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Old 06-23-2012, 10:03 AM   #46
Jerseyguy's Wife
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Originally Posted by Zhoen View Post
If you don't mind a suggestion, it's not too early to be thinking about that packaging you mentioned above. Yard sales and thrift shops are great places to find baskets and jars and bottles for cheap that can be decorated up, and now is the time to be saving your pickle jars (the smell WILL eventually wash out, and the lids can be painted or decoupaged)... And that easter basket you buy for $.25 at a yard sale now will look gorgeous at Christmas prettied up with white or gold or silver spray paint.

Also consider putting out an "ISO" on freecycle for baby food jars (well, all kinds of jars, really...) just the right size for putting into gift baskets, and -most people with babies end up just recycling (or trashing) them.

I worked as a teenager at a craft store, and planning ahead and re-purposing can save you SO MUCH MONEY. I always cringed when the ladies would come through with dozens of new jars and bottles and baskets and spend hundreds of dollars on things that can be found for cheap or free if you spend a little time to find them... and they thought they were being so clever and saving money...

Oh, and check if there is a county fair in your area... a lot of them have categories for "herbal gifts" as well as a "christmas corner"... at ours, there's even a "christmas" category IN the herbal competition... if you have your products made up far enough in advance, you can enter your things in as many categories as you're eligible for, and not only may you win a few (like 1-5) dollars to offset your materials cost, but you can put "award winning herbal products" on your bio for massage *AND*, how much spiffier will your baskets look on Christmas Day if there's a fat-'ol "best in show" ribbon hanging off? (Though, honestly, I would KEEP the ribbon if I were you, maybe include a photo of it in the basket... )

If you need lavender, let me know, I have an embarrasment of it blooming right now in one of the gardens I tend, plus a ziplock of dried flowers (about 2cups, maybe?) at home that I put up for soaps a while back and haven't ever gotten around to using that you're welcome to have if you'd like.

And last, but not least, there's a book called "Jazzy Jars" that you may be able to get through your library. It has BEAUTIFUL ideas for packaging...

Congratulations on your graduation!
Thank you. And I don't mind your suggestions at all. I have been collecting packaging for my concoctions since I decided to do this. And you can bet I'm not spending lots of $$. Cause I'm CHEAP. I'm okay with that. Thanks for your suggestions. I have been looking for baby food jars, mostly because they are a good size and easy to make "sun proof" with a little wrapping.
I may very well be interested in some of your lavender, too. PM me, please, and we'll talk about that.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:12 AM   #47
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I think about Christmas all year! Really...lol!
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:50 PM   #48
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I love all the holiday but i have started christmas shopping the sales already lol


hobby lobby already has christmas decorations up !!!!!
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:07 PM   #49
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Christmas is going to be hard this year. We were a two income family, with my daughter, son in law and grandmunchkins, living with me. My son in law moved, long story, so now it is my income that supports the house, the 'family car, the 'economy car' and all the household bills.

I will admit my grandmunchkins have been very, very spoiled, so this will be the first 'hard candy christmas'.

We have each other, our health and the things we need, just not much extra. In fact, sometimes, no extra. I do feel 'rich' though, in many ways. I wouldn't give up my grandbabies for anything!!

They are used to game system, disney trip, toys galore Christmas. But this year, there will be a lot of love and a couple of things under the tree.

I just hope Kmart has it's great markdowns next month, as I should be able to pick up a thing or two for them!!
You sound very sweet! Just so you know, Target also has a toy markdown clearance usually in July. I went today to get an idea of what they will have Started marking down and some is decent. I've hit the KMart one, too, but Target usually has different stuff. Also, if your grandkids like Hexbugs, you can buy a $5 gift card at Target right now with one attached--just use the gift card on your own shopping and enjoy a free toy. They do this with Legos closer to Christmas as well.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:49 PM   #50
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Definitely on my mind, with a huge family and limited funds it is on my mind throughout the year to look for deals

I have been storing away crystal lite canisters and I will be decorating the outside of them with scrapbooking supplies or fabric on the inside and will be filling them with either something homemade (candy, cookies, etc.) or peppermints and hot cocoa mix..definitely budget friendly and I like that I will be decorating them!

For our munchkins I have NO CLUE what we will be getting them but we stick to 3 gifts for each- something they want, something they need, and a surprise from us..they have 3 sets of grandparents and this is helping keep down on toy overload and they are learning to really think about what they are asking for! Now what to get all of our parents!!!!
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:12 PM   #51
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So far I have bought:

*Books for neice and nephews (at the library's 1/2 price book fair)
*Happy Napper Dog for my nephew (clearance price+30% off +40% off from Justice)
*Kindle Fire for DD8 ($30 off using Amazon local discount)Paid for with gift cards from swagbucks
*Justice clothes for DD8 (clearance+50% off)
*Premier Designs watch for my DSis (free from winning a drawing)
*Premier Degins necklace for my DM (free from winnig a drawing)

Think I'm going to get my DB, DBIL, and DF those syma helicopters. Got one for DH last year and he loves it.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:33 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Andrea View Post
I love all the holiday but i have started christmas shopping the sales already lol


hobby lobby already has christmas decorations up !!!!!
Kind of makes me wonder why they bothered having the big clearance in January and February if they were just going to put it back out in June!!!


I wrote a BIG post just now, but the poof-fairy stole it. 'Sok, it boiled down to: Those grinches at the Paragon sent me an order confirmation for all those gift I bought on Wednesday, then mailed me a form letter on Thursday (unsigned) that I got today, that their website had an error, and if I still wanted my order, I should call them???? So I did, and the gifts for MIL and FIL are out of stock now.

So I'm feeling pretty Scrooged right now. After I hung up from my polite conversation with the nice foreign man at a call center somewhere far, far away, I got a NEW confirmation email, and emailed both confirmations back to customer service and suggested that if they give me free shipping on this order, it would be a good step towards me feeling less like they bait-and-switched me...

I'm usually not that forceful, but my in-laws are soooo hard to shop for, and I was sooooo happy that they were done. And now they're not. Well, we'll see if I get another unsigned form letter in the mail next week saying "thank you for your complaint, we lost that too..."

On the upside-- folks here on the budget board talk a bit about ebay, so I just listed the books I just finished reading, and if they go for as much as the similar sets on ebay right now, I can roll that money over to buy some trading pins for DSD20 for her Christmas present. We just got back from the parks, but she has been talking about going back in January to celebrate her 21st birthday, and she was wanting some more swap-away pins to take with her, since she loves all the ones she has, but enjoys the trading.

So there, back on track, back on subject... plans for a Christmas gift that is both "disney" AND "budget", with the added bonus of getting some clutter (the books) out of my house.

Anybody got any grinch repellant? I mean the point of shopping early/all year is to REDUCE the stress of the holidays... not elongate it...

Bah Humbug!
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:35 PM   #53
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I generally shop all year long, too. I am a pet sitter so I buy holiday pet toys right after Christmas when they are 75% off or more, and stick them away for the next year for my clients. Then I shop here and there but honestly, I really haven't seen too much this year. Haven't found anything fantastic on clearance.

I am the person who 'over shops' for everyone. I'm the person who gives gifts to all the neighbors knowing that half of them will never give us a gift but I don't care...I just feel like it's what you do. I'm the person who feels like my house needs to be perfect, I get 'stuck' hosting every year because nobody else in my family wants to do it, I volunteer to buy and wrap 475+ presents for kids at school, etc. I do it all because I *want* to do it, but over the past few years I must admit it has become a bit of a grind...and I realize it is completely self-imposed.

Last year I purposely planned a trip to Disney in early December to remove myself from the madness at home and just allow myself to be in the spirit at Disney. This year, we are doing the same. I'll get all my decorating and shopping done on the weekend after Thanksgiving. When we get home, all of the madness will still be there, but the true meaning of the season will be with me as well. In keeping with that, I decided to give most people (adults, of course! ) a bottle of liquor this year. A bottle of wine for those who like it, a large bottle of craft beer for some of the guys. Frankly, my family aren't drunks but they enjoy a nice drink. We have a nice liquor store near us and my husband figured out when they stock the 'clearance' cart, so he has been going in there and getting $15 bottles of beer and wine for $2 each. I knew we were going to do this so I bought wine bottle bags on clearance at Target after last Christmas, and I just bought more on clearance at Oriental Trading (with free shipping!). Everything will be a breeze to bag and tag, and I think it's something people will actually use.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:47 PM   #54
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My mom's family just drew names for Christmas, so we're already thinking about it here, too, though we'll celebrate it at Thanksgiving with them.

I've had my eye out for several people who are hard to shop for, but haven't really found anything so far. I'm also going to be looking at end of the summer clearance for a gift for a gift exchange with my dad's family- our gift is supposed to be worth $75, but I'm hoping to snag a few nice things on clearance that will hopefully cost me far less than that.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:52 AM   #55
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I do it all because I *want* to do it, but over the past few years I must admit it has become a bit of a grind...and I realize it is completely self-imposed.

In keeping with that, I decided to give most people (adults, of course! ) a bottle of liquor this year. A bottle of wine for those who like it, a large bottle of craft beer for some of the guys.
As long as you know that you can stop any time you want to, it helps relie ve those moments when you thing "why me?" As long as you can answer "why me?" with "because deep down I really want this," you're fine... the day it becomes too much, I hope you'll be honest with yourself and reevaluate.

As for the wine and beer, etc... maybe a cute tag that says something about "here's a little Christmas spirit..." or something like that, "May the spirit of Christmas warm your soul, meanwhile, may this bottle of spirits warm the rest of you..." something like that.

I like that idea... unfortunately, most of my family are teetotalers, and the ones that aren't are already fun and easy to shop for...

Update on the Christmas shopping-- got a trite email //signed// "Caleb" this morning from the catalog I ordered from. They "apologized for the inconvenience" and credited the shipping back to my order, but not before pointing out the $5 discount I had already applied (which was on my ORIGINAL order, and a legitimate code for a purchase over $25, so not like they were "giving" me anything.)

In the end, I'm getting the free shipping, so I guess I should be happy with that... but their customer service felt about as polite as Walmart, and I'm still just left with a sour feeling regarding the company. Their products are lovely, but I think it will be a long while before I choose to order from them again. If I wanted to be inconvenienced and treated rudely, I have a Kmart 4 miles from my house that I could go to... Oh, well, time to let it go.

Hopefully by the time Christmas rolls around, looking at those gifts won't make me upset any more
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:10 AM   #56
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Anyone else thinking of Christmas since the thread about the budget Christmas trip?
Sorry about that!
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:32 AM   #57
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Anyone else thinking of Christmas since the thread about the budget Christmas trip? I just pulled out next year's fruitcake and "fed" it some more rum. Now I can't wait for the holidays.

Anyone want to get a jump start on Christmas in July?
Get a jump? I'm 75% done!

I always start buying Christmas right after Christmas when things are on sale, but some of the best prices I find are January-February clearance sales. You know, after people have stopped thinking about after-Christmas sales. Winter clothes are at their cheapest then.

I have Kindles and Amazon gift cards for my daughters and older nieces. I still need to buy them each a cover; that's an absolute necessity.

For my college daughter, I have quite a few small-to-medium items that are perfect for her. I hate it when everything I see is right for one child, while I find nothing for the other. I know I'll "catch her up" later, but lately I haven't found as much that screams my younger daughter's name.

I have two LL Bean shirts for my husband. We've fallen into a habit: Every Christmas he gets two new shirts, always LL Bean, and he discards two, um, elderly shirts. What he doesn't know is that although those shirts sell for $40-55 each most of the time, they go on clearance for $12-15, and that's when I buy them. He thinks he's spoiled because all his shirts are from his favorite maker. I have the HBO Game of Thrones DVD set for him (purchased from ebay for $14), and I have a couple books for him.

I have Nerf swords and broomstick horses for my younger niece and nephews. Do those gifts go together? Maybe not, but I know they're going to love them. I also have some books for them, but I think those'll end up being birthday presents.

I have Northface jackets (the fuzzy-fuzzy ones) purchased not at rock-bottom prices, but at good discounts for a couple family members. And I have some nice scarves and leather gloves tucked away, which were purchased at rock-bottom prices.

I have oodles of stocking stuffers, and my Operation Christmas child boxes are finished except for candy.

Now that it's summer and I have some time to myself, I'm working on some small rag rugs for several people. They're still in the "rolling cloth into a ball" stage.
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:44 PM   #58
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Our daughter asked for just one thing for Christmas, a new Ipod touch. Hers was stolen at school. We've been discussing it a bit today, and offered to get her that plus take her to Orlando for her school break! I get to avoid all the holiday entertaining and shopping? Yes, please!! We have Busch Gardens season passes, so we'll go to Sea World all week and do DTD and a nice Christmas Eve dinner at Kona with beach viewing of Wishes!

This all means I have just three people to buy for...then I am done!
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:55 PM   #59
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I got an email from my local coffee store,the one that sells Keurig coffee K-cups.
So I decided that I'd do coffee and cookie bags for all the people at work.
We have a Keurig coffee machine in the staff room.

I need to make 24 small gift bags.

72 K-cups on sale cost me $33.00-Got Timothys German Chocolate Cake and Cinnamon Pastry. Expiry date says they are good for a year.

I have a ton of small Christmas plastic bags left over from last year,so I just need to make some cookies and I'm good to go.

Hugs Mel
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:39 PM   #60
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As long as you know that you can stop any time you want to, it helps relie ve those moments when you thing "why me?" As long as you can answer "why me?" with "because deep down I really want this," you're fine... the day it becomes too much, I hope you'll be honest with yourself and reevaluate.
Agreed! I think the liquor gifts are part of the re-evaluating, already in process. In the past I had to find the PERFECT gift for everyone, something different that would suit each person. I feel like I spent a lot of time, energy, and gas driving around looking for all those things. And in the end, a lot of times they are opened and I don't think they really have the "oomph" I was hoping for. As I get older I realize the most important thing is spending time with your loved ones during the holidays, letting them know you love them, etc. DH and I both have HUGE families so I'm choosing to do the liquor gifts as a way to spend more time with my kids and focus on what's important during the holidays.
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