Dec 4, 2008

Christmas On a Shoestring

At our house, we decided almost a year ago this was going to be a light Christmas - the economy has little to do with it. Last year we got very excited and went completely overboard - spending far too much on one little boy. He was overwhelmed and we realized ten minutes into the holiday that we'd gone too far. This year we're spending about 25% of what we spent last year on Robbie and we're limiting him to two presents (from us) and his stocking.

Additionally, we're not buying anything for each other. We want to finish our basement - so the more money we can spend on that, the faster it can be done. A new studio for me and a new rec-room for Toby is all the present we want. That doesn't mean we aren't getting each other gifts - we just can't buy anything.

It seems everyone is being impacted by the economy right now. Almost everyone I know has suffered a drop in income to some degree and those that haven't are at least bracing for it. So, many of us are holding back on Christmas spending. In my research to come up with no-cost gifts I came across so many great ideas. For obvious reasons, I can't describe here what I am actually making for Toby so instead I'll list some other great ideas we've done before and ideas I may do in future.

First up....

Car Kits
How many times have you been in the car and needed a pen? A wet wipe? Hand sanitizer? A piece of paper? One day I got sick of not having what I needed and made Toby and I both car kits, each in a 1 gallon zip lock bag. Think of them as a mobile version of a 72 hour kit. The great thing is all these items are laying around the house - the gift is in the the thoughtful organization and presentation. Zip-lock bags fit well in the glove box but you can get more creative and decorate a box or even sew a little roll-up organizer with little pockets for it all.

Suggested Contents:
A pen and pad of paper
Scissors (if you've ever bought anything in clam-shell and wanted to open it, you'll understand)
A $20 bill for when you leave your wallet at home (or a decorative envelope for one if you want to keep it n0-cost)
Four quarters (for parking meters)
A blank check
A laminated list of phone numbers that you could use if you lost or broke your cell phone
Hand sanitizer
Fingernail clippers
Chap stick
Cheap sunglasses
Single doses (in envelopes or baggies) of pain killer, allergy medication, antacids, or whatever things your sweetie is prone to using
Breath mints or gum

Optional extras for those with kids. These are a life saver if you forget the diaper bag.
Small toy
Small Suckers
Sandwich sized zip-lock bag of wipes and a diaper
Rags, cloth diapers or paper towels
CD of lullaby music
Children's Tylenol or similar

It's also a good idea to print up a little inventory of the kit and place it in the bag, facing out. Then sweetie can glance to see if the bag has what he needs before he stops at 7-11 and pays $5 for a handful or wet-wipes.


marisa said...

Great idea! I might just make one for myself.

I hear you saw Julie yesterday, I did too. She was helping with a photo shoot.

Amber Ro said...

Saweet idea. I think the car kit should also include snackers for hungry moms. That may make a good gift for Grandmas who don't normally have stuff like that in their car.

Kim said...

Dood so awes. We are always without something in the car. Except pens, yes we were out of pens in the house and I found them ALL in Hubb's glove box. Who'da thunk?