Bang for my buck - or making small stockings seem HUGE

(60 Posts)

Dd1 will be 3. Dd2 will be nearly 12mths. For various unforeseen circs we won't have much money for a big overflowing stocking of dreams. That said dds are so young they don't know the picture books.

I'm relatively crafty, an able cook. I have ZERO fecking ideas of how to make the few actual presents seem more..... I feel guilty and ridiculous and sad and annoyed at my own self for caring when Xmas is about so much more in reality.

What can I do to add ooomph to things? Where to start?
I need a plan and I have to start NOW.

So I'm asking for your creativity, what can I plan that gives magic back? For adults not just kids....? Ie inc mum n dad!

Massive box full of inflated balloons. Trust me, works every time grin

x-post!

raisah Sun 29-Sep-13 04:44:01

Also concentrate on the experience aswell, going to see xmas lights (cheap), joining activities at museum (free & cheap), walk in woods with hot choc, making decorations like paperchains & popcorn strings (cheap) ,gingerbread house kit (IKEA, Lidl cheap). Lots of fun to create & enjoy.

Chottie Sun 29-Sep-13 05:11:52

How about a Christmas Day treasure hunt with simple clues - either in the home or at the park?

Or going for a walk just as it is getting dark and looking out for Christmas trees / lights locally?

chanie44 Sun 29-Sep-13 07:41:51

No need to feel guilty, the children are young and will enjoy Xmas regardless.

My children are the same ages as yours. I'm not getting my 12 month much as she had all of the 3 year olds 'barely played with toys' so there is no point in buying for the sake of it.

Ideas
Craft books from the poundshop - my 3 year old likes stickers.

I bought a drinking straw from the poundshop which is in the shape of specs. A small gift but a big one to pad out the stocking.

The 12 month old will love bubbles (as will the 3 year old)

Have a go at making sock monkeys for them both. Rather than buying expensive filling, use or buy a cushion and use the stuffing from that.

I also get a mixture of practical gifts like pjs, hair bands, umbrella which I wrap up.

Sweets - many shops are doing the tubes of smarties for £1. Lidl are doing huge chocolate Santa for 99p. You could even buy generic sweets and make up presents.

Do crafty things like Xmas baking, making decorations and seeing the Xmas lights.

Home made play dough for the 3 year old.

I agree with the added extras of lights, Santa visits, etc. I'm keen to use to add the wow factor that way. When I remember mine it was often the anticipation and run up I loved and I'm keen to involve dd1 as she's big enough to start to get it. So short it appears judging by threads here where they believe that I'm keen to believe hard and fast to make most of it!

Thanks for all the brainstorming. It's really helping me get excited. smile

QueFonda Sun 29-Sep-13 08:39:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WaitingForMe Sun 29-Sep-13 09:03:04

My stepsons go nuts over the fact we have crackers on the table at breakfast. The kits to make them are cheap at The Works and we fill them with cheap sweets. We make them on their closest visit before Christmas and they add lots of embellishment.

We buy them less and do more each year that goes by. This year we're doing something with inflated balloons - I quite fancy making a "snowman" out of white bin liners filled with balloons with a hat and scarf made out of modelling balloons. I reckon it'll be pretty cheap to do but will blow their minds grin

ValiumQueen Sun 29-Sep-13 13:46:09

I second the Car Boot idea. Just remember to leave the kids at home. I went this morning and got DHs gift as we have a limited budget. £5 for something that would have cost £50 new. There was stuff I would have saved for the kids for Christmas, but they used their own pocket money :-)

bymoonlight Sun 29-Sep-13 14:30:58

Love the homemade crackers for breakfast idea.

Do they know there are sweets inside or is it a surprise?

NumptyNu Sun 29-Sep-13 18:04:52

What's Elf on the Shelf?

Elf is a computer thing. Put your photo in dancing elves faces. Quite funny! Only ever used at work, not there anymore. Never thought of it this way.

See! That's why this place is great! Another thing on my list smile

Guitargirl Mon 30-Sep-13 14:38:24

Elf on the Shelf is an elf who spends the month of December in your house, he sits on a shelf during the day but moves around at night so when the DCs wake up in the morning they have to find him, see what mischief he has been up to, etc. There are lots of threads on MN about what the elves get up to if you search. We play down the whole 'the Elf tells Santa if you've been naughty' element of it and just have fun - we think it's great and our DCs love it but some MNetters not keen.

Pachacuti Mon 30-Sep-13 14:43:48

You're thinking of Elf Yourself, Minnie. Which rhymes with Elf On The Shelf but is different... grin

Duh...... Never heard of other but like it!

jabelle Tue 01-Oct-13 21:37:42

I was in the Entertainer today, they had quite a selection of jigsaw puzzles reduced to £1 (from £4 I think) and also lots of craft sets for £1.50 (from £3 and a 4 pack of play doh for £2.

Bingersandtoes Wed 02-Oct-13 12:54:29

Home made play dough with extra bits to play with which can all be bought cheaply at pound shop?

like this

HappyAsEyeAm Wed 02-Oct-13 14:08:30

A pack of tubs of play doh take up a lot of space in a stocking. They are 4 tubs for £2 in The Entertainer at the moment, lots of colours to choose from.

Big bottles of bubble bath do too. Mr mayet is cheap and fun for children.

I am another one who puts stuff into a stocking that the DC would get anyway eg pants, socks, flannel, toothbrush, big pack of felt pens etc.

FairyJen Wed 02-Oct-13 19:25:46

this website has some great ideas inc Santa sleigh bell. Buy a cheap bell from eBay and pop it in the garden- somewhere noticeable and let your 3yr old see that a bell must have come off Santas sleigh while he stopped to drop off her present.

DD's stocking usually consists of (roughly) a net of chocolate coins, a thornton's xmas choc lolly, a new set of knickers (I do disney store but Matalan etc do soem lovely ones too), a new set of socks, one of those shrink wrapped flannels you put in water to expand, some small mini figure sets like the playmobil surprise bags or small boxed figures, set of new colouring pens/crayons, a candy cane (Aldi do multi packs if you are doing more than one stocking) and a small craft kit.

Love the sleigh bell idea!

ancientbuchanan Fri 04-Oct-13 16:57:40

Craft ideas for all

Hampers for everyone.. ie do your own shoe box. Home made sweets, jam, marmelade, hand warmer as above ( Brill idea, going to do some myself) . I crochet beanies, takes about an hour per beanie if the wool is chunky, wool 90 p from charity shop. And a couple of little bought things. Pens, note pads, some toiletries on scrunched up tissue paper.

If you are crafty, two v successful presents out of boxes,

Noah's ark ( one small shoe box on top of another). With a cheap lot of new animals ( pound land) and two washing peg dolls for the Noahs hours of happy fun.

And a treasure chest. Take an adult type shoe box, where the lid is integral to the whole. Take some card and roll it in a semi cylinder to make a curved top to the chest. Cover in paper. Shiny blue paper for the sea, or wooden style brown paper, whatever takes your fancy. Fill with treasure, edible or not.

Do your bulbs. A pot of bulbs ready to come out , pot from charity shop, put in dark place so ready for Christmas is a lovely present for anyone.

TheOnlyOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 04-Oct-13 17:05:01

Also Xmas stockings don't have to be all toys/sweets/exciting stuff - can be stuff you were going to need anyway -
new toothbrush/paste
Pants
Pencils?

PurpleCrazyHorse Sat 05-Oct-13 23:18:31

I always had pants/socks/hair clips/shampoo etc in my stocking. All stuff I'd use anyway. Last year I wrapped 8 pairs of socks (in pairs) for DD to open. She was a bit bored of the socks by pair 4 but still loved unwrapping them grin She was 3yo at the time. Will repeat this year with things she needs anyway.

We've also bought things like Polly Pocket sets from eBay. DD is young enough not to notice they're second hand.

My saving grace last year was buying a pack of clear gift bags (for food) from Hobbycraft, plus having some ribbon in my craft stash. I baked cookies and packed 5 per bag and decorated with the ribbon. Great for Teacher gifts, stocking fillers and random distant relatives you've not bought for blush

I've also bought DD cookie cutters etc that I'd like in the kitchen anyway. She gets to help with a baking session so she enjoys that and the cookie cutter shape is also useful for me too.

fatmumjane Sat 05-Oct-13 23:57:35

My favourite things in my Christmas stocking as a child which I still remember as a 44 year old were: big pack 30 felt tip pens (looks great, all different colours and cheap), selection box, satsuma, colouring books grin

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