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!
Also.... yours are young enough to "start as you mean to go on"..... always found the mounds of presents thing to be "tacky" - ours get 2 or 3 well chosen things that they want and a small stocking with sweets and bits and bobs (now they are older... hair bands/makeup/nail polish) collected over the year.
Christmas does not have to be all about the presents... but some people build in that expectation right from the start by giving tons of "stuff".....
I made DS a set of toy stuffy filled cubes for his first Christmas. I made 5 and one side of each had a letter of his name. The other sides all had different fabric. Nice and bulky made from scraps mostly.
How about a helium filled balloon each? Packed in a box ready to float out when opened? Ds is 3 and lobes walking around the house bouncing it off the ceiling. He only gets them on Xmas and Bday but it provides a good 2 weeks before it is too bedraggled. Good value for £2
Ickle baby bot from lush is lovely for littlest, and they have a few seasonal ones too for kids. Dd loves those, I give one Xmas Eve every year to help relaxing Eve bedtime and wind down excitement levels.
I read on fb today that a friend was making bath bombs... Maybe for grown ups pressies
I forgot to give you "the poem" my parents used for stockings, and which we still do....
Something you want
Something you need
Something to eat, and
Something to read
Ea was always a load of fruit each (red apple, green apple, kiwi, banana, orang, satsuma) and a half pound box of sweets. We loved it and used eat fruit all morning with some sweets, but eke those out over the hols. Normally, fruit in our house was boxes of golden delicious apples and not else, so a Granny Smiths AND a red one! as well as other fruit! was great.
Read...always had a book. In fact, anyone on my parents house on Christmas Eve still has to put out stockings for fruit, sweets and a book. Youngest is 29!!!
At that age, you could get the night before Christmas, to read every Christmas Eve afterwards, or there's lots of lovely mr men Christmas books that would be cheap.
Need...things like knickers (character ones are fun as mum wouldn't normally buy those in our house so it must be Santa), hair clips and bobbins, socks, maybe a brush for themselves (always helpful when getting into school etc to reduce passing any nits infestations through whole house by having own brushes), toothbrush, toothpaste, warm vests....all sorts of small but useful things. I think, when dd was that age, I got her a metal kid sized cutlery set in lidl which was very useful and she still uses (small hands). Smaller doc can have sippy cups, bins suited to larger baby feeding herself, also vests etc if need a few extra, first toothbrush.....
And hen, your wants space is drastically reduced to fill out with small things to make it all fun. I love the balloons idea, crayons or pencils always go down well, if you do any crafts or baking or anything together, things for that are nice, either materials/ingredients, or aprons or coveralls.
Keep an eye here and on money saving expert boards for free ideas and free offers, samples sizes etc can be handy.
An m I have posted a list before of lots of ideas for advent calendar things to do, I can,t post it from here now but it was over 60 and lots are free or very cheap. So for a few things to do before Christmas, you might find a few ideas there. Including go for a walk in a woods one day and look at natur sleeping but also collect pine cones, and nanother not so nice day, decorate those with glitter and paint for the tree or grandparent presents. Borrow DVDs from library or Christmassy stories, ton enjoy together on rainy days.
Free printable seasonal pictures from the net and a pack of cheap colours takes up space too.
Will have a think about other ideas.
One of my DS's favourite ever stocking fillers was a jar of gingerbread mix I made (google it - loads of cookie mix in a jar recipes out there to choose from) which I labelled Mrs Claus' Special Gingerbread Mix. It took a few minutes and I thought he might think it was a bit lame but he adored it. It definitely helped to keep the magic alive because he had been teetering on the edge of Santa unbelief until then but became a true blue believer again in the face of such concrete evidence
We did reindeer food last year. Mix up a handful of porridge oats with a bit of glitter. Sprinkle outside near your home so the reindeer can snack whilst Father Christmas is doing his thing.
Our local National Trust place was doing this and making gift bags decorated out of old cards as a free activity.
Yy to selection box.
I have got done great sticking fillers in the reduced section of tk maxx. I got a cut the rope apptivity toy, a monsuno core, a moshi monsters card game and a thing like a bakugan but for girls all for a pound.
If you have tk maxx near you it's well worth trawling their reduced toy section on a regular basis as they sometimes reduce stuff to silly prices just to get rid of them.
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
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 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
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.
Also Xmas stockings don't have to be all toys/sweets/exciting stuff - can be stuff you were going to need anyway -
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.
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.
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.
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.
Home made play dough with extra bits to play with which can all be bought cheaply at pound shop?
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.
Duh...... Never heard of other but like it!
You're thinking of Elf Yourself, Minnie. Which rhymes with Elf On The Shelf but is different...
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.
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
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