Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saving at Christmas – Part IV

November 6, 2007 Tip: Cash Back or Rebate Websites
November 8, 2007 Tip: Price Guarantees and Price Protection
November 11, 2007 Tip: Retailer Loyalty Programs

Today's Tip: Home Spun Gifts

I'm one of those people who tries to put a lot of thought into the gifts I give. Several years ago, Todd Wilbur started showing up on talk shows demonstrating how to make Twinkies. He made it look so easy that I decided to purchase a copy of his Top Secret Recipe Book. Inside that book is a recipe for Kahlua, one of my all-time favorites. It's also a favorite of several members of my family. I purchased a bunch of Grolsch Beer Bottles (look those up on eBay, they're pretty cool) at a yard sale and brewed up some homemade Kahlua. As another example, when my first nephew was just a baby, DH and I created a giant stocking – big enough for him to sleep in for more than a few years. Back in the day when I had time to be creative, I put a lot of effort into Christmas.

Being a stay-at-home-mom doesn't mean automatic membership in the craftastic club. I am about as adept at crafting as… let's just say I don't do glue-gun related crafts when the kids are around because I swear every time I burn my fingers. When I was young, my mom taught me to sew, crochet, cross stitch, and embroider, among other things. Unfortunately, I don't do any of that these days so I lost my confidence about it. It may be like riding a bike where you get the hang once you start. It's just a matter of pulling the bike down from the rafters to even consider trying. A very encouraging friend sent me an early Christmas gift, a cross stitch pack to reintroduce me to it. I hate to admit that I haven't tried to tackle it yet because I'm completely intimidated.

So that brings me to my next post about saving at Christmas. Home spun gifts. I'm not talking about Martha Stewart inspired stuff – simply giving a gift from the heart instead of the pocketbook. It's what could be termed the Little House on the Prairie Christmas. Long gone are the days of referring to it as a Walton Christmas because these days, when people hear "Walton" they think Sam and not John Boy. It is my hope that by providing some samples and ideas of what some people do, you'll be able to be inspired to be creative, in lieu of giving the month's paychecks to retailers.

A few friends have contributed quite a few ideas and if I post it all at once, you might get bored! Stay tuned...!