Saturday, December 13, 2008

Graceful Rose ~ Holiday Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips for the Holidays

There are many things we all can do to save money for the holidays. Some are just common sense and some you may have heard before. Here are a few.

1. Recycle old Christmas cards. They can be cut in half and uses as post cards which will save the cost of the post card and the postage. The cards can also be cut up and used as gift tags.

2. Ornaments that have lost their hooks or tops can still be used in displays in a bowl or tall vase for a festive look.

3. Using Children’s art work for wrapping small gifts.

4. Use scraps of wrapping paper for gift tags. Just cut a square, fold it half, punch a hole in it and put a piece of ribbon through it.

5. Try giving hand made gifts instead of store bought gifts. Sometimes a plate of cookies or a home made cake is just enough for that special neighbor or teacher.

6. As far as saving money at stores, I did this the other day. I was shopping at a Large Department Store and they had a sale going on and had hand bills at the door with coupons. One coupon was for $10 off purchase of $50.00 or more and the other was $15.00 off a purchase of 75.00 or more. I was purchasing approximately $130.00 worth of merchandise so I divided it into two purchases and used a coupon on each one, saving a total of $25.00. So be sure and check for special and coupons at the department stores and if you don‘t see any, ask the sales clerk, sometimes they will have a coupon they can give you..

7. My next tip is one that some may know about and others may not. My husband and I run an auction in our little town. My husband works very hard and is very honest so people flock to our auction, especially at Christmas time. You can save as much as 90% on many things especially Christmas decorations. We go and get pallets of overstock items and we go through every item to make sure it works and we put stuff together to make it is all there. We sold prelit 7 ft Christmas trees for as low as $13.00. We have something new every week and we also have other people who come in with great buys. We have a guy here this week with brand new craftsman tools for the men, we have another guy who comes and brings toys for the kids, all brand new still in the box. My husband also gets general merchandise that includes kitchen appliances, stereos, Ipod docking stations, etc. Most towns have auctions around if you ask around. Some are better than others and some are not as diligent about checking things out, so be careful but you can get some real bargains if you check them out. Our auction has gotten busier since the economy has gotten worse as we try to sell things that people need and would go out and buy anyway. Just another option to think about.

8. Regifting. You will have to be careful here and not give this to the person who gave it to you but we all get gifts that we really don’t use or perhaps put away and forgot about. This happened to me when I got my decorations out this year I found 2 or 3 brand new gifts that I received last year and forgot about and they got put away so now I have at least 2 things I can regift.

9. Buy all year when you see things on sale and put them away. You can really save money this way and also saves the stress of trying to find everything during the holidays when there is so much to do.

10. Buy several of the same item when you see a good sale, such as a special ornament or candles, etc. and give the same items to several people on your gift list.

11. When decorating, use nature. Bring in real pine boughs, cones and berries to dress up that mantle. Also you can use popcorn and cranberries to make garlands.
How pretty is a glass jar filled with cranberries with a candle in the middle!

12. Create a family calendar. Select family photos and get calendar kit from your office supply store. You can personalize each month with family birthdays and special events. You can even include favorite family recipes. Grown children would love this too and it is a great way to pass down those special family recipes.

13. Obviously shopping after Christmas for next year is a money saver.

14. Making your own decorations with your kids is a great way to save money. You can create tissue paper wreaths, special ornaments and other things that will be treasured through the years.

15. If you have a big extended family, draw names.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Decorating Ideas from B.Catherine Designs

~ Holiday Decorating Ideas ~

Garland does not have to be used just for the tree. Every year I dress the tops of breakfronts & cabinets with lighted greenery. To add a bit of color tuck in flowers, Christmas balls & ribbon. This year I added a strand of Pearl Beaded Garland dripping down.

In your cupboard or breakfront, add garland draped off the shelves. Add some faux or fresh sprigs & this will sure become one of your favorite Holiday additions. I have draped my Pearl Beaded Garland right over the dollies I use all year round. A little touch of the unexpected

This is one of my favorite holiday plates & I chipped the plate & mug last year. You can either break it up & use the pieces for a beautiful Holiday Mosaic Piece. Here I covered the chip in the dish with a faux sprig & hung the mug along with it, facing the other way so the chip is in the back. Still a fun and jolly addition to my kitchen this Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mrs, Charlotte's tips for a Stress Free Holiday

How do we handle stress during the holidays?

It can be a real challenge handling stress and depression during the holidays. We are all trying to do to many things in a short

period of time and we pay the price. Some of the following tools will help us have stress free holidays.

1) Organize your time. Don’t over book yourself. Be reasonable with your schedule. Give yourself a break, create time for yourself to do

things that you love to do. Plan ahead.

2) Delegate household duties such a cleaning and decorating to each family member. Make some time for yourself.

3) Make a budget before going shopping and stick to it. Make sure you stay out of debt.

4) Don’t always say yes, only say yes to what you really want to do. People will understand if you can’t do certain projects or

activities. Learn to say “No”.

5) Get plenty of sleep, exercise and good nutrition. This will make you feel better and helps you cope with stress.

6) Acknowledge your feelings. Give yourself permission to be sad. It’s OK to cry or express your feelings when needed.

7) Appreciate the simple things. Get into the holiday spirit by putting on holiday tunes or make your favorite recipe.

8) Choose resolutions that help you feel valuable and provide long term happiness.

9) Accept family members and friends as they are. Don’t try to change them. They are probably feeling the effects of holiday stress

and depression too.

10) Seek support if you feel isolated or down. You don’t have to go it alone. Don’t be a martyr.

References: Mayo Clinic

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