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Our Frugal Christmas

We exchange presents with my parents, my two sisters, 1 brother, 1 sister in law, and one brother in law, their two kids, and an aunt and uncle who have no kids/grandkids.

We decided last year we would be buying either thrift store gifts or making handmade gifts.

I think there was a couple of the men (my husband being one) who were very skeptical about this plan of action for Christmas.

Well their minds have been changed. Christmas was wonderful, and nobody went into major debt on the gifts we exchanged at my mothers. Now if they went into debt buying gifts on their other side of the families, then shame on them.

My parents, sisters, brother, and brother in law all loved their gifts my husband and I purchased for them.

Here's a run down on what I gave them....

Mother: I made her a 2008 calendar, each month had a picture of one of the family I had taken throughout the year and listed all birthdays and holidays ($ the cost of 12sheets of paper and printer ink). I also chose a dozen pictures taken through out the year and took them to CVS and printed off 4x6 prints ($3.48) and put them in a photo album ($1) purchased from Dollar Tree for her. A brand new 9 pc set of ginsu knives $1. The total for these two gifts was less than $6.

Father: Two dress shirts purchased from Thrift Store for $2.99 each. Total $6

Sisters: Both received a photo album like mothers ($4.48). And a couple of other small things from thrift store that totaled approx $3 each. Total gift each $7 approx

Sister in law: Scored BIG at thrift store for her. I found a make up bag collection from some pricey line such as Liz Clairborne that was brand new still in the box. It had the large one for home and a smaller travel one to carry in purse. It's original price tag was $39.99. (Can't imagine paying $40 for two make up bags, but I'm sure someone did for a gift, that's why it ended up unused in a thrift store) My purchase price $5. hehehe I was elated when I found it. It was so pretty and her. I also printed off a 5x7 photo that had been captured of her and my brother at a reception. He was giving her a loving kiss on the cheek. The frame was $1 from Dollar Tree. Total gift $6

Brother: a brand new unique pocket knife for $4 and homemade jalepeno jelly $3 Total $7

Aunt: Another BIG score. A brand new still in the box butter crock. Original price $19.95. She always has butter setting out. It was $2.50

Uncle: Another brand new pocket knife (both found at the same thrift store) for $4 and a new magnifying glass $2. Total $6

Brother in law: He is a sculptor. I took pictures of all his pieces and made him a portfolio on dvd for him to promote his work $2. He collects wolf figurines. Found a small one for $1 Total $3

Niece: A purse filled with lip gloss, nail polish and other girlie stuff bought from Dollar Tree Total $6

Nephew: A MU ball cap $6 and a small hand held game $3, total $9 (he's so hard out of all them being 15)

Total for All this year $65.50 compared to last year $165 for all.

Not bad hugh? My goal had been $50. I didnt quite make it but almost.

I only have one child living at home. Part of his Christmas was thrift store buys, (see http://kittytigerskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/12/frugal-christmas-shopping.html) part of it was discounted new purchases. I am so disapointed with one of the new purchases, that had it not been given by Santa it would be going back.

My other BIG find was for my 2 year old grandson. A Sponge Bob chair! I found it in a load of trash at work. New and still in the plastic bag. The bag had two small holes and the cover had gotten two spots of mud because of the holes. I took the cover off, threw it in the washer to freshen up. It looked brand new. I dont know for sure how much it would cost to buy, but it was free for me. woohooo! He was so proud to sit in his little man's chair to open his gifts.

All the thrift store purchases for him and my grown family were BIG hits. All thrift store purchases I recvd as gifts were awesome!

I will be shopping ALL year this next year for Christmas at thrift stores. I've already got an idea on how to do a more effective job too.


  1. Congrats! Sounds like a huge success :)

  2. What thought went in to those gifts!! You did such a wonderful job. I would be so proud to have done so well too!

    I, too, make as many gifts as I can. I made handmade cards for my mom (60) and my grandma (50) and a scrapbook calendar for my inlaws. Every year my family goes further and further from spending money for Christmas, so this year we didn't buy for each other, we only gave gifts to Mom and Dad and drew names for the kids. Like I said, I made Mom's gift, but did contribute 40 bucks to my dad's IPod, what he really wanted, and then we had 3 kids to buy for. One lives in Germany and his mom asked if he could receive a gift cert. (he's still a baby) so she wouldn't have to store anything (she has no room and my brother, her husband, is in Iraq) and then the other two were picked out by my daughters for their cousins. They bought nice silver necklaces for 75% off---less than five dollars a piece. It was still such a wonderful Christmas. It has never been about the gifts for any of us.

    It feels good to be frugal for Christmas, huh? I think more people are going to be doing that as time goes on because our country can't keep up this crazy spending forever. Or maybe I'm being optimistic or pessimistic, whichever way you look at it.

  3. There is always a portion of our Christmas gifts that come from either thrift stores or garage sales. No one ever seems to mind. :)

  4. You might not have met your goal but you fully met the intent of the challenge. Congrats!