I am beginning my 2011 Christmas planning. I need to lower the money spent on gifts, due to the additional number of grandchildren. I am on a retirement income. Any ideas?
By Linda from Hendersonville, NC
I buy a certain amount each month. Some other ideas would be to buy them a movie pass, a gift card to a fast food place or a gift card to some place like WalMart. My grandkids love when they get gift cards to fast food places or WalMart. They range in age from 14-24.
I shop for my kids all year. I do it in three stages: 1) put aside$5 a week starting in January until about April, 2) as soon as they start becoming available I hit yard sale, garage sale and flea markets. I also keep my eye on the clearance racks in walmart & Rite Aid. I visit the occasional Goodwill & Thrift store as well, 3) I wrap the gifts and start giving them out starting with the first birthday in November, then December followed by Christmas and then the last gift for a birthday in January. My kids end up with all kinds of gifts; many kids only want gifts at Christmas that rear their ugly head in about October. I leave those gifts up to their mother and grandparents and give them gifts I know they will enjoy that no one else is even looking for.
Start out with a budget. Decide early on how much you can afford to spend on each person. Then do just as "redhatterb" and "Suntydt" suggested and start hitting the garage sales, flea markets, etc. Keep in mind their individual passions and hobbies and just stop when you reach your per person budget limit.
Most of the "older" youngsters in our family know well that the adults try to equal out the dollar amount and not the number of presents and the younger ones don't understand the dollar amounts so are as pleased as punch just to get a bunch of silly, inexpensive, wrapped presents.
It's a good lesson for the older kids to learn that budgeting is part of the gift giving process and keeps the holiday more positively focused on the sentiment rather than the material treasures! Happy searching and shopping! :-)
Once a month check out sales, like for toys at a good price if the children are small enough for toys, maybe purchase 2 gifts if the prices are good.
In our family we drew names for the adults and set a small limit of $20. and for the 2 grandkids age 7 and 17 we bought gifts. I gave gift cards worth $25. to each one and a small gift to open. I am on social security this year and money is very tight. We had a nice family dinner, a large Christmas tree, and a roof over our heads. Thank God for that and our health. Just be thankful for all you have and remember the true meaning of Christmas. Blessings, Connie
Make a list of the children's name and ages, decide on how much you can spend for materials and then make age appropriate gifts. There are places on the internet to find directions to make building blocks, gift books, coloring books etc. For older children perhaps a handcraft, knit, or crochet a sweater, a scarf or a hat. Or find out what they need for storage and find an idea from the internet.
I don't know how many grandchildren you have but how about buying one gift a month. Like a book, or a toy. I don't know how old they are either. Also do you cross stitch, knit, or crochet if you do make them something. A blanket or christmas ornaments for their tree when they go out on their on. My mother in law did this until she was not able to do it anymore. My children have ornaments she made to remember her by.
How about recording tapes of you reading stories for the little ones? Used tape recorders show up often at the Goodwill.
My best advice is set a limit per child and stick to it no matter what. Its easy to spend a bit more on one gift and then play catch up with the other gifts, this is suicide to your budget.
If you are able to purchase any gifts on sale or with discounts, then use this as a bonus for yourself. Don't think if you paid half price you need to make up the money for that gift. The receiver will never know.
Also Goodwill has new items you can pickup for a "dime". Good luck.
My kids' aunt used money envelopes, $2 per child. It may not seem like much, but they loved the little treats they could buy with that money - usually McDonalds happy meals. :P
Oh. Linda. I could have written this request myself! I'm just like you, and older woman, not working, on a fixed pension, also single so no partner income to assist. I have five grandchildren under 6 years old, one great grandchild, and another due this year. Then there is also each one's birthday! I just a few days ago went shopping for s gift for one little man who will be two at the end of the month, and also purchased a'put away' gift for another little man who will be three in April.
So basically I shop all year around, getting something for each child, as. and when I can afford it, a book or a toy on sale, and Yes, I have bought gifts from second hand and thrift shops, They sometimes have brand new things donated to them, It can be a little embarrassing at times, I was shopping for a gift for the 2 year old mentioned and had a friend with me. She picked up a very cute toy. and said 'He would love this" probably. But I did not love the price, and had to look for something that fit into my budget.
Try to remember, as I do, that you may not have a lot of money to spend on them, but you do have a lot of love.
You can always make homemade cookies or candies. or make those gift in a jar gifts where you put the cookie or cake or whatever in a jar with instructions attached. Buy the dry ingredients a little at a time and put in a plastic tote so that its dry and air tight till you are ready to bake or put in jars.
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