Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saving at Christmas without being a Scrooge

Potential financial worries abound. We are lucky enough, we don't own our house. We don't have a ton of debt, but I still have student loans ($38,000) and the car ($18,000) to pay off... we both keep our credit cards at reasonable, payable limits (i.e. paid off within in a month or two normally). And we have officially established our "for each other" spending limit on Christmas. Spending less is accepted.

But, with all the 'other' people in the world that we like to exchange gifts with... we are being a little skimpy, I won't lie. A big thing is the kids. We would love to buy all the kids in our lives great big presents and stuff, but I have come to a conclusion: I won't compete with Santa Claus. I remind myself: "these are not my children" and am happy to say... they always seem happy with whatever we get them.

Friends. Well, I took care of that this summer. It's done, well... part 1 of each gift is done. Part 2 involves PC stopping by a gourmet grocer. I'm hosting a cookie swap at my house and we'll also be doing the holiday party rotation, of course.

Family. We don't have a lot of relatives that we exchange gifts with: Parents, siblings and occasionally an aunt and uncle. PC's parents are pretty much all set. We know what we want to get and I am doing all kinds of couponing to get it down to a more reasonable price. My parents.... well, we are still stuck on that one. And, my brothers and sis-in-law... don't know. One brother will be getting a Hemlock Ring blanket and some really cool hot cocoa with some peppermint schnapps and mugs. The other one... I am still thinking about it. They are expecting a baby in Jan/Feb (I know, I need to knit for the little one!) and we don't know--- buy them something baby related?? This year, I am gifting to my aunts and uncles b/c well, I want to. I am knitting from stash, so therefore (besides my time) it's free. We like free.

Coworkers. I bought 4 bracelets ($10 a piece) from my friend Mariuca. She makes pretty, affordable jewelry. She's a practical girl and a fellow frugal-one... and she knows what sells and for what price. She used to host jewelry parties, but is holding off until after Christmas. If you want something though, I am sure she can accommodate (Mari?) and it'll help a new mom add some presents to the Christmas tree this year. And honestly? $40 for work related gifts isn't bad. One coworker is getting hand knit mittens. She will love them, she will tell me I should not have and then she will wear them through. She's been a great mentor to me this year and a good friend.

I have to stop next week and grab some Christmas cards and get ready to send them out... as my gift list dwindles, my card list increases!

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