Act 334

Get the party started

Cue the snow, we made it to December! I intend to make the most of the holiday season this year, in a cheap and cheerful way that is.

I started a party stash by buying a few boxes of crackers and some christmas goodies at the most unlikely place, Shoppers Drug Mart. I don’t understand retail anymore. Everybody is selling everything. That aside, I’ll keep a keen eye out for the things I know I’ll need come Christmas parties be it a secret santa gift for my husband’s work party, hostess gifts or fixings for our Christmas eve Reveillon and our Christmas morning breakfast.

Our home made advent calendar is up – it’s nothing fancy – but it works and it’s a great start to the season ahead.

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Act 319

Read the flyers

I’m amazed at the newspaper to flyer ratio this time of year. Seems everyone, and I mean everyone, is getting a jump on the Christmas sales. Of the publications dropped off at my house, 60% is flyer, 40% is news.

I am, by no means, an extreme couponer and I won’t drive all over town to save a few pennies but I do like a good deal. And there are many to be had if you’re prepared to do a bit of research like reading the flyers.

It’s also a great way to get a jump on the small things that you need at Christmas for stuffing stockings or welcoming visitors. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, little things you don’t need to rush out for at the last minute. It’s also good for hostess and teacher gifts, if you’re into that sort of thing. A little something to say thanks for going the extra mile. These miscellaneous expenses can put a dent in your Christmas budget so if you see a deal that works and you can afford an extra $20 or $40 in your budget, start a little stash of things you might need come December. Then dig out your extra wrapping paper (I bet you have your fair share, I certainly do) and you have a simple, inexpensive way to let the people you appreciate know that you appreciate them.

Happy saving!

Act 313

Inventory what you can give

On this quiet and pre-remembrance day weekend, we have stayed closed to home. While my thoughts are of war, and the terrible toll it has taken on us as families, communities and countries, I’m reminded that the freedom the sacrifice of others has given us is the opportunity to plan for what comes next; and a quick check of the calendar tells me it’s Christmas.

Christmas is many things. A time of joy, family, friends and traditions. It’s also a time of challenge. How to make dreams come true on a limited budget.  How to meet and exceed expectations. Not a Christmas has gone by with my kids that it’s eve hasn’t left me fearful that they will be disappointed. They never are. It’s just an irrational fear like arachnephobia.

This holiday season I will be more mindful of expectations and obligations then in past years. And I’m starting with my pantry. I inventoried what I have. Plenty of flour, plenty of sugar, plenty of spice. Lots of icing sugar. So it you’re on my nice list, you can expect cookies of some kind. We’ve got sprinkles so prepared to be dazzled as well. If you’re on my naughty list, expect, well, nothing. I’ll keep what I have to show kindness to the people I love. So if you’re my banker or my insurance agent, or my municipal council, don’t take it personally, but they’ll be no cookies for you.

I will also draft a budget and start looking now for the things I need, be it butter on sale for said cookies or a mini-mac and tv screen for the boys “media/homework” centre, cheaper and more powerful than a laptop, I’m told.

If you’re not into cookies, you’ll likely get something home made – maybe a cushion with a funny saying or a doily if I can learn how to crochet in time. Which is doubtful, for the record.

Brief, I’ll make what I can and buy what I need. And if my name is on the From tag on your gift, know that your love and support matters to me more than anything money can buy. I remember you.

Act 193

Something old, something new

Spent the day celebrating the wedding of a lovely couple.

Being in deft defying mode means the likelyhood of a gift card or a fancy schmancy blender from us was not in the cards. Instead, we helped to design their wedding invites and made them a keepsake box using a vintage suitcase find and some new fabric in their wedding colours as a keepsake box for all the lovely cards and momentos of the day.

When you make something personal for someone it has more meaning – both for those offering the gift and those receiving it. Happy how it turned out. But mostly happy for a new couple at the beginning of a happy new adventure.

V ❤ J July 13, 2013

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