Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Stuffing stockings on a budget
**Check out my Starbucks giveaway!**
I love to give my children gifts; and at Christmas I love stuffing their stockings. I have a couple of problems though, I HATE clutter and I'm on a budget. What to do? Many stocking stuffers I see advertised in stores are just junk, which means clutter and a waste of my money. We've been trying to simplify our lives a bit (that means Christmas too!), and the stocking stuffers are reflecting that. Here are a few ideas that have been working for us.
Breakfast in the stocking- You know all of the candy and junk you put in their stockings become breakfast, right? I've started putting foods that are still treats, but somewhat healthy, in their stockings. Juice boxes and fruit leathers are hits. Most of my kids love Cuties (the tiny little oranges). Maybe some yogurt covered rasens? Since these things are rarely seen around our house the kids are excited about them!
Light sticks- These are a huge hit and a fun way to go to bed on Christmas. They can often be found in the bargain toy area in large stores.
Make something- Is there something you can make that your kids have been wanting/needing? I'm planning to make baby doll bibs for my little girls. My older kids have been asking me to make chapstick when I make hard lotion. I'll be surprising them with their own tubes of chocolate peppermint chapstick!
Coupons- Is there something your kids have been wanting you to do with them? An activity they just can't get enough of? A chore they would love to get out of? Make up coupons to be rediemed by them. Our kids have loved this.
Need- Is there something your child is needing? Would they be excited to receive it? Why not put it in the stocking or put it under the tree? Can you take something that they need that would otherwise be plane and boring and spruce it up a bit so that they will be excited about it?
Gift cards- A $5 or $10 gift card can go a long way for a child (both monitarily AND emotionally) when paired with some special time either as a family or with mom or dad. Our kids love family trips to starbucks. We rarely go to McD's and such so a gift card to someplace like that and then getting to go with just mom or dad has really brought some big smiles!
Baby- The baby really does not need anything in his stocking this year, but I've been known to put a new cloth diaper in a baby's stocking. For an older baby I may get some of those fun yogurt drops or some other finger food treat. A book or a small toy with that little treat will be enough to make the little guy feel included, but costs very little.
Buy used- Make sure you are checking out thrift stores, garage sales, e-bay and even Amazon throughout the year for some gifts and stocking stuffers. Often new or like new things can be found at a much lower price. Stocking stuffers often go into the stocking better opened anyways so your kids may not know or (in our case) even care that the item is used!
Some of these ideas are just for fun, others are focused at getting (and keeping) our children's hearts through thoughtful gifts that can help build relationships. What ideas do you have for stuffing stockings this year?
I'm linking to Raising Homemakers.