Thursday, October 28, 2010
If you are a fan of the 4th Frog Facebook page, you know that I was recently fretting about being late to start my Christmas shopping. It's happened before, but I can't recall ever starting this late in the season. Once I get started though, it doesn't take long for the whole process to whip itself up into a near obsession. It's not the rush of spending that makes me enjoy the whole Christmas shopping frenzy. It's the thrill of the chase and the fun of thinking of gifts that I know will make another person smile -- or even better, squeal in delight.
A few days ago, I was successful in getting my shopping spreadsheet set up. I list each person by name, then assign categories of Feast of St. Nicholas, Santa, Mom& Dad, Stocking -- making a column for budgeted amount and actual amount spent. Then I start populating the list with ideas. Somethings are easy. For instance, Santa always puts band-aids in the stockings. Others are things that I know the kids want or need. We keep the gifts to four per kid -- 3 from Santa and 1 from Mom & Dad. (Unless Mike goes all rogue on me and starts buying things without prior approval!)
Anyway, in addition to the kids & Mike, I list all the other people we will give to for the season -- nieces and nephews, siblings drawn in the "gift a-change" (as my sister likes to call it), Giving Tree families, and teachers.
It can get pretty pricey. This year, I'm really trying to be disciplined and frugal in our holiday spending. I purchased a $50 gift for FREE from Amazon.com yesterday, using credit I'd earned through Swag Bucks -- and I still have enough credit to buy a couple more gifts. I'm going to do some weekend seasonal work for a friend who owns a children's book & toy store. I plan to use my pay to fund other Christmas purchases and will take advantage of the discount on gifts for my nieces and nephews.
Where I'm a little stuck is on teacher gifts. In years past, I've done brownies in a jar, movie ticket with a box of movie theater candy and hand-stamped notecards. I could do any of those again -- with the exception of the notecards because I just don't have the time or the desire to make them right now.
I plan to give to six teachers. I would love to hear your creative and economical ideas for teacher gifts -- or for other giftees.