Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Saving

Christmas is almost here and with it comes all the joy and happiness of the season, but sometimes it also can bring frustration with finances.  Christmas can be expensive, from gifts for co-workers, family and friends to Christmas dinner and all the in betweens.

Sometimes I long for the old-fashioned Christmas, the Christmas' of times like in Avonlea.  Recently, my husband and I have been rewatching Anne of Green Gables.  We watched the new season on Netflix, have you seen it yet?  It's not bad, but I still like the original; however, both make me long for the simplicity of life back then; especially when it came to holidays.  Not only was it simple, it was cost-friendly too. So I came up with some old-fashioned Christmas ideas that will keep your Christmas simple and cost-friendly.

1. Popcorn and cranberry garland

Every year I try to have us make this.  I have this vision in my head of us all sitting around the tree stringing popcorn and talking as a family.  Now, I know with three littles 4 and under this vision is not going to be a reality, but I still want to try.  We've yet to attempt this tradition; however, it's on our Advent calendar so this year it's happening.

Another option from is to make a paper chain garland. 

2. Bake from scratch

Cookies, brownies or any other treat, instead of buying them pre-made or as a kit just make them homemade, it does cost less.  Plus by making your own, you can then divide them up and pass out to your neighbors as a cost-friendly gift or advent activity. My girls and I have made and passed out cookies to our neighbors for the last two years, it's such a fun and simple advent activity that doesn't cost a lot.

3. Make your own wrapping paper

I love doing different things for wrapping at Christmas.  A simple alternative, brown packaging paper (or even the brown filler paper you get in those packages).  You can jazz up brown paper in so many ways.  Here are some of my favorite ways.

Brown paper with stamped name and ribbon ~ from: Confessions of a Wisconsin Housewife
Brown paper with twine and felt flowers ~ from: Design Dump
Brown paper with photo of gift recipient ~ from: Our Suburban Farm

Other ideas for brown paper:
add lime green &/or red duct tape or washi tape
add just a large initial of the recipient

4. Go caroling

Just like the popcorn string, I try to find a way to go caroling every year.  This year I was talking to my husband about how in just a few years, we can go as a family because the girls will be old enough.  I use to go caroling with a church group and I think it's such a fun thing to do.  So find some friends and go caroling!

5. Spend time as a family playing games

Play games, get out those board games and spend time together as a family in the evening.  Or do some fun Christmas crafts with your kids.  My girls love crafts, and doing special Christmas crafts is even more fun!  Here are some of my favorites we've done

6. Read the Christmas Story by the tree

Simple and no cost.  The true meaning of Christmas.  Recently I heard on the radio a new song that talks about what wasn't there the first Christmas.  If you think about all that we try to squeeze in and spend money on for Christmas, how many of those things were actually present at the first Christmas?  That really puts it into perspective of what all we try to do or buy during Christmastime.

7. Reuse/Recycle

I'm all about recycling by reusing first.  We get special treats from our hanging of the greens tradition that we do with my husband's family.  Generally they are given to us in Christmas tins.  I don't like to throw them away, but can't save them every year then I'd have too many.  (I will say I've saved some as Christmas decoration holders).  But, I've started using them to put our cookies in that we give to our neighbors.  It actually works out perfectly, now that we have 5 people in our family, because we have 5 neighbors.  This is just one way I reuse at Christmas.  Are there things you are given that you can reuse for anther purpose at Christmas?

8. Simple Advent calendar ideas

Toilet paper advent calendar ~ from: Coffee and Vanilla 
I tried this one last year and it worked really well.  You can see mine here.  
Get the how to on her blog above.

Mason jar advent calendar ~ from: Mama.Papa.Bubba
I loved the simplicity of this idea; however, I'm always having to rearrange my Advent Calendar it seems, so I made another version where the activity is a write in as well.  She has LOTS of different activities already planned so if you are looking for something already made this one is perfect! 

You can also download mine at the bottom of the page if you'd rather a write in option.  

Bible verse banner ~ from: Espresso and Cream 
I love how she ties in a bible verse for each day with this.  Plus, how simple and cost-friendly is this idea? 

9. Simple advent calendar activities 

Make and drink homemade hot coco
Make homemade hot coco as a simple gift for family, friends or neighbors
Make cookies for your neighbors
Wrap presents together 
Read the Nativity Story by the tree
Watch a Christmas Movie
Read Christmas books
Make a paper chain countdown

These are just a few, you can check out more free advent activities here. 

I love this time of year and decorating for it

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