Thrifty christmas

(117 Posts)
Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:25:54

Hi ya everyone

I am sure I'm in the same boat as many other people this year we no money. blush
I know I am starting to panic already about Christmas
I like many have been glued to the bargain christmas thread and have bought some small bits already but I can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel

I have already told many family members that I won't be able to afford buying them Xmas presents this yearned am checking boot sales, free cycle and nearly new sites

The whole thing is just very depressing sad

So i wanted to start this thread to get people's ideas ideas or tips so we can all help each other to the best of our ability as I know I'm not the only one in this situation

A problem shared is a problem halved and all thatgrin

Last year people gave links where free Xmas decorations and samples that can be used as presents were being given away free.
Links to christmas sites with free downloadable things

Just share anything that is free or very low buget that can be used over the Xmas

Hope this helps

A top tip I was given last year was to wrap things you would have to buy anyway - e.g. pants/toothbrush/deodorant in a stocking.

One thing that has really helped me the last few years, I make a list of christmas grocery type things that won't go off and add two per week to my ordinary shopping delivery.

This week was tinned chesnuts (for the Brussels sprouts) and a bottle of appletiser.

They get hidden in a big cardboard box at the bottom of the linen cupboard.

History has taught me never to include chocolate and sweets, as they never actually make it to Christmas.

I should add that I don't do this for the entire year, August til December only.

That's a great idea Terra, I'm going to give that a whirl.

I try to buy a present for a niece/nephew each month so at Christmas I don't have to find money in one hit.

I also try to pick up a stocking filler for DD when I do the weekly shop. A 50p pack of crayons or a pack of stickers. Never above a couple of pounds, but all stuff she loves.

Loveitall Tue 06-Aug-13 18:49:04

I've done the same thing for a number of years...chocolates go in high cupboard, hubby much more strong willed than me and I can't reach. Crimbo food shop wise I buy something each week fromseptember so I no longer have the frantic huge food shop. Works brilliantly smile

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 06-Aug-13 18:58:15

MoneySavingExpert has a great website that people update all the time. What about having a clear out on eBay or at boot sales before nice weather ends to get a bit of extra cash put aside?

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:58:36

Terra that's a great idea .. I do it with presents but never thought of doing it with the non perishables
Love it thanks
Hope this thread continues with some great ideas

hippoherostandinghere Tue 06-Aug-13 19:12:19

I'd love to start buying some things in my weekly shop to squirrel away. Anyone care to share a list of things the stock up on?

fackinell Tue 06-Aug-13 19:26:36

What about saving stamps for food and drink over Christmas? My DM does this from late summer on. Some of the supermarkets have lovely jewellery and clothing sections too (as well as toiletries.) a fiver a wk would get you £100 by Christmas, if you can spare it with your weekly shop

Can you make anything? Hand made chocolates, cookies, knit something? A lot of the pound type shops have balls of wool.

Kelly281 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:29:51

I also hadn't thought of purchasing some of the Christmas food to put away. Thanks for the tip Terra. It's our first year doing Christmas at home, so would also love some ideas on non-perishables to buy in advance!

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Tue 06-Aug-13 19:35:51

Oh, one thing I do is collect holly and pinecones etc(my garden but have collected ftim friends/family before moving out of town) my home decs with plain candles.. Classy and free!
Some of the supermarkets do that 'free voucher' thing if you shop with them beforehand - morrisons did it last year.

Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:32:47

Natural thank a lot have been doing boot sales on every week when weather permits
Also sell stuff on eBay I save up all my PayPal money up for the whole year ready for Xmas
Think the family would love a day out looking for pine cones and am gonna look to see if anywhere near me holly is growing that I can nab.
So thank for that
It really is some of the simple ideas that I never think of

I got loads of body shop freebies today in the little pots
never realised they did that , a simple but big find for me today
am gonna give them for a bday ... I hope I can get some more ready for Xmas.

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 07:45:35

Ooh, what's the body shop freebies?

girlywhirly Wed 07-Aug-13 10:00:50

A lot of the supermarkets and also Superdrug and BHS sell off their last seasons jewellery at half price or less, so that they can get their new seasons stock put out. I got a bracelet for a quid once, you couldn't buy the beads to make it for that. Possible gifts/stocking fillers?

Starting a stock of food and stuff for Christmas: pretty much anything in tins, jars, bottles, packets and dried. If you like to bake you could get flour, sugar, dried fruit etc. in advance. Longlife items in cartons like milk, fruit juices, custard. You can use longlife milk in cooking, e.g. in bread sauce, brandy sauce or custard. Things like stock cubes, cooking oil, ketchup, pickles, soy sauce, curry pastes. I usually get in extra foil and kitchen rolls, and loo rolls too (if you have the storage space it's worth doing and also if you are expecting a lot of guests) Dried pasta and rice are good to have. Alcohol and soft drinks, tea, coffee, hot choc. Biscuits and crackers for cheese, crisps, nuts, snacks, sweet biscuits. Tins of tomatoes, soup, beans, fruit cocktail, chestnut puree etc.

You might want to add in as applicable to your family: pet food, baby food and milk, nappies, toiletries, and cleaning materials, especially something that will get stains off carpets and upholstery! Look out for special offers or vouchers and buy when you've got a bit of spare cash.

Also remember medicines, both prescription and over the counter. Painkillers for all age groups, and get prescriptions in good time before Christmas, don't leave until the last minute.

I find it helpful to plan menus when you know what you're doing for Christmas or how many guests you're having, so that you can be sure of buying what you need for the meals, and also can cook some things in advance for the freezer.

Hope this helps someone!

Elainey1609 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:40:51

Body shop freebies ..
I just asked could I try some of a cream or shower gel
And they said they can put some on a little pot to take home ... Love it

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 16:21:25

I start to meal plan for crimbo...just a general one when I know where we going etc, and then make a shopping list...then start ticking them off, all generally packet stuff, biscuits, drinks, crisps etc

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 16:22:24

Hubby has set up a small business so we went to makros today and had a little look around, didn't spend to much as I want to price compare but will buy crimbo stuff there in bulk as well

Loveitall Wed 07-Aug-13 16:22:38

Now to find somewhere to store it all!

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 07-Aug-13 16:31:33

Hotukdeals.co.uk has rapidly updated offers all the time, you could get lots of small presents that way.

Don't forget neutral wrapping like silver paper or brown parcel paper. I get my parcel paper from Poundworld, every time I send a parcel I think how pretty it would look with tartan ribbon on it.

Definitely stock up on painkillers, anti histamines, antacids, cystitis remedies etc, if you have to nip out for ibuprofen you just know the only one the local shop will have is nurofen at £4 a pack.

girlywhirly Wed 07-Aug-13 16:38:19

In Sainsbury today while stocks last they had packs of 8 Crayola wax crayons for 25p a pack, would make a nice stocking filler.

BucketsnSpades Wed 07-Aug-13 16:44:31

Save some cash for just after Christmas then buy next years wrapping paper and cards in the January sales. They are so overpriced in December and they just get thrown away.

Go 'window shopping' for suitable gifts and then await the October sales before parting with your cash. Bear in mind postage when buying gifts, both for ordering online and if you're posting yourself. Small light gifts are best.

Look out for deals on decent wine, Asda have some good ones this week, I used sainsbury's last year to buy oyster bay and prosecco. It felt like a real treat having decent wine and plenty of it.

If catching up with old friends invite them to your house instead of going out for drinks, even if you cater and supp.y the booze it tends to work out cheaper once you take into account taxis, babysitters, overpriced bar drinks and nibbles etc

Finally, gift giving is not a competition, it doesn't matter if you receive something that's bigger, better and more expensive than the gift you gave in return. Just stick to your budget and let other people stick to theirs.

Elainey1609 Thu 08-Aug-13 12:39:28

Girls think I will be getting those crayon packs today
I like the brown paper idea for parcels as I like using ribbons and it makes it individual but still cheap.
Terra I got my first hit of non perishable food things for Christmas today
Custard powder ... Simple and sad I know but as you said will save I the long run

BiddyPop Thu 08-Aug-13 14:38:46

I find that at Christmas time, there are a LOT of offers on storecupboard type foods (BOGOFs on mild curry sauce for example, as everyone needs a turkey curry option!) and treats. So while some years I stock up in advance, I tend to try to put a few quid into the stamps for a collection card over the autumn instead and use that for a BIG shop at Christmas with all the offers. (And usually, if you manage to fill the card, there is an extra stamp given to you as well, so for saving €98, you get to spend €100). I feel less guilty doing that, and it means I can also get more bulk offers (like the 5% or 10% off wine if you buy 6 or 12 bottles together that some supermarkets offer).

For gifts, forget about what others are doing. Think of the receiver, what they like and need, and try to find something with THEM in mind. So even if it's small, it's personal. 1 person loves an expensive perfume - can you get a small sample at posh Department stores and give it with a few other travel accessories in a clear pouch as a "travel kit"? Someone else loves outdoor activities - is there anything in the late summer clearances that they'd find useful? Is there anything you can make - like gather blackberries or sloes in autumn and make blackberry liquer or sloe gin (use the cheapest vodka or gin you can get, fill up a big glass container with the berries, a good dollop of sugar on top, cover with the alcohol, shake daily for a week and ignore for as long as poss before bottling in nice small bottles (which you've saved over the autumn too) and putting a pretty label and a scrap of ribbon on). Or do they like home baking or something else, that you could make. Put together hampers of things like a mexican night (chilli mix or fajita makings, some nachos, extra chilli or tabasco sauce, couple of beers and a lime) or whatever from supermarket aisles - based on what they like. If you have any crafty/practical skills, can you make something (knit a scarf, sew an iPod holder, make a "Handy Phone Notes" pad for beside the phone etc).

Don't forget that you'll need heat and energy. Stock up when you see batteries on offer. Think about cheap ways to winter-proof your house (fleeces behind curtains or tinfoil behind radiators to keep heat in the rooms, close off rooms not in need, energy efficient bulbs, remind everyone to turn things off not leave them on or on standby mode if possible, etc).

Instead of expensive outings for Santa or panto etc, find cheap Santa visits locally (there are often free or very cheap ones if you search away from shopping centres). Go for winter walks in parks (maybe feed the ducks with bread otherwise going in the bin - before it's gone beyond use though!) or find free events locally (carol concerts in churches or elsewhere, art gallery events, often local councils have different things on). If you have a car, you could put all DCs in pjs (or not if older), cups of hot milk/hot choc for all and load into the car to drive around and see the local houses that are lit up one night - which can be magical and just costs the petrol!

See if family would be willing to do things differently this year. Instead of everyone gifting to everyone, do a Kris Kringle draw so everyone only buys for 1 but everyone still gets a nice gift. Or you could all agree to do stocking stuffers instead. My siblings and I do a mix - we have a KK draw, and we all get stocking items for everyone else with a €5 limit and free/homemade items are preferred. Instead of a big family event in a pub/restaurant, could a gathering in your or someone else's house work instead with everyone bringing a dish?

Just a few thoughts...

hotair Thu 08-Aug-13 16:28:04

Inspired by this thread I've just contact siblings and parents about doing a secret santa this year- my mum sounded keen, so fingers crossed I can get everyone on board. I love the mumsnet christmas threads, always full of great ideas.

lunar1 Thu 08-Aug-13 17:55:10

I sell unwanted thing in eBay through the year and even though it's only bits here and there I end up with a decent balance in PayPal for Christmas shopping.

My eldest is mad on jake and the never land pirates and wants the ship for christmas. I had a look on eBay and have managed to get a bundle of jake toys for £40.00, the same price as the ship new. I have the big ship, hooks boat, two different island play sets and all the characters.

It's always worth searching for the characters that dc's at interested in as you can get some real bargains on eBay. To be honest you could hardly tell they have been played with.

I always open the boxes of their gifts anyway before wrapping as I won't spend Christmas morning pulling tags and ties of everything! I make sure it's all assembled and ready to play with.

Yay, glad people liked the idea, was worried you'd think I was nuts smile
In my ideal world I'd have a Christmas freezer in the shed, so I could buy more smile

Terra my DH has just emptied out our chest freezer in our garage .

I have you permission to start filling it with Christmas food don't I grin

DH will have the hmm face on.
Shame I can't freeze beer.--to stop him drinking it--

strike out fail blush

Secretswitch Fri 09-Aug-13 01:56:00

Lunar1, excellent finds! My dd age 5 loves anything pirate. I shall start stalking eBay to see what I can find.

girlywhirly Fri 09-Aug-13 08:23:52

I agree with looking on ebay now for toys. Take advantage of people being away on holiday or those who don't think about Christmas until November at the earliest! You could get some real bargains, especially when the closer to Christmas we get the higher prices go when people get desperate and try to out-bid each other.

My mum used to buy things all year at sales, craft markets, school and church fairs etc because she'd never have afforded presents for all our relatives otherwise. As a kid I used to get gorgeous hand knitted dolls clothes in my stocking from church fairs.

Elainey1609 Fri 09-Aug-13 11:29:33

Think I. Gonna do secret Santa with friends this year if I can get them to agree
Gonna wrap up depgrant and toothbrush that's a good tip
Keep them coming everyone

Secretswitch Fri 09-Aug-13 12:21:29

Church fairs and craft shows are wonderful places to look for creative and usually inexpensive gifts. My daughter still wears a jumper I bought for her two years ago at such a sale. It is better made then anything I could buy in the shops. Still looks lovely after many (hand) washes..

girlywhirly Fri 09-Aug-13 13:53:47

All those with pirate mad DC: in Tesco I spotted McVities Pirate Crew mini choc biscuits, a quid a box containing 6 packs of 2 biscuits, was originally 1.69 a box. Similar to the Cadbury choc animals but a bit bigger. Also available were jungle animals. Nice stocking filler, also McVities multi packs of mini gingerbread men (festive!) choc digestives and also choc chip cookies, again a quid for pack of 6 each variety.

To go with them for DC who can boil a kettle themselves or teens, Cadbury instant hot choc or Galaxy or Maltesers sachets 32p each or 4 for a quid (think you can mix and match these.)

Another thing you could do is buy a bag of popcorn on offer, and divide it between smaller polythene food bags, tie a Christmas ribbon bow around the tops and use as stocking fillers.

chanie44 Fri 09-Aug-13 15:00:57

I buy presents throughout the year when sales are on. For example, uniqlo have some half price scarves for £5. I going to get one for Dd's nursery teacher. She gets a nice present and I save money.

The children's stocking fillers are things I would buy anyway, like toothbrushes and pjs. I get books, chocolate coins etc. everything only costs a couple of pounds each.

I only get token presents for adults. I fact, my sister and I agreed not to get each other anything. Suggest it to family members - I bet they will be relieved.

If hosting Xmas dinner, ask guests to bring a dish. In my family, the host normally does the meat, guests bring veg or pudding. Saves money and takes some of the stress away.

I plan on doing cheap/free activities with the children like making cookies, seeing the Xmas lights in town etc. I do snowman soup and reindeer god for Xmas eve, which is I nice treat.

I'm making some Xmas decorations like spraying pine cones gold (£2 for the spray) and crochet candy canes.

OH and I don't get each other presents. We do stockings for each other and I get presents throughout the year. Last year, OHs stocking cost £60, but the original price was over £100.

All in all, I don't see the point in going overboard. Yes, we will have some nice food an drink, but Xmas dinner is just a roast.

70 I am so jealous, you have an actual Christmas freezer
(Wishes she knew how to make a 'tm' symbol on the iPad)

I shall just have to be satisfied with my Christmas cardboard box sad

Secretswitch Fri 09-Aug-13 19:44:50

<sighs> I love this thread..

fossil971 Fri 09-Aug-13 19:51:05

I've noticed several of my local garden centres have sales on at the moment - one of them had lots of giftware and clothes reduced (really nice hats/gloves etc, Emma Bridgewater stuff, well I'd like it grin) and I did think "I should be doing my Christmas shopping now". You could do nice pots and plants in the event you are greenfingered enough to keep them alive - aren't hyacinths meant to be planted in August for Christmas IIRC?

fuzzpig Fri 09-Aug-13 20:00:12

lurkety lurk grin <subtle>

Elainey1609 Fri 09-Aug-13 20:30:10

Woo just done a pick up on eBay so free delivery of a load of Xmas decorations
I'm well pleased with them , I expected the majority of them to be rubbish being the glass half empty kind of girl that I am
But I was presently surprised
I paid £1.99 and I think there is about £50 worth here
Can't believe it

Loveitall Sat 10-Aug-13 19:06:14

terra in my house it is also a cardboard box....I want a Christmas freezer!

Secretswitch Sat 10-Aug-13 19:26:49

I just bought a ton of headbands for little girls. I decorate them for each different holiday throughout the year. My 5 year old loves all things sparkly, so many of the bands have sequins and fake jewels. Some go in her stocking, some go to my little cousins.

Slainte Sun 11-Aug-13 11:39:30

Just seen this free sample from Liquitex on MSE, they don't send to where I live but it might be a nice stocking filler for someone creative.

raisah Mon 12-Aug-13 19:53:42

Sign up to Costco and buy food / drinks in large wholesale multipacks as that will keep costs down.

JJWholesalers is alsi good and you do not need to register beforehand. You buy & pay online and just collect at your specified time slot.

lucysmam Mon 12-Aug-13 21:56:12

<placemark> smile

ratbagcatbag Tue 13-Aug-13 11:05:32

There's an ap on money saving expert that searches eBay within a certain radius of you, so no postage charges, there is so much on there and it saves a fortune on postage and less bids due to pick up only. I've had some fab 99p bargains.

Elainey1609 Tue 13-Aug-13 19:58:57

Ragbag thank for that eBay thing will save me loads of time as i normally go through the site manually .
This is a great tool and find thank so much

FairyJen Wed 14-Aug-13 12:31:55

Secon the eBay advice! I got ds the happyland pirate ship complete with 6 pirates, map and treasure cheast for under £10 and its like new!

Also got some gap clothes for 99p smile

BeenieBaby Wed 14-Aug-13 12:40:42

Probably not very helpful to most mumsnetters, but we have a 1 present policy. The dc have an additional present to share between them from us (to encourage sharing) and one each from Santa. I don't see the point of giving things just for the sake of it and I think the kids get overwhelmed anyway.

FairyJen Wed 14-Aug-13 12:51:00

Actually dd an I are havin a clear out of her toys and books. Most are like new as she has been very spoilt. They usually go to a charity shop however I did consider postin them on here somewhere to see if they coul help make xmas a bit easier.

Would anyone be interested?

CorrineFoxworth Wed 14-Aug-13 19:38:31

That's a lovely idea FairyJen and I am sure that lots of people would be interested. Maybe a new thread which other people could add to, or you could save them for the Christmas Appeal nearer the time. You let HQ know what you have and they'll match you with someone who has a DD your DD's age.

orderinformation Wed 14-Aug-13 19:52:06

Marking place

Popcorn in a bag is a great idea.

Elainey1609 Wed 14-Aug-13 21:29:50

Fairy Jen I agree that is a great idea
Maybe a new thread so people can identify it easier
Great Xmas spirit

ValiumQueen Thu 15-Aug-13 15:41:50

I just asked my 7yo what she had for Christmas last year and she could not remember. She does however remember the activities we did together as a family. It is these things that make Christmas memories, not expensive presents and bulging stockings.

Elainey1609 Thu 15-Aug-13 17:37:27

Thank Valium that's what I think we are all aiming for
Got some great jewellery off eBay today for £0.40
It's lovey putting small organza bags for presses to niece she will love the make her grown up and cheaper than all the toys she normally gets

CorrineFoxworth Thu 15-Aug-13 17:52:36

Thrifty activities also needed please, Valium <wincing at remembrance of garden-centre grotto cost last year>

And teh craft-materials, gingerbread house, movie night etc

I have saved food colouring for the Elf on the Shelf's green wee (don't ask) and lots of glitter for reindeer food - even the porridge oats- to use again. Last year's DVD didn't get watched as DD was hospitalised so I've saved that too - DC won't remember grin

girlywhirly Fri 16-Aug-13 13:59:26

When DS was young we used to make our own paper chains from strips of cheap Christmas wrapping paper, and stick the loops together with sticky tape. They didn't fall apart like the gummed paper strips. We found that shiny foil or holographic paper was really effective, or you could choose more matt paper and decorate the loops with sequins. We also used to cut out snowflakes from white paper and stick them on the windows/patio door.

CorrineFoxworth Fri 16-Aug-13 15:36:15

Snowflakes are great to do and cost nothing, thank you smile

Elainey1609 Sat 17-Aug-13 15:54:39

Been to DIY store today to buy some stuff and saw some really nice wall paper samples (free) they are xmasdy colours
Going to use it to make paper chains
So thank girls wouldn't have had the idea in my head if u hadn't said it on here

girlywhirly Sat 17-Aug-13 16:30:04

That's great. It's all about finding alternative uses for stuff really. If you like really 'blingy' tree decs, you could look around charity shops/car boots for inexpensive jewellery and take necklaces apart to use the beads. Those iridescent facetted crystal beads are good to re-thread as 'icicles' (largest bead at the top, graduating to small at the base) or make stars or snowflakes. They really sparkle in the tree lights. Or attach vintage brooches to fabric bows to put on the tree.

I'll stop now as I'm beginning to sound like Kirsty Allsopp.

mrsdinklage Sat 17-Aug-13 17:06:47

chanie - I love the idea of crochet candy canes. I've also had brilliant wrapping paper from Primark. Asda have got some good book deals on at the moment (3 Game of thrones books for £10). I also got a big box of plums today for £1.50 which I'm going to put in brandy (recipe on bbcgood food website).
I'm also making sloe gin, I've also been asked to knit a cardi, and a jumper.
Loving the extra freezer idea I'm quite tempted to get one for the spare room.

We end up with lots of couples to buy for and im sick of having to pay out for 2 gifts so for a few years we've done a gift for both - last year was Christmas biscuits and a bottle of Christmas morning Bucks Fizz - everybody commented and i got over 5 photos from couples enjoying both of them Christmas morning! This year its a Christmas dvd (between £3~£5) and a bag of fancy popcorn and some home made hot chocolate mix - works out less than 7 quid per couple! The recipe for the hot choc is Jamie Oliver's and I've been stocking up on mini kilne jars whenever i see them cheap (usually charity shops etc) so im nearly ready - also easy to adapt for tiddlers, replace fancy popcorn with a.chocolate aldi Santa

Last year we made salt dough decs and painted them - we ended up not needing other.decs so might sell them, it was a lovely activity though - a.bit messy but great in front of Father Christmas or The Snowman!

Love the ebay bargain tool - many thanks for that tip!

Elainey1609 Sat 17-Aug-13 21:47:31

Girly just love the idea of beaded necklaces into Xmas decs
I've got a load of my own that was gonna sell but may use them for decorations instead

VoldemortsNipple Tue 20-Aug-13 14:43:33

I saved loads last year by searching the whoops in the supermarket and freezing it. One time I got over £40 worth of meat for under £10. I also found all kinds of deli items like sausage rolls, Samosas, onion bargis etc which were great to add to buffet teas. I find the best time to go to the supermarket is around 3pm on Sundays to get the best deals.

Also, I found having a Christmas present app on my phone really helped me keep to budget and keep tabs on what I had bought or wanted to buy.

lucysmam Tue 20-Aug-13 14:50:29

What app do you use Voldemort? I was going to have a look around for one so my lists are all in one place

Slainte Tue 20-Aug-13 19:29:32

lucysmam I'm finding the app called Quick Christmas List HD quite good but be warned that if you decide to password protect it (which you choose as soon as its uploaded) you cannot undo that.

<feels festive> <marks place>

nothruroad Tue 20-Aug-13 20:29:12

Last year I printed out lots of these pictures and put them in cheap colourful frames from Ikea. They made good, cheap presents.

Sainsburys Half Price toy sale.
Usually October half term (so easier if you don't have the DC spying on what you buy) but bargains and Nectar Points.

VoldemortsNipple Wed 21-Aug-13 11:07:19

lucysmam I have a new phone this year so I'm not sure which one I had last year but I just look for a free app. The one I had was password protected which was great for me as my kids are terrible snoopers.

VoldemortsNipple Wed 21-Aug-13 11:09:57

I found two packs of pate in the whoops yesterday for 24p. Do you think they would freeze well until Christmas smile

lucysmam Wed 21-Aug-13 11:40:28

I'd risk them....

VoldemortsNipple Wed 21-Aug-13 11:47:54

That's what I thought. They will only be for immediate family so if they taste off, they can go in the bin smile

MadeOfStarDust Wed 21-Aug-13 18:53:50

We do the paper chains from Phoenix cards - they cost a couple of quid for enough tasteful ones for our dining room and if you have a friend who holds the parties, they get the commission too....

ValiumQueen Wed 21-Aug-13 20:59:29

No more socks is an ok app, and free.

Elainey1609 Fri 23-Aug-13 22:45:16

Lucy and voldemorrt I was upset I was using one of them apps said it was free
Put so much in and then i had to pay was disappointed
Looking for a new free one now.

Got some freebies from boots today
Just some no.7 wipes and make up samples but that will make a small gift in a little bag for someone.

Also signed up for some freebe sites, received some perfume samples the tiny 2-5 ml ones but will also be small gifts when wrapped together
Saving the pennies where ever I can

SisterMatic Sat 24-Aug-13 01:37:03

Which freebie sites do you recommend? I will be watching with interest. smile

ChubbyKitty Sat 24-Aug-13 03:14:27

I shall settle down right here and mark my place.

Because I do Avon I get a lot of Xmas things in July/August at demo priceblush

But really. My 6yo niece is going to go mad for the hello kitty onesie WITH EARS..and also auntie chubby has one too!!(mine is more sensible - plain pink with a little HK, but still ears)

And the perfume gift sets. It's pretty much done and dusted. Everything in one box making it super easy to wrap.

These are not helpful are they?

I do also like to pick up bits and shits throughout the year, for example this year, I have a friend who is mad for owls, and she's one of my best friends so she gets extra, so the odd owl coin purse or brooch here and there will be added to her main present. She's happy, I've saved money, everyone's a winner!

If only they were all that easy to buy forhmm

If you had a knack for drawing/painting you could get a nice pad and some simple frames and a few people could get nice paintings.

Sort of given myself an idea for Owl Girls big present. shock

VoldemortsNipple Sat 24-Aug-13 09:03:27

Elainie, I can't seem to find the app I had on my old phone. Somebody recommended an app called No more socks, but it doesn't appear in my app store. I'm still on the lookout for a good replacement which is password protected smile

ChubbyKitty Sat 24-Aug-13 13:14:28

Ooh password protection.

Too many curious eyes know my passcode.

Elainey1609 Sat 24-Aug-13 23:39:45

Yeah voldemorrt I'm still looking will keep you updated if I find a decent one

And sister I've gone onto a number of freebie sites
Studentfreestuff is a good one and for other ones I just put uk freebe site into google and gave me loads

I've had quite a response already so am pleased

hereshecomesnowsayingyoniyoni Sun 25-Aug-13 10:01:05

I never know what to buy my 2 nieces (12 and 13)
So last year I bought baking items from the poundshop and a selection of baking ingredients and put them in a nice gift bag for the 12 year old
For the 13 year old I bought beauty bits from primark and put those in a gift bag
I have a cupboard in the spare room that I put bits in that I buy throughout the year
Yesterday in wilkinsons they had girls cheerleeding Pom poms reduced to 50p and sparkly batons reduced to 38p.bought a few for dd's friends to put away for Xmas or birthdays.

BiddyPop Sun 25-Aug-13 11:33:39

I got a "Fred Claus" DVD in a charity shop during the week, to add to our collection, only 1 euro. And as I got a cd, 3 balls of wool as well, all at 1 each, and an emergency volunteer was on tills, she didn't charge me for a small ceramic bowl (I use them for granny sized dinners) or a basket that I intend using for a hamper of bathroom things.

I've done a few interesting hampers over the years. Family night in, which is a DVD, bag of popcorn to pop or box microwave popcorn, bottle of wine and bottle nice lemonade for the children.
Baking hamper, Wooden spoon, whisk, cookie cutters, bag chocolate chips, some decorative sprinkles, colored bun cases, all presented in a baking bowl.
Busy woman's emergency kit, travel sized useful things for handbag like pocket pack tissues (can get nice Christmas designs if ok about spending extra), emery boards, small plain nail varnish, hair spray, small brush, travel pack facial wipes, trave sized deodorant, nice lip balm, little pouch with safety pins and travel sewing kit, and empty travel atomizer to put favorite perfume in. I know I had loads for that one and can't remember it all now.
Time for tea (for a spinster aunt) was a teapot and integrated cup for 1 set kin a lovely flower design, nice spoon, small similar flower pattern holdr for teabgs, box of her favourite teabgs, and a small pack of nice biscuits.
Often, by pulling apart a set that is prepackaged (say you get a few in Boots on 3for2), put into a basket or on a nice plate or whatever, and just add something small to it that is not part of the commercial box ut goes well with it, can make it seem much more expensive, and also much,ore personal and thought out. Or pick up full sized bottles on 3for2, maybe 3 sanctuary spa things to make a spa treat, add a fuzzy wash thing or nice facecloth, and a nice candle, great present and seems a lot more. Lots of places give free samples that can be added to hampers like that, and you can get lots of bargains to fill it up.
Even wrapping a cheap hat, scarf, gloves set from Primark in tissue paper and not all stuck together as you bought them, but maybe add a pocket hot pack and pack fancy tissues, makes something that cost very little look very lux.
Hope that helps someone.

ChubbyKitty Sun 25-Aug-13 12:24:13

Biddy I like the hamper ideasgrin

Got a couple of people they might be nice for, especially the family night in one!

confettiwoman Sun 25-Aug-13 12:46:49

Not really a 'do', more a 'don't' - Don't think making gifts will be cheaper than buying them. A friend announced she was going to make all her presents and cards last year, and in all honesty she probably spent more than i did. Materials can cost loads - they only work out cost effective if you were going to buy an 'expensive' ready made product to start off with.

My suggestion is check out the local Poundland or Poundworld. They do a great range of things, gardening bits for grandparents, socks and smellies (hey don't diss socks - i always need socks!) for teens, and toys/colouring packs for kiddies. Also its great for paper, cards, gift bags etc.
And obviously sweets - just check the sell by dates as sometimes they only have short dates as thats why the shop is selling them.
Its also easy to see how much you're spending, as all you need to do is count the amount of items you have in your basket.

If you're after books, check out The Works (great for 3 novels for £5).

Church fetes and sales are also good (even if you're not religous) - they're usually not too greedy and you can get some good items whilst there. There's usually a tea and cake stall to occupy any kids for a pittance most of the time.

Now a 'do'...

Also think about games you can play on xmas day to stretch it out. Something my own mum used to do was get a couple of meters of large bubble wrap, lay it out on the floor, and get kids to walk slowly (in socks) across it and see if they can get across without popping any bubbles. Most people will know someone who can get this for free, but you can also ask in electronics shops, or ask on freecycle/freegle.

Elainey1609 Sun 25-Aug-13 20:23:55

confetti I agree about the making stuff thing I looked into making my presents and it did work out more expensive
Loving pundland at the the moment got a nice few bits and pieces
even make up bout some rimmel and maxfactor stuff didn't seem to be anything wrong with them
however I love biddys idea for the different hampers
I may do the girls night in ones for my friends x

VoldemortsNipple Sun 25-Aug-13 21:51:51

Last year I spent a small fortune making chutney and Christmas pudding vodka only to be hit with the flu just before Christmas so couldn't be bothered making them look pretty sad

BiddyPop Mon 26-Aug-13 10:50:32

Sorry about the typos and close spacing in my last post - couldn't log on for ages and still slightly off my head on meds (strep throat but massive stresses added have made me slightly doolally).

I had forgotten that a gardening hamper is a great one - you can put all the things into a nice planter pot, or plastic wondow box, or a wooden trug - all sorts of "useful" gardening containers at a wide range of prices. Gardeners love things like string, sharp knife with a retractable blade, LABELS, a pencil, new pair of gloves, the plastic things for tops of canes, plastic ties for plants, small notebook, pack of water retention gel for pots etc. A few packets of seeds if you know what they like, or a nice new trowel/fork/handweeder tool (or whole set), secateurs, kneeler etc. This is one that can go from quite small (and using Poundland or similar things) to quite big, cheap or expensive, or a range (a big roll of poundland string and large pack of labels, but with a posh pair of good gloves, looks both useful and thoughtful). You can even make things like the posh expensive cans for string with a hole in the lid to feed it out, so it's very personal to your recipient. And if you have any plants in your own garden that you love and think they'd like, try and save some seeds from that for them to grow.

And anyone who has kids, especially if it's any way a large family, a craft hamper may well be handy. Just lots of things to get busy with (but check with the parents beforehand perhaps if lots of messy stuff). Packs of paper (plain white, coloured, or even patterned) and sheets of card or card blanks, packs of colouring pencils or crayons or felt tips (depending on ages), stickers, glue dots or pritt sticks, foam shapes, pipecleaners, lollipop sticks, pom poms, etc. Bottle of pva glue and bottles of paint IF YOU KNOW IT'S OK WITH PARENTS!! Sets of brushes, or pots/trays to hold paint and water are handy. Protective coverings are very welcome (smocks, and maybe hairbands if long haired girls). Child-friendly scissors, especially ones that cut patterns. Stamps and ink pads. And they can all come in a storage container so they can be put away when projects are complete!!

Adding an apron into a baking one is always good too (less mess). And I forgot about board games in a family night in hamper. These are all options and ideas - not to use everything in 1, but trying to think about what would work so that when I see things, I have a long list of things I COULD buy, and can grab suitable things when I see them at a nice price. (Or freebies that could work - perhaps in a unconventional way, if I just have a theme in mind for a person or a few different people).

BiddyPop Mon 26-Aug-13 10:57:06

And I knew I had 1 more to add.

Pre-teens can be experimenting with makeup etc. I have given a couple of cousins and nieces a nice box for their dressing table with a pack of cotton wool pads, small bottles each of cleanser and gentle toner and moisturiser, cotton buds, nail varnish remover, witch hazel wand, makeup sponges, emery boards etc. And added a nice lip balm, colourful gloss that's not too mad, and a plain and a wild colour nail varnishes, with a pack of nail art stickers. So it's more about the skincare regime, but a few fun things for them to experiment with. (So far, I have had good reactions from both girls and their moms - but I have been careful about which year to give those - 1 cousin was ready at 11 for it, whereas another Mum's non-readiness meant waiting til cousin was 14 - but it was fine then).

Trigglesx Mon 26-Aug-13 13:25:10

Yes, definitely check with parents re paints, and let them know if there's anything messy in the gift. I was not thrilled when sister gave DD finger paints when she was little (and no paper, go figure! confused). I had put the wrapped gift under the tree, didn't realise what was in it, and DD managed to open the gift one morning (one of the few morning she woke up much earlier than her normal 5am and didn't come in to get me!), took it into her room, and proceeded to finger paint her room bright blue. It was EVERYWHERE. If sister had warned me that there was fingerpaint in the package, I would NOT have left it under the tree (just in case!!).

Elainey1609 Wed 28-Aug-13 18:59:30

Trigglesx I had a similar incident
I laugh now but the morning just house before family due to turn up
dd started writing on the wall with bathroom pens and luminious green bath gunge (what ever that is) over a display cabinet
I was not a happy bunny lol.
Biddy I made a baking hamper yesterday for a birthday present next week
friend who is a new but keen baker ..hope she enjoys it
looks very nice im even impressed lol.

Got a very nice freebee through the post today of a couple of dove products and and oil of olay one that im putting into hampers.

Fizzyknickers Sun 01-Sep-13 01:19:27

Place marking :D

ValiumQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 14:17:16

I am avidly watching the Christmas bargain thread, and one of the posters has said they spent £30 on £70 worth of gifts, and said it will make a decent stocking. That is more than my budget for my kids entire Christmas gifts. Perhaps I am better off lurking here blush

Patilla Sun 01-Sep-13 15:16:08

How do people package up "hampers"?

Suitable baskets always seem to cost more money than I save.

ValiumQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 20:55:03

Patilla I have been known to cover a regular cardboard box with Christmas paper and fill with shredded tissue paper, a few bows or paper flowers, cellophane etc. It leaves more pennies for nice things inside. I also got some lovely baskets from Morrisons of all places a few years back. They were about £4 and so lovely I kept them myself.

jamtoast12 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:39

Valium

From reading lots of these threads, I think some peoples interpretation of stockings differ - some think they are everything other than the main gift so obviously there's sound more. For us we have the main, their extra presents and then the stocking which lets face it, can only fit a certain amount in! We just put sweets, pencils, nail polish etc. some people's "stockings" wouldn't fit into a sack so I think they just describe them as stocking fillers!

iloveholidays Sun 01-Sep-13 21:24:52

Patilla, last year I just bought Christmas gift bags which I put the hamper bits in. The Elves left them on their bed whilst they were busy downstairs smile

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 00:08:07

I found a really nice ceramic jar in a charity shop one year. It cost me a pound and I washed it out and baked biscuits to put in it and gave it to my friend.

It was a Boots one (still had the label on the bottom) and had had biscuits in it originally so the seal was good for keeping them fresh.

It was the exact same colour as some new kitchen things she had just bought, so she was over the moon with it. She still has it now (but the biscuits are long gone).

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 00:13:45

Patilla I gave DS's teachers a 'hamper' of drinks and snacks for their kitchen a couple of weeks before the holidays started and I put it all in one of those big hessian shopper bags, so they could have something reusable afterwards which hadn't cost a fortune.

You can get some really nice ones and it was easier to carry into school as well as useful afterwards.

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 00:36:00

OP if you want to do things to make memories, we always go out for a Christmas day walk after dinner. It helps that we live opposite woodland but if you have a nice park or even a walk around the streets to look at other people's lights it's nice to get out. And we meet people doing the same thing and everyone is friendly.

Our Children's Centre does a party with Father Christmas and you take your own photo if you like. It costs £1.50 for a ticket and they ask you to donate something to the party food, so much cheaper than a shopping centre Father Christmas visit and photo.

We have a blackboard to count down the days and DS loves writing the new date on it. Last year I stuck some bits of card together and he painted a big Christmas tree on it and used stickers from pound land to decorate it. It looked really good and he enjoyed painting it and sticking the stickers on. I've saved it to put up again this year.

We have a wooden advent calendar which cost £20 to buy but now it's just a bag of chocolate shapes from pound land, plus I save little cracker jokes and novelties from the year before to put in the drawers. It's cheaper now than paying £3 or so for one from the supermarket each year.

We paint pine cones with glitter as decorations or and DS likes making paper chains.

I got a beautiful glass bowl from a car boot sale, red and gold with little baubles painted on it, that I put out at the beginning of December before the rest of the decorations go up.

One of my friends uses wrapping paper she bought in the January sales to wrap up the pictures on her walls to look like presents. She puts a bit of ribbon around them and they do make quite effective Christmas decorations.

I bought some of this wrapping paper in a sale for £1.50 and put it in the picture frames like a poster. Through the year I just keep it behind the normal picture so it's stored safely.

BiddyPop Mon 02-Sep-13 17:09:52

I have used cardboard boxes wrapped in nice paper, nice cardboard boxes from IKEA or similar, I mentioned upthread that I got a nice basket in a charity shop for nothing last week (I bought 5 things that I know cost €1 each, and had a little ceramic dish and the basket as well - but she only charged me €5 for the lot).

If you are doing a hamper that includes a container of some kind, use that. I have used plastic baking bowls for baking hampers, a large plastic serving bowl (cheap end of summer sales) to put the things for a family night in - included a bag of popping corn so the bowl could be used for that once made. A nice cheese board with preserves and a cheese knife on it. A nice "dressing table" basket filled with toiletries.

I have saved a nice thick cardboard box that an expensive shirt of DH's came in.

A nice good paper plate (if you are doing different baked goods) or festive plastic plate. Even a plain white plate (charity shop maybe) with a nice festive napkin on it looks great.

ValiumQueen Tue 03-Sep-13 06:45:41

Jamtoast that makes sense, thank you smile I tend to think of a stocking as containing a clementine, sugar mouse etc. but I am old grin

BiddyPop Tue 03-Sep-13 09:33:38

ValiumQueen, can you still get sugar mice anywhere? We've never had them, but they're something I have always dreamed of getting.

ValiumQueen Tue 03-Sep-13 12:56:13

I have seen them in Past Times, you can also buy them, or moulds to make them, on eBay. They are quite pricy.

NumTumDeDum Tue 03-Sep-13 13:24:44

Couple of home made present ideas:

Air drying clay - knead it in a bowl and add wild flower seeds. Portion into walnut sized balls and allow to dry. Actually this is good for dc to do. Then once dry pop them in a bag - I make little ones out of hessian as it's about £2.40 a meter and tie with raffia/ribbon and add a card label. Wild flower bombs. The idea is to crumble it in a patch in the garden to create a wild flower patch.

For family, a photo album with pictures for as many previous christmasses as you can lay your hands on. Or an album with as many pictures as you have of that person. It's often a revelation when you see pictures that other people have taken. Bit of a This is Your Life type thing.

Clarencestar Tue 03-Sep-13 16:30:19

For those who wanted an App with a password protection. I use a free (Android) app called 'APP LOCK' it lets you lock individual apps and other parts of your phone. For instance, I can lock my photo gallery and contacts so it requires a password. Therefore you can download a free basic note pad app for you Christmas list but lock it with APP LOCK.

shrinkingnora Tue 03-Sep-13 16:46:33

Don't know if anyone has mentioned threading popcorn for tree decorations but it looks amazing! My friend did it with her kids last year and they told me all about it before they even mentioned what they got. We'll be doing that this year.

cheekycherryza Thu 05-Sep-13 16:37:24

What kind of Christmas food stuffs do you buy early that can be stocked up on?

I usually get my Christmas/boxing day meats on Special at the end of September (roast lamb etc) or buy a frozen turkey when I see them out.

But what else would you recommend stocking up on?

BiddyPop Fri 06-Sep-13 09:24:16

Firstly, stock up with a large cardboard box that others cannot see into and put it where the rest of the family won't raid it. I get a few extra things every week - but look out for special offers on the overall list too (usually get a lot of things over the next 16 weeks or so) so it will cost less too.

Back to school specials could be good for "lunch box essentials" like crisps, popcorn, mini-chocolate bars, multipacks of fizzy drink cans, etc. And perhaps other store cupboard items. There will also probably be special offers on sweets, choc coming up to Halloween.

Think about what your family likes to eat and use over the whole Christmas season - both festive treats and regular things you use more of because everyone is at home all day or because you host loads of guests. I don't buy everything I mention below, it's to get you thinking about options.

Food wise - do you like leftovers as curries or pasta dishes? So get a few extra bags of rice (do you prefer basmati rather than easicook at this time of year?) or pasta (IKEA do Reindeer shapes that can be fun!). Extra ingredients for these too - tins of tomatoes, coconut milk, dried herbs, spices blends, or jars of particular sauces that your family likes. And other stores items to whip up lunches or quick meals - tins of tuna fish, sweetcorn, sardines, salmon, Chinese bamboo shoots or water chestnuts; bottle of passatta, Chinese/Indian/Italian/Thai sauces, pack of fajita mix, salsa and some wraps, couscous, risotto rice. Condiments such as olive oil, vinegar, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, stock cubes, corn flour (I use for white sauces)....

Do you bake? So an extra bag of flour, packet of sugar (different types like brown, castor, icing etc), dried or glace fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, cherries etc), chocolate chips, other ingredients you'd use (including decorative things). Also snacks like rice cakes, dried fruit (mango, apple, etc), pots of fruit purees, etc that you or the family might eat.

Deserts: Packets of jelly, (angel delight?!), custard powder or tetra packs of ready made custard, pack of pudding rice, tins of fruit. Do you keep a can of squirty cream? Do you like special marmalade Christmas morning, do the DCs get nutella as a seasonal treat or does MIL like a certain jam on her toast? Also porridge oats (for brekkie or baking) or other cereals.

Hot drinks - tea (regular and any special ones like chamomile, green, fruit ones etc), coffee (ground, instant, decaf, pods for a machine, and filters if you have that kind of machine), hot chocolate or cocoa, Bovril, etc.

I don't tend to buy boxes of sweets or tins of biscuits - I buy a selection of nice packets of biscuits so I can put out a selection on a plate but only open as many packs as we'll likely get through (to avoid them either going soft or me eating all the leftovers). I do the same with crackers for cheese - a few nice different packs rather than the box of mixed ones (with only 3-4 of each type!) as we eat cheese a lot over the holidays. I also tend to get things like a couple of packs of microwave popcorn for afternoon movies or snacks, sharing packs or multipacks of crisps, nuts etc. I also get a packet of amaretti biscuits as my treat to me.

You can stock up on drinks too - large bottles of fizzy drinks or squashes, mixers etc. And alcohol - spirits, nice wines, a bottle of fizz for a special occasion, box of beer etc. I would tend to get these when they are on special offer though.

Don't forget to stock up on cleaning things, especially when they are on special offer. Especially ones that are easy - so I tend to have a couple of packs of wipes for counters, floor etc that I wouldn't necessarily use the rest of the year. But also get stocked up on your regular items. Dishwasher powder, salt and rinse aid (and you may as well get a dishwasher cleaner too for the week before to make it sparkle!). Washup liquid, soap, bleach, bin bags. Toilet rolls and kitchen towels. Greaseproof paper, tin foil, cling film, bun cases. I sometimes buy a pack of tin foil pie plates and portion packs - so that I can make an apple tart to freeze when I have spare time over the autumn, or an extra portion of a family meal to bring out when time is short or be able to freeze a meal-sized amount of leftover turkey. Serviettes, paper or plastic plates and glasses if you use them for parties.

These are all long term storage items - from early December you can start to get things with shorter shelf lives, like long life croissants and pain au chocolats, part baked breads, tins of ready rol croissants for the fridge, pizza bases, bag of grated cheese, pack of sliced cured meats (pepperoni, parma ham, salami, etc). And of course, if you have freezer space, things like veg, ice cream, emergency pizza/wedges/oven chips/chicken goujons/fish fingers etc., and your own stores like rolls of cookie dough (although you can now buy that too), HM mince pies, stuffing you've made ahead of time, or even just the breadcrumbs you make a week you have a couple of leftover slices of bread.

Sorry this is so long - it's meant to trigger ideas.

BiddyPop Fri 06-Sep-13 09:26:31

And I hit post, and remembered:

Candles (regular and nightlights), matches, firelighters, any essential oils you like to have.

And apart from regular bathroom items, a nice relaxing bath bubbles or shower gel for yourself, and a good hair conditioning treatment.

And don't forget first aid kit - plasters, antiseptic wipes, pain killers, hangover and indigestion remedies etc. To suit adults and children.

ELR Fri 06-Sep-13 11:46:27

Not sure if this will help but I have a money box which is for £2 coins. If me or DH get a £2 coin in change we put it in the money box, we don't really miss it and its great for a Christmas themed day out or some of the Christmas food shop or one of the bigger Christmas presents. Sometimes I dip into it if the ice cream man comes past but generally gets used for something bigger.

BiddyPop Fri 06-Sep-13 12:22:35

ELR - another handy thing to do with the £2 coins would be to get SM stamps (maybe not with all of them) and fill a savings card. The ones here take €98 in stamps for €100 spend (last stamp is free if card is full, but can spend a partially filled card too). And I tend to do that rather than buying loads of stores over the autumn - because there are often lots of 50% extra free packs or BOGOFs etc just at Christmas time - so I'll have a couple of cards saved up to do a couple of massive stores shops with my free stamp but also the bonus packs/offers as well. So it actually saves me more in the long run.

For decorating you can make your own icicles. It takes a little practice and definitely a grown up craft. Get an empty plastic water or squash(clear)/ milk(frosted icicle) bottle, candle, scisors and a well ventilated space in case of fumes. Cut the water bottle into long thin triangles a little longer than the intended icicles. I found for a 500ml bottle height triangles about 2cm at one end to a point at the other were great. Once you have a whole lot take one triangle and heat it gently over the candle, pulling and twising as you heat it along the length of the triangle. The first few probably won't look so good but with some practice will soon be easy. You can then string them together using a needle. Google the idea for a more detailed tutorial.

Elainey1609 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:58:16

Wooo finally found an app that is completely free and is password locked
don't no if is available for android but is in the app store
called
NoMoreSocks .....its pretty basic but works in the sense that helps me manage ideas what I've bought already and what I need to get
Hope it helps some people

Ive been avidly watching the pinterest thread on here and started following some of peoples xmas boards, some have great home made decoration ideas and Christmas fun ideas for a bargain ... love looking

Valium I agree with you about the stocking things £30 is silly, so I think its how people interoperate stockings as a whole
Im similar to your quite traditional
they get a satusma, chocolate coins, candy cane, pair of socks, and a little something like toy from pound land.

ELR I have a £2 pound money box goes towards buying xmas , I start it 1st of January as I always get a new money box for xmas (normally one of those tin ones with no opening)

I bought jelly packets, tin fruit, tealights and some batteries all for xmas stock at the weekend

found another ebay bargain of pick up xmas decorations
This one included a star shape window rope light which is all working great.

Bought xmas cards from card factory today getting in spirit lol

ELR Fri 06-Sep-13 19:11:56

Thanks elainy just got the app.

Elainey1609 Sun 08-Sep-13 13:10:57

ELR that's ok
just glad it helps someone

raisah Sun 08-Sep-13 16:06:17

Instead of buying individual presents for siblings & nieces/nephews consider family gifts of food or chocs. I have got 4 large boxes of M&S Swiss chocs for £4 each, they are on special offer and they are usually £8 each. Keep an eye out for similar offers on tins of biscuits. I make up food hampers as they cqn be used through the year, especially in these tight economic times people appreciate baskets of food treats.

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