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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do you know where your Christmas spreadsheet is?


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 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.


Momza said...

I'm starting to think of Christmas as of last night when CSN gave me a gift to give to my readers.
We do the 4 Gifts of Christmas too...Gold, Frankincense, Myrhh and Santa Claus. It keeps things pretty easy around here. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I'm really wanting the overall Mood of the holidays to be more loving and upbeat this year...plan on making lots of treats, inviting more people over to share the holidays with us, look for opportunities to serve too.
We'll see, it's still October! lol

Anonymous said...

Starbucks (or other near the school coffee shop) gift cards
Donate a book or supplies to the classroom so the teacher does not have purchase something out of their own pocket
Donate a book to the school library and have their name put in it
Make a donation to their (or your) favorite charity in their name

Shell said...

This post kind of stresses me out! I'm so behind.

I have two different teacher gift posts that I used last year. I'll be right back with the list.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Teachers: I lucked out and got cute travel cosmetic bags on clearance at Target. They even have a fold away hanger and various little zippered pouches. I also bought a variety of little sample/travel sizes of lotion, breath strips, fun soap, mini loofah, etc to put in the pockets.

Shell said...

Here's mine:

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher. Gift cards are the most welcome gift. We get too many "apples" and things like that.

kimybeee said...

i still think you are a nerd for doing a spreadsheet - lol but my mil is a teacher and i talked to the teachers when my kids were in elem caused i volunteered all the time and they really don't want that "stuff". they do appreciate supplies for the classrooms or a gift certificate for an office supply store or walmart to buy classroom goodies. or if you want them to have something for themselves, just get a gift certificate for the local mall. $5 or $10 bucks is plenty to show you appreciate them. When they combine that will all the other goodies they get, it can add up. I didn't even buy holiday gifts for the teachers, i just told them if they needed something throughout the school year to let me know and i would be happy to help. they appreciate the gift of time and restocking things as needed much more than "stuff".

Beth said...

For the teachers one year I got them a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and a hot chocolate mix and attached a note that said something like curl up and relax with your favorite book or something.

Emily Cavaco said...

Would love to see a download of your Christmas spreadsheet for a template...pretty please?