided to truly keep it in that spirit. I spend more on toys for the toy drive than I do for personal giving.

11-7-15, 1:45pm
I'm with Meezer Mom on cards. Love them! I sent off my international cards today.

I love Bath & Body Works. They've got some great specials going on. I like the liquid hand soaps. 7 for $24, plus a coupon code for $10 off a $30 purchase and free shipping over $50. I got soaps for coworkers and other little gifts.

My goddaughter wanted a silver chain and pendant, which I've already bought. Got it for 20% off a couple months ago.

I'll be helping out a family or two in need (that I personally know). A Visa gift card really helps them out or a grocery gift card.

11-7-15, 1:46pm
It seems a lot of places are having good sales early this year, more so than in previous years. Or maybe that's just how it seems to me. I'm doing everything online this year, unless it involves a trip to the grocery store. I've even bought my stamps online. USPS only charges $1 shipping.

11-7-15, 1:47pm
Zoe, I love your small gift.

11-7-15, 2:51pm
We're doing a family photograph card (through Snapfish) and I'm writing one of those holiday letters people often complain about! The thing is, we have had so many changes this year - new town, address, phone numbers, jobs, schools, activities - that I need to quickly get people up-to-date. I'll try to refrain from bragging. I'm sending out more cards than usual this year - mostly because a lot of our friends are back in CA, but I'm also trying to be better at keeping touch with family and old friends.

Aside from that, dd wants a "good" camera. It seems like the ones that fall into that category are $600+, so I'll have to see what she really needs. I'm not sure if she wants one with changeable lenses or just something that is a step up from her phone (which takes darn good photos!) In fact, I'm not sure I can get an affordable camera that will actually be an improvement. We'll see. She's also outgrown her ice skates, so I'm looking for a pair on eBay. (A pair for myself, too - there's a nice outdoor rink in town.)

Dh likes to cook, and our new kitchen could use some new stuff. So I'm getting a spice rack for him, which I will fill with bulk spices from the food co-op, and use my calligraphy to make pretty labels. The rack I'm looking at mounts on the wall. Also a magnetic knife strip, as there isn't a good space for a knife block on our counters (and I like to keep stuff off the counters anyway.) A few other cooking things (a good spatula, stuff like that.)

I don't usually buy gifts for my siblings, nieces, nephews, friends, and co-workers. I'll make stuff for the assorted pot-lucks that are coming up, but that's it.

11-8-15, 3:55am
I like those holiday letters provided they're honest not pretentious.

11-8-15, 6:42am
I do very little holiday gift giving & this year my Mom & Sister have agreed to stop our gift exchange, so it will be even less. We'll still get together for a nice dinner and we'll continue to pay for Mom's Tracfone.
I've always potted up several amaryllis bulbs for my home and I always give one to each of our mothers in November. This year, I ordered an additional case of amaryllis kits from John Scheepers (quantity discount on a case) and I'm going to use them for hostess gifts and gifts for staff at work. I am one of a team of supervisors in our department, and all the other supervisors want to give gifts to our associates, so I go with the flow. The agreed-upon price tag is approximately $10, so this is something decent with a final price tag of about $11 per person (these are high-quality bulbs from a specialty nursery, so although I could probably pay less at a local discount store, the bulbs would not be the same quality). DH & I also started a tradition a couple of years ago of going to Wild Birds Unlimited and buying a few special treats for our birds instead of buying gifts for each other. So aside from that, I only have two grab gifts to buy and no holiday shopping stress. How liberating!

11-8-15, 7:04am
rosa -- I like the idea of buying special treats for the birds! That's definitely MY kind of gift giving.

My brothers and I no longer exchange gifts and we'll get something collectively for our mother.

My SO and I are not big into gift giving, although if someone request something then we'll usually buy it. He'll buy a big toy for each of his nephews.

If I really get into the gift giving spirit, I'll maybe gift some jars of honey to a few select co-workers.

11-8-15, 7:08am
Rosarugosa, I might use your bulb company for Mom. She loves amaryllis and it is the type of present that last a long time and gives her something to report on and show others.

11-8-15, 7:13am
Sweetana3: I've done business with them for several years and have always been pleased. I've bought nice paperwhite kits from them too. I often just buy bare bulbs for myself, since I have plenty of pots and potting soil. I don't know of any other places that sell just the bare bulbs.

11-8-15, 10:10am
It seems a lot of places are having good sales early this year, more so than in previous years. Or maybe that's just how it seems to me. I'm doing everything online this year, unless it involves a trip to the grocery store. I've even bought my stamps online. USPS only charges $1 shipping.

They seem to be happening earlier - I wonder if the whole "stores open on Thanksgiving" and "Black Friday" will eventually burn out because of the sales moving up and more folks already being done shopping by then.

11-8-15, 11:25am
OMG, the whole Christmas theme is out in all the stores I visited on Saturday. The only thing missing was music. Cannot stand it.

11-8-15, 11:54am
We stepped off the gift giving merry-go-round a long time ago.

It feels great to not have to worry about what gift to buy, how much to spend and then the worst part:
What to do with the gifts I receive?

Unless one gives cookies. We like cookies :)

11-8-15, 12:11pm
I've had a $500 budget the last two years. We have cut way back with family. Last few years at work, it had dwindled done to a few diehards still giving but most had just stopped. With friends, we don't exchange, instead we do lunch and a movie or go to a museum.

This is the second year with the $100 Christmas for the kids (plus stockings), last year they did not balk, wanted gift cards. This year I got them both deeply discounted luggage sets as they are close to launch, and I did well with small gifts from deal sites like Deal Genius and Choxi. I told them I need suggestions for a $30 gift, neither has gotten back to me so probably gift cards. DBro got a few small useful things and my fav this year, a thing that makes your toast come out with the Virgin Mary on it. No offense intended, it's just the way we are. His GF is getting a purse I ordered on Amazon when I needed a cable and it was an add-on item, you had to spend $25 to get it, I found 2 purses for $26 total, one is pretty nice, the other may go back. It does not look like I spent so little. And other little things for her. A really nice, comfortable pillow for my dad and my mom wants chocolates.

Hostess gifts I found really nice potholder sets, modern fabric prints, heavy duty for $5 from Flirty Aprons, they definitely look like more than $5. I bought fillers or stuff to have on hand if I forgot someone, on the deal sites. like 4 pairs of nice looking ear muffs for $9, these short fleece scarfs that really just keep your neck warm without the length of a regular scarf, I tried one and like it, it fits in your pocket, those were maybe $8 for 3. I am re-gifting a very nice Vera Bradley purse, scarf and gloves to my aunt who has helped us so much with my mom, I just don't need it and this looks like a fairly expensive gift.

For people who like Bath and Body Works or like to make their own soaps, candles, etc or you need a filler gift, Bulk Apothecary is my new fav site. When they have a sale, usually 20% off, the stuff is so inexpensive it's ridiculous. I tried their lip balm, 100 ct for $12, as good as any lip balm I've tried (the tube looks the same as the Avon ones), I give some to anyone who shows up here and it stockpiles well. It was maybe 10 cents per lip balm. They have a line of inspired by Bath and Body stuff (IDK how they can come out and say this). I got DD's fav scent for I think $9 for 64oz. I did not really think about how much 64 oz is until it came in the mail. Wow. They have a very nice 32 oz lotion that I love, I forget how much but cheap. They have lotion that smells just like Aqualina Pink Sugar perfume. Nice skincare line as well. Worth a try if you have a lip balm addicted, Bath and Body Works loving teen. You can get bottles to dispense smaller amts of product and make your own labels for all the stuff. For little girls, there is a Disney line and Bonne Bell.

Done or close to it, approx $100 under budget. Most of it bought over 3 months so most is paid for. The only store I'll step into is the homemade candy shop my mom loves. oh and I do get the kids an ornament each year and one ornament to symbolize our year, like an ornament purchased on a trip. That will be tough this year as travel has consisted of MD appts. I need an ornament of me face planted on the floor, DS is brutal, he probably has a few pics of that I can use for a photo ornament, lol.

It's nice everyone giving less, we make a big breakfast, take naps (lol), play boardgames and make a tasty dinner. no one has complained about "getting less", not even the kids.

11-10-15, 9:20pm
!$500! budget for gifts! Holy moly! My budget total for everyone is around $100, and that includes postage.

11-11-15, 7:41am
works for me, shrug.

I think $100 plus stockings is fairly low for your children. Then $25 on rest of family and small amts for hostesses, and people who helped us majorly in this past, not great, year. And I know, right now, I am under budget by at least $100. $400 for all those people is reasonable to me.

How can you get any cheaper than $4 ear muffs for an uncle who took me to many MD appts, refused gas money and insisted on using his own car? I can't think of much for less than $4. Kudos to you if you can and I would love even less expensive suggestions, as there are many more people who helped me that a small gift would be nice for a thank you.

Zoe Girl
11-11-15, 8:50am
I am very sure I spend more than $500, I feel good about it since I really don't feel pressured. I like making some gifts but even those cost supply money. I have 2 parents, 3 kids, they each have a SO, my siblings and 4 niece/nephews. I also get $10 gifts for my 2 staff and cards or candy for co-workers. I take this time to help my kids out with things they need like a new work outfit or some kitchen gear or just something fun. The one un-frugal thing I do that I don't really like is use wrapping paper. My kids love it when gifts are very pretty and they are all artistic and appreciate that. So this year I am spending more time and energy on the pretty packaging that they like.

11-11-15, 11:47am
I used to buy wrapping supplies after Christmas; I have enough now to outlast me. If you look for it, you can find neutral colors to use for other occasions, as well as tape and tissue.

11-11-15, 11:52am
The one un-frugal thing I do that I don't really like is use wrapping paper. My kids love it when gifts are very pretty and they are all artistic and appreciate that. So this year I am spending more time and energy on the pretty packaging that they like.

I have received gifts wrapped beautifully in plain brown paper bag wrapping that came from a grocery sack turned inside out. Tie with raffia and tuck in a little garnish, one of mine had tiny pinecones with evergreen. Nicer than most wrapped gifts with wrapping paper.

my gifts are wrapped with the 75-90% off paper bought the year before at CVS. Cheap paper, rips easily, not even pretty. Once I use it up, I'm going to try the paper bag wrapping.

11-11-15, 12:34pm
There is a whole lot you can do with a roll of white paper too. The kind used to kids drawings, etc. Every year can be different, use different trims etc. Would even be a "Martha Stewart" type of thing to do.

One woman took reusable boxes and decorated them really fancy and now these boxes are recycled each year within the family. She was selling them at a craft fair.

Or pillow cases with names on them, or fabric bags that are used each year to hold the presents. In Japan it is an art to wrap items in reuseable fabric squares. I just cannot see them with bags of waste paper and ribbons to throw into the landfill.

Lots can be done to reduce the waste and expense of wrapping paper and ribbon and still be creative and fun.

11-11-15, 1:49pm
I've received gifts wrapped in fabric (a quilter's delight!), newspaper (funnies), and stamped wrapping paper. I avoid using a lot of foil, as it can't be recycled.