I have a "holiday/gift box" that I keep in my closet. I started this box years ago when our church started a secret sister program. Each month, you give your secret sister a small gift, and at the end of the year, you tell her who you were. I already have a good start on my box for this year and have spent almost nothing. You can do this too, for any reason.
First, don't focus on "certain" items, be open to anything, as you can theme your items together for gifts. Second, take advantage of seasonal items for next year, and third, take advantage of sales combined with coupons. Most of my items are from CVS, Walgreens, and the Dollar Store.
So far, I have items I will give to my secret sister in February, includuing red candles (left over from Christmas) and pink candles (left over after last Easter), which I got at Walgreen on clearance for a dime each, along with a red fleece lap throw I paid $2.50 for on sale, minus $2 of CVS bucks, so it really cost 50 cents.
I also have some green candles (left from Christmas, same price) which I will put in a basket with some other items for St. Patty's day, as well as some more Easter candles.
I got free air fresheners (sale price was the same as my coupon price), including one of the new electric ones. One is evergreen scented which will go in her December gift.
I have a coupon for a free jar of Jiffy peanut butter, which I will add to a survival kit for May, when school gets out. That kit will have PB, Jelly which I have made, a loaf of my homemade bread, 3 boxes of band-aids (again free after coupons), some kids crossword puzzle books, and free bubble bath.
Also, I have 2 boxes of Christmas cards that were marked down to a quarter for her December gift and a couple rolls of gift wrap that were also a quarter each, Thanksgiving paper plates and Halloween paper plates which were a dime per package, and some 4th of July cloth place-mats that were originally $8 each, that I bought for $1 each. I also have some more red and white candles for July 4, but will need to pick up a couple of blue ones to add.
Basically, buy things after the holiday day that can be reused for another holiday. Keep in mind however, you need to stick with items that are not going to dry out, expire, or loose their scent.
Also, save and use those bonus bucks and reward points. With my Walgreens rewards, last year I cashed them in and gave last-years sister a $10 red lobster gift card on her birthday. She had it listed on her sheet as her favorite restaurant.
Last year I spent around $20 total for 12 gifts for my secret sister, and she received some very nice gifts.
Also, be creative! Try this approach starting now, and you could have a box or sack full of items you can give for birthdays, Christmas, or as stocking stuffers.
By mom-from-missouri from NW MO
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I've done this since college. It's really fun and handy for a forgetful person like me that frequently needs last-minute gifts! I also stock up on fun gift wrapping ribbon, etc. and card stock when it's on sale. I think a gift means so much more when they are dressed up and have a cute little note attached. :)
How do I get Walgreens rewards?
When I left my job to move across country to another state, my co workers took a small laundry basket and over a period of a month, managed to fill it with coloring books, candy, little toys, etc, lots of things, only it grew to a full size laundry basket stuffed way full of little treasures to help the kids get across country without getting bored. It was so beautiful of a sentiment and all of them contributed just little things, and when I saw it I was so amazed and the kids loved it so much! We moved across country in an RV, in fact two of them, and for sure the kids didn't get hungry or bored.
I love the idea of doing this adding to the gift box all year long. It is almost like a Christmas club account in actual items!!
I believe the Walgreen rewards program is through the pharmacy, it is $20 a year and if you and your hubby need scripts for an additional $10 you are both on it (you could check if they have a family plan). It is a yearly thing and it also applies to anything in the store that is a Walgreen product. You get a percentage applied to your card and that adds up as you go along and you can ask them to use your rewards at the register and it will be taken off your purchase. I use mine all the time and I also found that the reward card is less money on some of my husbands meds instead of using his health ins copay. So check it out.
Great idea and very simillar to what I do for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Gathering things all year long is fun! Just wanted to say (in jest)... I hope your secret sister from church isn't a thriftyfun member or she will know your secret identity now!
I do this also! its not like we have extra money at Christmas! I shop sales and clearance all year for my son and parents for example I just got my son 3 marvel masks that were $4 for a dollar each for Christmas and a toy sword for a quarter on Halloween clearance!
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