Monday, August 20, 2007

Secrets of Successful Savers and other tips found in older magazine articles A Series #2

Another article I "clipped" was "29 Ways to Get Through the Christmas Crunch - Last minute time savers to take the stress out of your holiday season" by Karen Miles (Woman's Day 1/2/01)

I have started actively thinking about the impending holiday season since I am to be hostess for our family Christmas & there are 8 birthday's & 2 anniversaries in November & December.  The sooner I start the less overwhelmed I feel!  So now is when I start pulling out the idea files & making lists of supplies, gift ideas & forming a budget.

This article has some great gift ideas, I define great by if I'd love to get it, it must be great!

1. Toss in a towel - who doesn't need a good fluffy large bath towel?  I know I do, there is always one or 2 that's time has come and is ready for the rag pile, so a towel with a collection of soap, sponges, scrubbies would just send me to a happy place!

2. Give a cup of tea.  I love the idea, especially if you can find a vintage tea cup, saucer & quality tea.

3. Picture it perfect. For me this would be a collection of printer papers, ink, & a collection of nice frames, for others scrapbook supplies, mini albums.  Anything to get those pictures off of the computer & out into the world!

4. Gift is in the mail.  Who doesn't want to write more, connect on a more personal level than email.  A gift of stationary, nice pens, stamps, even a card assortment would be a great gift.

5. Easy does it - found a great gift, buy a bunch of them.  Chances are there is more than one person on your list who would love it!  For me that is Golf, anything golf related covers 9 people on my list!

6. Greetings in a jiffy - sending out your Christmas cards online seems awfully impersonal to me, now ask me how mine were sent out last year!!!  I sent e-cards to all my out of town friends & family.  I was hoping to send out a newsletter to update but we'll see if that happens this year!

7. Whiz down the Internet aisles. There are now a zillion Internet stores to chose from.  I go for ones that either give me cash rebates or points ( ,  &

8. Make it a movie. this one covers the gift cards for movies, make a night of it, don't just give the rental certificate.  Put together with some popcorn, movie candy, & a nice bowl.  We picked up a few plastic containers that look like cardboard popcorn containers and put them in stockings last year for us & the kids at a dollar store.  Now we each have our own when we hang out on the couch and watch a movie.

9.Give to a Cause. donate to a cause in the name of the receiver.  Maybe some people can get away with this, but I'd do a ton of research to make sure the person would support the cause on their own first. 

10. Send a maid.  Hallelujah!  Gift certificates for carpet cleaning, maid service, oh heck the local home improvement store would WOW me!   Ok, so maybe not the carpet cleaning, but then I won't have that much carpet left in a month.  I'd have loved it last Christmas!!!  A gift card to the home improvement store is always appreciated here, any little bit helps & it's nice to feel like your priorities are recognized. 

11. Email online dollars - the website the article mentions is long gone, but I have received gift credit cards in the past.  Prepaid cards that are good where ever you want to use them.  The only problem I had was not using the full amount, it operates as a credit card so you need to know exactly what's left the next time you use it.  Solution, spend it all in one place!

12. Just send cookies. Yum. Who would scoff at a basket of cookies, plate of cookies, bag of cookies, oh heck a package of Oreos would suit me just fine!  If I were giving, I usually use a decorative container plastic or tin that can be reused.  I like the idea of food baskets spaghetti basket (pasta, homemade or store sauce, spices, cheese, etc), with the cookies you could do cutters, frostings, sprinkles.  I'd love to get a coffee basket nice big mugs assorted flavors & types, different flavorings, sugars, creamers.

13. Bag the scents of Christmas - the article talks about no-sew sachets, I have mad scented coasters before using squares of fabric sewn over smaller felt squares that sandwich some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice or even pie spices.  This is a great use for spices that may be at the end of their shelf life & you want to get rid of them.  Then when you put a warm cup on them the scent just fills the air, mmmm, nice!

14. Frame it - the artilce says to glue fabric to the frame & give it as a gift. I'd just go buy some themed scrapbook paper & make myself a mat to match or compliment the photo I'm giving.   

15. Tag the kids for this job... tip is to have kids use holiday cookie cutters to make gift tags.  Anything to keep them busy this time of year works for me!

16. Make a grand entrance - swag a doorway, use fabric or greens for this one.  I have some greenery garland that we purchased 8 years ago that I use to decorate the doors with.  I have changed the bows out once.  They are worth the investment (I bought them after season clearance saved 80%!). I have some with lights, some with bows, some with ornament/bow clusters.

17. Give old ornaments a second chance.  Put them in a bowl, makes a nice center piece.  I've also used silk flowers in an arrangement, sugared fruit on cake stands, spray painted fake fruit. 

18. Dress up those canes. I haven't done this exact tip (dip canes in chocolate) but I do buy a variety of candy canes because I use them as coffee stirrers.  Not sure I'd recommend this with the fruity versions!

19. Jingle all the way. Jingle bell wreaths on the door.  I have one, I was going to make one myself but then I got one as a gift.  Love it!  After a couple days it got annoying on the door, so we hang it to the side of the door now!  My door decor is a wreath hanging I made connecting 3 greenery wreaths with ribbon & then decorated with floral picks to coordinate with the ribbon.

20. Trim in a hurry - I can't keep our tree simple like the article suggests (lights, ribbon bows, baby's breath, maybe ball ornaments of one color), I have too many sentimental ornaments now.  But I do have more than one tree usually.  I do have a bunch of floral picks in my ornament case, I haven't replaced the baby's breath yet, but maybe this year.  My hubby is an icicle person, but I dislike it with a passion!  I use ribbon & beaded garland now.  It isn't as messy as the tinsel icicle stuff.

21. Tie it in a bow! This I do, use ribbon EVERYWHERE!  I am finally after 8 years of the same pattern getting tired of it, but over the years I have acquired yards upon yards of the wired red plaid that I was drawn to.  I have bows on the tree, bows on the doors, bows in the kitchen, bows on the light fixtures, bows on the lamps...

22. All dressed up and ready... Dress up the dolls & bears for the holidays.  There are a couple bears that I like to put bows on & set under the tree when there isn't anything else under it!

23. Entertain without the fuss - bring a dish to pass.  When doesn't the potluck help you entertain easier!

24. Need party fixings in a snap? check out online party supply retailers for ideas, ok I don't do this AT ALL!!!  I usually get whatever I need at Aldi & use my "good" stuff to display & serve the food.  Unless you are serving something weighty (prime rib, steak) any old plate will do, why spend $$$ on pretty plates?

25. Spice up your ice. - adding mint or berries to ice cubes or even making them out of juice is an ok idea, if they work with what you are serving.  I usually make a decorative ice ring for the punch or if you are serving wine an ice chiller frozen with holly, cranberries, flowers/petals works nice too, just remember to keep it on a deep platter to catch the melt off.

26. Sit right here. If you need place cards you can easily create your own using greens, flowers, chocolates, anything really.  I don't use these ever, so I've never had to make cards, I have given "favors" which can either go at each place setting or in a large display if you are serving buffet style.

27. Keep those little elves busy - have stuff on hand for the kiddos.  Enough said right!  I have the youngest kids in both families right now so it is usually up to me to provide the entertainment!  Usually crayons, movies, favorite toys, even video games depending on where we are!

28. Toast it. If you are serving breakfast cut out the toast with holiday cookie cutters.  This is a great idea for pre holiday lunchboxes too! I bet Santa bologna tastes better than regular!

29. Your house and mine. Throwing a progressive party isn't anything that would work for my families.  Sounds nice though, maybe if we were ever to have a block party!

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