I am one of those people who have 2 feet firmly planted in the "I LOVE CHRISTMAS" camp. To me it really is "the most magical time of the year". :-) I know it's still a little way off yet but well, with November set to be a very BUSY month, it will be here before I know it. So it's nice to get a few *little* preparations out of the way early.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a HUGE fan of Christmas stockings. I wonder if it has anything to do with my primary love language being gifts? All those little bits and pieces.....very exciting!!!! :-) In fact, I seem to remember my love of Christmas stockings causing my mum a certain amount of grief. All those little bits and pieces can sure add up when you're on a tight budget.
Not that I find filling our kids Christmas stockings too bad. I often add things that I would have bought anyway like sunscreen, lipbalm, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties etc. Somehow getting all these things in a stocking makes them more exciting. Not that my kids are all that old yet (eldest being not quite 10). Sometimes I have freebies that I've collected through the year that go in there. Calendars and stationery passed on to us from various local businesses (although these things seem to be getting less and less each year). Last year DS got a calculator that had been sent as a freebie with a catalogue order I had placed.
What works for me is collecting bits and pieces through the year and then topping them up with a few practical things and some edible things. Can't have a Christmas Stocking without chocolate coins now can you? :-) My biggest problem seems to be collecting too many things and they don't all fit in the stocking. LOL. DH likes to tease me about this.
During my "spendaholic" years I solved this problem by buying BIGGER stockings. DH likes to tease me about that as well. :-) At that time we only had 2 children though so I ended up with 2 large stockings and my youngest used one we already had which was considerably smaller. Not a problem when they're a baby. But this year I think he's old enough to notice the difference in size.
Our stocking stash consisted of 2 stockings my mum gave DH and I just before we got married, one smaller stocking that I think we bought when our first DS was born, then the 2 larger stockings I bought for our older 2. After looking around the past few years for a 3rd "large" stocking for my youngest and not finding one the same, I decided that this year was the time for 3 new stockings.
Before our firstborn was even thought of, I remember seeing those kits you can buy where you cross-stitch a personalised stocking. I liked the idea of something that I had actually *made* for our children as well as the idea of having their names on the stocking. Great idea in theory but seriously lacking a "roundtoit" in practise. They're not cheap either at $60+ per stocking. I'm sure my children will have left home by the time I managed to actually cross-stitch 3 of them!!!
Then I saw some lovely ones in an identity direct catalogue and wondered if they would be the way to go. Personalised and all, and not relying on my "roundtoit" in order to be completed. Still at $40 each they still seemed like a hefty investment for something that is pulled out only once a year.
I then began to wonder if I could find a stocking to buy and then add the kids names myself. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of it before but I guess making those felted bags with names on them for my nieces gave me the idea and confidence to give it a go. In Coles a few weeks ago I found some stockings I liked for just $2.98 each. Nice and blank on the top cuff just waiting for a name to be added.
I'm really happy with how they have come up. They still give the kids the "mum made this especially for me" factor without being either a high time outlay or a high cost outlay. And of course, it'll make it much easier for "Santa" to remember which stocking belongs to which child. With the only difference in the past being silver decorations or gold decorations, poor old Santa was left scratching his head a few times. LOL.
My "mathematically minded, extremely frugal" 9 year old was very quick to calculate the savings on buying personalised ones from the identity direct catalogue he'd recently been browsing (because there is a chance to *win* $10,000 so he wants to know if I'm planning on ordering anything....which I am but NOT to win $10,000 LOL. Just cos there's something in there I want to get for my nephew for Christmas). I spent $9 on 3 stockings plus $4 on gold glitter fabric paint. So $13 all up (is it bad that I just had to use my fingers to add that up???? *blush*). 3 personalised stockings would have cost around $120 (that's $40 x 3 isn't it???). Forget the cents.....that's just too complicated for me!!!! So I SAVED a grand total of $107!!!!
I didn't get into the fact that I didn't *really* save $107 because I NEVER would have spent $120 on Christmas stockings. Did I say never? Well....maybe I *might* have once upon a time but not anymore. No, I didn't get into all that. I was too busy enjoying the fact that I was a hero in my 9 year olds eyes. It doesn't happen very often so you have to enjoy it while you can. :-) I wonder how much longer NOT spending money will make me a hero in his eyes? Do they stay like that or does adolescence kind of *ruin* them?
And if you're still groaning about the fact that she's talking about CHRISTMAS already..... I guess you don't want me to mention that there is LESS than 2 months to go????? And 2 months isn't really all that long when you consider how frantic December tends to be. And of course with all the writing that will be happening during November.... well, some of you just RAN out of time. LOLOL. Why am I laughing? Some of you includes ME!!!!!
Oh well, I still LOVE Christmas. :-)