Saturday, October 27, 2007

Christmas Stockings

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. :-)


Frogdancer said...

I adore Christmas. In fact, when my marriage broke up one of the arrangements I put in place very early on was that I had Santa, and my ex had the Easter bunny.

I've always had 4 piles of presents in the lounge room, and the kids bring out blankets to cover them up, so there's a surprise factor in the morning. Jack writes their names on slips of paper, so all I have to do is stay awake until after midnight, and then drag everything out and make sure I put the right name on each pile.

Some years the piles have been very impressive. The 'bike years' in particular. This year all I've got them is one present each. The blankets are going to look very flat. But the younger ones have got a $300 camera each, and the older two have got a $350 ipod each, so I'm sure their initial disappointment will fade once they see what they've got.

It'd better! I bought them such expensive things becaue I could get the GST back by taking them out of the country when we went to Phulet. So I smuggled them out, then back in without any of the boys being the wiser. Hard to do at the airports when the kids are doing the right thing and sticking close to you... Nearly turned ny hair grey. Can't wait for Christmas!!! Woo Hoo!

Jade said...

Thats great!!! Guess what Im going to do!!! I was gonna sew mine, but Im going to run out of time.

lightening said...

frogdancer - ooh, I've been VERY curious about those little packages you carted overseas and back. Now I know! :-) I'm sure they'll LOVE them!!! As they get older their presents seem to get smaller but more expensive. I do like the smaller part....

Jade - I contemplated making something for about, oh 2 seconds. LOL. Well, it was a little longer than that but not long enough to follow through on the idea or anything. :-)

Lisa said...

Lightening, my friend Jen always gets the most wonderfully random things in her stocking...she and her brother over the last few years have received string, highlighting textas, stickynotes, nail files etc etc Every year I wait to find out what her Mum has come up with. I love it. I think the sunscreen/lip balm etc things are excellent and will adopt them this year as well as the usual things we buy such as a new lunchbox and drink bottle for school. Fancy spending $40 on a Christmas stocking!!!!!!

lightening said...

Lisa - those ideas sound great too. My kids LOVE getting stationery in their stockings. Since it's something I tend to buy throughout the year for them, I'm quite happy to comply. :-)

Niki RuralWritings said...

Hi Lightening, I've enjoyed visiting your blog! I too have both feet firmly planed on the I Love Christmas side!

Meg said...

Christmas is magic and a time I love but as my kids have gotten older a little bit of glitter has faded. We used to go all out and have the house decorated inside and out with lights and christmassy things, each year it seems to go down a notch but I'm working on it !
I love the christmas stockings, you did well girl !

Hollie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! You did amazing to get it done that cheap...I made mine kinda like you did, and there is just me and my daughter.

About costuming and dressup, Roo has a bin of bits and bobs that we have gathered over the years, and that is often where we get dress up or costume stuff from. She loves her tickle trunk and it comes in handy at Halloween.

As for the stores I listed on my blog I dont beleive international shipping is free unfortuately..although you can find some great Aussie buys on ebay.

emma.jean said...

Love the stockings, Jodi. :)


lightening said...

Hollie - thanks for dropping by.

Meg - my kids are just getting to that age where they can participate more in the Christmas preparations. Just yesterday my DS decided to start writing a list of what needs to be done before Christmas. I'm really enjoying this stage of having them do the decorating. Less work for me and more fun for them. I didn't ever grow out of decorating the house - in fact I think I was the main "push" for Christmas in our house growing up so I did a lot of the decorating anyway. I thought when my kids discovered the "secret" of Santa that it would make Christmas less fun but I'm actually finding it makes it more fun (cos I enjoy getting the credit for the gifts lol).

Niki - I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. It's so exciting to have so many readers in the "I love Christmas" camp. Go us!!! LOL.

Scott said...

1. I love Identity Direct. I have been tempted to order everything in that catalogue!
2. I love Christmas. Each year I try to get the tree up a liitle earlier just so I can enjoy it longer.
Never had stockings though - when I was a kid we had an empty pillow case at the base of the bed. Must have been hard on my parents (I mean Father Christmas) to avoid waking us up.

Precious_1 said...


your stockings look great Jodi! My kids have cheap store bought ones the size of pillowcases that do them. I still have my one from when I was a little girl.......... actually it was my mums from when she was a little girl......... I use it for "family" gifts like board games or dvd's. Santa always leaves a little something for us to enjoy togehter.

Simple Blog Writer said...

Ack! I have two of those cross-stitch stocking kits. I started one stocking when I was pregnant with my first child. That was in the last century. The second kit remains unopened. Sigh.

lightening said...

Simple Blog Writer - had to have a giggle at that one. Don't worry, I have plenty of UFO's - they're just *not* Christmas Stockings.

Precious 1 - kids have pillow case size ones as well. I sometimes use them instead of wrapping paper. Bought at an after christmas sale. One year I put a multi-pack of chips in each one and I'm SURE that was the most popular present that year! Great idea with the family game.

Scott - LOL about the identity direct catalogue. Can just see you turning up to class with your name on your pencil case and coloured pencils. :-) My DH has one of those christmas pillow cases from his childhood. PLUS his mum used to fill REAL stockings (hers) with stocking fillers which they thought were great cos they were nice and stretchy so fitted lots in them. ????? Makes my mind boggle really. Can't imagine trying to get stuff in or out of them either.