Friday, December 19, 2008

Frugal Christmas & the Friday Sale

WINNERS FROM YESTERDAY: Here are the 3 randomly chosen winners of the gift certificates from yesterday...CONGRATS! I'll be contacting you. :)
1. cindysherritt
2. Steph
3. Mari

Winners...please email me your full name, the state you live in and the email address you'd like me to email the certificate to. I'll be contacting you in case you don't see the blog this morning. :)

ENTER AGAIN THIS ENTIRE WEEKEND for another chance to win one of THREE $10 gift certificates to! I'm switching it up for the weekend. Just leave as many comment entries as you want on this post (any comment) today, Saturday and Sunday (by Sunday, midnight PST) as well as a way for me to contact you. I'll pick 3 winners and post them on Monday. GOOD LUCK! I'll be doing more of this, so come back!

That's right...enter as MANY times as you want on THIS post until Sunday night. I'm taking the weekend off from blogging so I thought I'd make this one fun. ;-)


One thing I'm finding while I blog browse is that people are thinking a lot more about being frugal this Christmas. I have to tell you that I'm refreshed by this. We (my hubby and I) have never been ones to go all crazy over Christmas gifts...I just don't feel like it's right. The season is not about presents, it's about the birth of our Savior.

Growing up, we always had very simple Christmases. I never felt deprived. Several times, while visiting friends homes, I realized that some people go absolutely bonkers over Christmas. I had a childhood friend who received at least 40 (not exaggerating) gifts and then proceeded to complain that she didn't get three things on her list. Sad.

I just don't like seeing people become materialistic monsters this time of year. I believe one of the good things that has come out of this country's recession is that people are going back to the simple way. People are focusing on spending TIME not money on their loved ones. I love that. Time. When money runs out, you can always earn more, but when time runs's out for good. Spend time on your loved ones.

Here are a few FRUGAL CHRISTMAS IDEAS I've come up with on how to spend more time with your loved ones this season...

1. Read the Christmas story.

2. Turn up the Christmas music and dance with your kids.

3. Play in the snow or if you don't have snow, sled down a hill anyways!

4. Pray at dinner for the people you've sent Christmas cards to. Let the children say prayers for their friends.

5. Attend a Christmas pageant in your community. Most churches have them. Look one up and take your family.

6. Turn on your fireplace, pop popcorn in it and then have a slumber party! We used to do this when we were kids and it was a BLAST!

7. Help your kids string popcorn and then wrap it around the tree.

8. Bake as a family and give the goodies as gifts! Who doesn't like homemade goodies? And its very frugal. Family Fun has some great recipes. (See recipe for wine cake below...its what I'm making for my neighbors. It's SO good.)

9. Drive around looking at Christmas lights.

10. Have a Christmas potluck! Invite friends over for a simple dinner and let them bring their favorite Christmas dish!

11. Make some Christmas decorations with your family. Here are some ideas from Family Fun.

12. Read about the history of Christmas, Santa and how other countries celebrate Christmas. click here

13. Track Santa on Christmas Eve. click here

14. Throw a simple White Elephant party. The gift can have a price limit ($5 or less) or something that is around the house. Here are the rules for a White Elephant party.

15. Instead of going nuts on the Christmas gifts, talk to your extended family and either agree to get gifts for the kids only or if that doesn't work, put a price limit on gifts. I've always thought that a Christmas drawing is great. Pick a name out of the hat and get that person a gift instead of the entire great in large families.

16. Wrap and recycle ... use brown paper bags that you've received from the grocery store and wrap your gifts with them! Go for a pine cone hunt with your kids (our neighborhood park has tons on the ground) and decorate the gifts with them! You can dip the tips of the pine cones in glue and then glitter. Pretty. Let the kids color on the cute. :)

17. Go through photos of your children with them. Let them pick out their favorite recent picture of themselves and then frame it for the grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. Great frugal gift that they will love!

18. Set the stage for a homemade play...Let the kids loose in your closet to dress up for a Christmas play! Give them ideas for a theme and then let their imagination flow. They can perform for the whole family. (My mom and her sisters did this when she was a kid.)

19. Find out where the locals are going. There are many public places that hold special events and Christmas festivals for free.

20. Go to a Christmas Eve service.


Here's the recipe I mentioned that I'm baking for the neighbors. It's fabulous and SUPER easy to make...

Wine Cake
(makes 4 small cakes)

1 Box of French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 Package of Instant Lemon Pudding (3 oz or so)
4 Eggs
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 cup Cream Sherry (Dessert wine section of the grocery store)
1 tsp nutmeg

Mix all ingredients well. Pour equal amounts of mixture into four 8"x3" or 9"x4" loaf pans. Cook for 45 minutes at 350. It will look a little brown when ready. Be sure to check center to make sure it's done. Let it cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I double the recipe to make 8 cakes. I have lots of great neighbors. :)

Variation: You can also "flour" the pan after it's been greased with cocoa powder or a cinnamon sugar mixture for a textured crust. This will eliminate that "white stuff" on the outside of your baked cake which makes for a prettier cake.


I'm going to do a really fast peek at the FRIDAY SALE. It's late and I'm tired, but help yourself to more if you want to browse here.

Fancy coffee...
Bodum Chambord 8-Cup Press with Bonus Pavina Thermal Glasses
List Price: $80.00
Today's Sale Price: $19.99 - 75% off
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

Whole lotta fab dishes...
Circulon Infinite Circulon 10-Piece Cookware Set
List Price: $550.00
Today's Sale Price: $209.99 - 62% off
FREE Super Saver Shipping

We have a set just like this and it's AWESOME! Great gift for the wine lover...
Pinzon Matte Chrome-Plated Corkscrew and Foil Cutter Set
List Price: $60.00
Today's Sale Price: $14.99 - 75% off
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

OK these get the CUTEST little boots award!!
Chill Chasers by Buster Brown Toddler Lil' Summit Boot
List Price: $39.95
Today's Sale Price: $19.90 - 50% off
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping

Don't forget...80% off Savings on $25 Gift Certificates. $2 when you use code SANTA - Ends Sunday, 12/22/08

Question of the WEEKEND
Do you have a frugal tip for Christmas?
Do share. :)
Oh and can leave as many comment entries
this weekend as you want for the giveaway!


Barely Domestic Mama said...

I don't have any frugal tips, I'm still learning. I guess shop around and compare prices - that's what I do.

Thanks for the coffee press advertisement...I need to stop visiting just kidding - I like your blog. Your blog always has great deals. I got the could I pass it up for that price and with my hubby really wanting one?!

~Trish~ said...

I dont know if I have any I guess just enjoy your weekend off :)

MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

I LOVE your frugal tips--just lovely. Around these parts, my sister-in-law and I share holiday cooking duties, so we each get a break entertaining the masses on at least one of the holidays. This is huge. Cuts down on expenses tremendously, and makes for a really warm, family-filled, loving affair.

Jess said...

Shop online! Its cheaper, better deals. Bonus, you don't go to jail for murdering the idiots that go batshitcrazy in the malls. That will save you a lot of money.

magpie said...

shop online!! google shopping and ebay. and i have definitely found that if you can make things and be creative, it's usually much appreciated!!

angie said...

Thanks for all your tips! Getting Starbucks and driving around looking at Christmas lights is one of my favorite things to do.

Mrs Anne said...

My frugal tip?

Make gifts! Use your talents to create something from the heart! Instead of investing money, you're investing your time, and the effort means so much!

:) great giveaways!


Cassie said...

I had a childhood friend also that bragged about all of her gifts. She would actually invite a bunch of us to her house to "showcase" everything that she got. We would just sit there, while she went through them one by one. She got at least 30 gifts probably. She always new for sure how many!

Cassie said...

The tips that you listed are great. When I was a child I would "steal" things from my parents like screwdrivers, toe nail clippers, fingernail polish, socks....and I would wrap them up and put them under the tree! I'm thinking about starting that up again! ;)

Mari said...

I love your frugal tips - you have some really good ones listed! Thanks for doing the giveaway. How exciting!

It's Always Something Around Here said...

Hmmm frugal tip.

I am trying to just make things simpler this year.

Are You Serious! said...

♥ My frugal tip... I start buying for Christmas just after Christmas is over!!! :)

Barely Domestic Mama said...

Enjoy your weekend off from blogging. I'll miss your posts, but at least my pocket will get a break. :)

Holly said...

You have great ideas! We don't get snow ... last year on Christmas Day, I blew bubbles outside for our son!

I save gift bags and reuse them. It's better for the environment than gift wrap, it's free, and it's fast.

Our family also sets a gift amount limit.

Unknown said...

I like your frugal Christmas tips! Good ideas!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! You were Olive? Very cool! So why did you give it up?

Anonymous said...

I use recycled wrapping paper from last year!

Anonymous said...

I also use recycled bows from last year!

Anonymous said...

drink more water and less soda...and maybe less wine?

cindysherritt said...

Can't really think of any tips better than yours - great ones. We're in realy financial trouble currently, but we did buy for two angels on our church's tree. We're also going to downtown Dallas on Christmas morning to help out with Big Heart Ministry's.

Cassie said...

I wish those Buster Brown boots were in my size! I'm off to search the web now for some Rockin' pink snow boots!

Cassie said...

Oh, and one frugal tip:

Eat out. Sort of. My family had a local restaurant cook the turkey, dressing, gravy, broccoli cheese casserole, dinner rolls, cranberry relish, and pies for Thanksgiving, and we are doing it again for Christmas. To serve 8 people (we only had 6, but we wanted leftovers), it was only around $5.00/person. We then added the rest of the usual suspects. Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, noodles etc. (they sent fake mashed potatoes, but I froze them for later use, and made real ones).

Happy Holidays!

Mrs Anne said...

As i spent some time shopping this weekend I realized that one way to stay frugal is to buy gift bags from the dollar store instead of expensive ones at target or hallmark...

:) they're adorable and you can make them so nice with some tissue paper!

deidrelee said...

Bake cookies, fudge, breads for gifts

deidrelee said...

set a budget and stick to it. You will save money

deidrelee said...

write down gift ideas for each persopn on your list and you will save time.

deidrelee said...

focus on the love you give to your family and that is what they will remeber the most.

deidrelee said...

I think I commented enough...Merry Christmas Melody and family. Hope you guys have a great one!!! Hahaha I put "hope" you have a good one!!

3boyzmom said...

My kids made homemade ornaments and are making baked goodies to give as gifts. Much sweeter, from the heart, and cheaper :)

Jennifer said...

Start early!!!

jls_wss2003 at yahoo dot com

Jennifer said...

Look for coupons!!

jls_wss2003 at yahoo dot com

Jennifer said...

Catch the day after Thanksgiving sales and the day after Christmas sales!

jls_wss2003 at yahoo dot com

Jennifer said...

I saw someone in the grocery store yesterday who had a "RAIN CHECK" for a sale that she tried to come get and they were out everytime she tried, so they gave her a rain check! Never knew you could do that! Pretty cool!

jls_wss2003 at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Find blogs with tips! There are tons!!

email: keithadanielle[at]yahoo[dot]com

Barely Domestic Mama said...

Looks like I will be getting my coffee press sometime this week! Woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

I really love your posts.Because aside from your products, you also include some delicious ingredients for free and in this post the frugal tips to spend christmas. I will definitely do the story telling about the birth of christ. The kids will surely learn something from it and will surely enjoy it.

Mrs Anne said...

Oh I was just thinking about some more frugal ideas... and I think that baking treats and packaging them cute is always a nice, little, inexpensive way to spread the cheer!


Ash said...

We did the kids only thing this year as well. Seeing how my brother and sil keep having kiddos (working on #4) we're going to have to keep this tradition going!!

Frugal tip: this is actually from a very good friend of mine, but I'm sure she would be pleased to see it passed around. Maybe?

She's giving her husband a gift certificate to "Lingerie of the Month." Stick with me - she's wrapping up all of her "honeymoon apparel," plus a couple new fun things, 12 small gifts, for him to keep and open once a month.

Obviously not on Christmas morning with the kiddos around, but I thought it was brilliant, and a fun way to add a little zing to your marriage.

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