MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Yes, I am typing this at 5 in the morning after staying up until midnight cleaning from my impromptu Christmas party.... James and I are hanging in my room as not to spoil Christmas surprises downstairs (he's in a notorious "all-presents-are-mine-and-I-shall-unwrap-them" stage). So, I am mind-numbing him with some Sesame Street and sipping eggnog (it's Christmas-- I am allowed to drink that while eating leftover cheesecake in bed).
Anyway, I can't wait to see the girls faces when they see the mountain of red and silver packages spilling out all over the floor downstairs! The holiday season has been fantastic for some favorite quotes too, and I can't wait for some more winners.
"My favorite thing about Christmas is all the activities outside!" says Lissie.
"Activities? You mean like sledding?" I ask.
"No! You know the ones with the lights and the God-theme!" says Lissie
"Oh.. NATIVITY!" I say... :)
Now, to my Top Ten Things to Buy after Christmas! I am obviously establishing myself as the cheapskate of Ems & Jules-- but, after Christmas shopping can be fantastic for planning for next year. However, as Ems says-- it only works if you have enough storage (check Pinterest for some fantastic ideas...) to keep the stuff all year.
10. Upcoming birthday presents. Just in case Santa didn't get everything on the list, toys, coloring books, craft kids, and more usually go up to 50% off the day after Christmas. Especially if you KNOW what you want, this can be great for those end of winter/early spring birthdays.
9. Ornaments Check out your tree-- does it need more bling? Mind did last year, and I waited about a week after Christmas (slim-pickings by then, but SUPER cheap), and I let the girls each pick out two 10 cent ornaments at Wal-mart. Seriously, the $2 ornaments were done to 10 cents. Plus, I picked up a couple of sets of clear plastic ones to make cute ornament crafts for the next year.
8. Crafting supplies Besides ornament crafts, I bought those foam craft kits, jingle-bell necklaces to make, and some nativity coloring books on clearance. My nephews expect me to come equipped with crafts when I visit so this is a great time to buy some anticipatory crafts for next year. And most supplies don't require much room to store either. I usually check out Joann's Fabrics or AC Moores for these.
7. Tape & Scissors Sometimes holiday stores sell green/red tape dispensers and scissors for Christmas-- and then they have to put them on clearance. So I have bought scissors for a quarter and 'good' tape for less than a dollar. I can never have too much tape with my super-crafty kid who decorates my house for every holiday....
6. Candy O.k., Ems is going to die laughing at this one. BUT, I usually buy Christmas M&Ms because they are soooo cheap. Why? Do I love to eat M&Ms? Well, yes, but I really divide them into a green M&M container and a red one. I love to make holiday-cookies & pancakes with special M&M treats. Valentine's Day, I use the red ones, and I save the green ones for St. Patrick's day. Yes, I divide them up and save them.
5. Artificial Trees I bought my fake tree two years ago the day after Christmas. This is one item you NEED to got the day after Christmas because they SELL OUT QUICKLY. But if you are ready to make the switch from real to fake, this is the day to do it! We got a beautiful one that we would have NEVER been able to afford without the 50% markdown.
4. Nativity Figures O.k. I am in the market for these this year. I had a patient give me a beautiful handmade manger, but without the figurines. I had no idea how expensive they can be, especially because I need about 6" plus figures... so I am hoping I can find a nice set this year.
3. Decorations Are you in need of lights, garlands, serving ware, or candles? This is the time to buy. I often stock up on cinnamon spice candles, white tapers, and picture frames that can be used all year. (Side note, wait until after Easter sales to get advent pink & purple candles).
2. Random stuff Just look around at the store. Sometimes those "Made for TV' items go on Christmas clearance or musical snow globes or nose hair trimmers--who knows! Check out everything and try to figure out what you might want for the year. Break out those gift cards (o.k. I hope I get one-- I love gift cards I don't care if they are impersonal) and think outside the box. Slippers, socks, and mittens are on my list too!
1. Wrapping paper. As I am strong proponent of wrapping stocking stuffers, we go through a lot of paper (5 rolls this year). I buy a ton of paper after Christmas. Also, I check out the plain silver (for weddings), the Hanukkah-blue paper for birthdays, and character-style paper for the girls (I go them pink "Christmas" wrapping princess paper for their birthday last year). Be sure to check out the square foot of each roll-- it might look like a deal, BUT if you are only getting 25 sq ft you are not getting your money's worth.
Final tip, check stores that are not the big box ones: CVS, Wal-greens, craft stores, etc. They often have to get rid of their holiday merchandise very quickly to make room. Wal-Mart & Target get SWAMPED early so usually slim-pickings.
Anyway, hope all of you are having a blessed Christmas and enjoying the fruits of your wrapping-labor!!
Easy Rule #122620 With a little planning, you can budget for next year's Christmas.
Easy Rule #5555 Christmas is so much more fun as a parent!