BLOG TREAT!!!

It's here! It's here!

I want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who takes the time to stop by here when they can! I appreciate all of you!

So I have put together a little Blog Treat that I'm going to be giving to one lucky reader! There are several things here so I took two pictures. And none of these items really go together, LOL! I just tried to make it a nice variety so HOPEFULLY there will be at least one or two things in there you like!

Here's the loot (look at both pictures!):
A jar of Walnut Ink Crystals by Tsukineko
FIVE unmounted rubber stamps by The Angel Company and includes the Creative Cling foam for use with clear acrylic blocks
The stamps are: "Thank You", "God Bless You", "He Loves Me John 3:16", a flower background, and a butterfly with the saying "Hi There"
(EVERY $30 purchase with The Angel Company gets you a similar stamp like these for FREE! Sorry for the hijack, just couldn't resist, LOL!)

Five square coasters
Two clear stamps by DMD
One clear stamp by Autumn Leaves
Set of two clear stamps by Inkadinkado
One wood mounted ornament stamp by Studio G
One wood mounted miniature alphabet stamp set by Studio G
One vial of 1/2mm gold glass glitter beads by Darice
One vial of pastel purple fine glitter by TSC Designs


How can you win it? Well, I'm so glad you asked! We all know Christmas if quickly approaching. And we also all know that the economy is not good. There are soooo many places of employment laying off or closing right now. It's really bad ANY time, but especially right now. Right before Christmas. My dad is a prime example - the factory he works at is closing it's doors this week! Lots of people out of work in this small rural area. Lots of young parents with children too! And then I just heard on the news that 2 major factories in Terre Haute, IN (close to us) is laying off half of it's workforce. And the list goes on.....

Anyway, I don't wanna get all depressing on ya. This is just what's on my heart today.

So here's what I'm asking of you: All you have to do to enter to win is leave me a comment on this post, letting me know what you and your family are doing to cut back this holiday season financially. Or some tips on what other people can do. I truly believe that Christmas is not, and should not, be all about the "stuff". It's gotten waaaay too materialistic. But let's say, for a family that DOES want to provide a nice Christmas celebration for the children - what can they do that's economical? How can they cut back? What can they do different yet memorable?

PLEASE, even if you don't have any thoughts on this subject, leave me a comment anyway! I don't want to exclude ANYone!!!

I will take comments all week until Saturday, November 29th. I'll then use the random number generator online to pick a winner. So be watching - maybe you'll see your name posted here on Saturday!

Have a great day, Tootles!


44 comments:

Cheryl said...

Boy, does this post ever hit home for me because my husband just got laid off from his job last Friday. We are both 60 years old and at our age, it is going to be hard to replace this job with something similar. Needless to say, this year, we will be cutting back drastically on Christmas. Gifts will be purchased just for the grandkids. No adults will receive anything unless it is handmade by me!! I will be eager to read what ideas to cut back others will be oontributing to your blog. We never expected to be in this situation and we feel that we got run over by a Mack truck! (have you ever heard that expression?) Thanks so much for this awesome candy.
Cheryl Sims

Sharri C said...

Vicki, for the last few years our family has agreed that none of us NEED anything so we wouldn't buy something just for the sake of buying something. We've agreed to enjoy each others company as we are all so busy that we don't spend enough time together. We also will helpout someone less fortunate than we are in our own area. I love your blog and want to thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays! SharriC

Argyle Cats said...

I think your blog is great, so many ideas!
Many of my close friends are crafty, this year most of them are making homemade gifts. Crafty people tend to have a lot of supplies, this is a good way to use up some of your supplies without having to go out and buy a lot.
Thanks for the chance to win!

justmyopinion12 said...

We decided on my DH's side a few years ago to purpose to make memories as our gifts to each other rather than to exchange gifts. The kids ranged in age from 6 to 19 at that time, and we really don't get to spend a lot of time together during the year. As a result, knowing what would please each other was really difficult. Also, we realized that with the limited time together, the gifts are really unimportant when what we really want is to leave the next generation with the desire to have relationship with each other when the moms and dads and grandparents are gone. With that in mind, we plan one full day of "family time". We start with brunch and move through the day with one fun activity after another. Each family is responsible for determining and planning one of the activities. One year, my brother in law used pvc pipe and made marshmallow shooters for everyone. We went to a local park and had a "marshmallow fight". There is a neighborhood near my in laws that has a hayride through the streets to look at Christmas lights, and when we haven't done that, we've just gone on our own parade through the area to look at lights. We've had a birthday party for Jesus - complete with birthday cake - for neighbors. We usually end the day with playing games like bunco and pictionary, etc. Any prizes that we win are usually designed for the younger kids so that whoever wins decides they'd rather "Suzie" or "Johnny" have the prize. All of the kids have come to love this family time. We are all closer and it's great for the kids to see the aunts and uncles playing and being silly.

Jen said...

Since losing my job in August, we've decided that this holiday season is going to be about giving our time and talents instead of money or buying "stuff". Lots of handmade gifties and food, along with family gatherings that center around spending time with each other as opposed to gift exchanges or shopping.

And I just have to say HI! from a transplanted Hoosier! I grew up in Indy, moved to Texas 3 years ago. I miss seeing the leaves turn in the fall.

AngelaK said...

Well there is always smaller gifts all wrapped individually, then there seem like a lot more. And hey, it's fun to open presents big or small. How about making some new traditions, in my family growing up we had "shaking packages", they were the only present under the tree we could touch and shake. We also always had a treasure hunt for at least 1 gift, with the first clue being hidden in a wrapped package. I plan to start doing these things with my own family this year. If you are having fun,and are spending time together, you most likely will not be disapointed with anything, at least that is what works with my little family! :)Also lots of hand made gifts, with supplies I already have!

shelley said...

I'm trying to do handmade gifts. I'm going to try to do some shopping on Black Friday, on the ones that I'm not making homemade gifts for. So hopefully, I'll get a good deal on some items.


shelley

Anonymous said...

you are right the pennies are tighter this year so for me it will be spending more time in the kitchen and making things from scratch i.e mince pie's etc... which will be great fun as my youngest enjoys cooking at the moment and doesn't share my passion for crafting.

on that comment I've made all my own christmas cards and recyled the ones I recieved last year as christmas tags for the gifts that I'm giving this year...unfortunately that will only be the children within our family with so many brothers and sisters that means double the amount of children... and its the delight on their faces that makes christmas for me.

thanks for the chance of winning your candy.

bendabout said...

Adults will not be gettin Christmas gifts unless they are handmade. My son will "only" be getting 3 gifts (grandparents will get him way more than he could ever play with anyway).

Turn the thermostat down a degree or 2.

If you don't have the cash, you don't need it.

Stop eating out.

Cut back on cable, internet (ouch), cell phones.

Call your cell phone/cable/telephone/internet providers and see if you can get a lower rate. I just got a lower rate on my cell phone and am saving over 20 a month!!!

Make your menus according to the sale adds in your paper.

Use coupons.

AND if you are a scrapbooker/stamper, like myself, DO NOT buy ANYTHING new!! Commit to using what you have right now until AFTER Christmas. We all have wayyyyyy too much stuff anyway.

Volunteer at your local mission/food panty/homeless shelter....and you'll find that most of us are not that bad off anyway.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Bridgett said...

We are a one income family of four. It seems like the price of food, gasoline and the bills take up all the money. I have not even bought one present yet. I plan on filling the stockings with toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks, lotion, bath toys, etc. Things that are inexpensive but needful, too. The presents below the tree will be limited to three things per child. We will be giving gifts to Jesus this year...all month we will write down something good we did for someone else and on Christmas we will read each one aloud as a family and those will be the presents we give to the LORD. I wish everyone peace and good will.

Melisa Waldorf Angel #4405 said...

Wow Vicki!! Awesome give away!! My only tip is to do some home-made gifting, oh and of course hit the sales on black friday!!

Cindy said...

We are simply spending less on gifts. Gifts for my adult children will be minimal and then only a little bit for the grandkids, enough for them to get excited about (they are 3 and under), which won't take much!

Beverly said...

After reading all the other posts I feel, well, pretty fortunate. This Christmas won't be much different for us.

Our kids usually end up with a bunch of inexpensive gifts along with the more expensive ones. This year, the "smaller" things will be left out because they actually end up totaling quite a bit. Our kids, 18 & 11, are old enough to understand that even though there won't be as "many" presents under the tree, they're getting things they sincerely want &/or need.

I started shopping early. To save on gas I did most of my shopping via the internet. I took advantage of QVC's monthly payments. This came in handy on the higher priced electronics. I also looked for free shipping & various coupons from retailers for other gifts on my list. I actually saved time & money by doing this.....not to mention a bit of sanity by avoiding the crowds.

I wish everyone a safe & happy holiday season!!

Sue said...

I am making some homemade gifts this year. My 18 year old daughter who is attending college and doesn't have the money to buy gifts has started making homemade cards for gifts this year. Another way to give and save money is to buy a family gift instead of individual gifts. My family a few years ago started playing bingo for gifts that were bought at the Dollar Store instead of buying gifts for everyone or drawing names. We would buy $15 - $20 worth of gifts (per family), wrap them, and then play bingo. We had fun doing that.

skovach said...

One of the big things we are doing is buying "practical" gifts. We will also be making some homemade items.

We have decided that spending time with family is more important than the gifts.

Sara said...

Family get together and a big dinner will be a focus this Christmas. Instead of buying gifts for everyone, we will be doing gift exchanges. The gift exchanges this year will be Christmas ornaments - they can be as expensive or inexpensive as an individual chooses.

"Jany" said...

First of all, your boxes are both beautiful!

Second, as for the festivities with family... My grandparents didn't like to give Christmas gifts. They would give us something later. So, they did their best to make ONE dish for every family member. That means that if many of us really loved pork, they would buy pork and make it for dinner. I used to love a dish of macarroni and chesse grilled in the oven. Mmmmm... I would get that dish done every Christmas.

Then they would buy ONE game we didn't have already. But there would be the usual Bingo and the cards games and the "India" game to play adults and children together. So, that would get us excited since we didn't usually spent time together. And there would be all kinds of pastries for us to eat and take home with us. They saved money in gifts (not that much in food tho) and we would enjoy not having the adults in one room and children in another one.

Anonymous said...

My DH lost his job last october and in this rural area there are just no jobs available. e are trying to survive on my disability retirement alone. It is tough. We lover the thermostat, cut back on groceries we buy (no more snack type stuff, sodas etc) We make iced tea more often to drink. I have cut back on driving - one big grocery shopping per month (it's 30 miles to the big grocery store)and I buy nothing unless it is absolutely necessary. I am making most of our Christmas gifts - sewing aprons, table runners, placemats, lap quilts etc. I already had all the fabric in my stash! Also making our Christmas cards. We are buying no gifts this year. Spending time with friends and family is most important and participating in the Christmas celebrations at our church will be it for us. I know those with chidren have a harder time in the bad financial times and I wish them well. We live in a small rural town so opportunities are limited.
Jan Canyon

gcase1@comcast.net said...

We have cut back in many ways. We asked the grown children not to buy for us, for the sake of buying something. We are doing volumteer work to help others. I am making a donation to the Saint Judes Hospital in the name of my kids instead of buying them items they do not need. With our friends, we decided to get together with a pot luck dinner and enjoy playing games for the evening. Memories last forever. May everyone be blessed with love and memories this holiday season.

Christina D said...

I too am having to cut back this year. I hope to celebrate more the more traditional "reason for the season". The few gifts this year will be home-made.

Anonymous said...

My family is blessed this year with both of us still being employed but we know all to well how quickly that can change. My husband has been laid off 3 times (twice due to the company closing and once due to cut backs) We are thankful every day for our jobs!! As far as Christmas---- I mostly concentrate on the kids of the family and our parents. I have made a lot of gifts in the past--- fleece scarfs and bracelets that match kids school colors, sets of cards, notepads, baked goods--
We live in Ohio sooooo.... Anything made using Scarlet and Gray always is a hit!! We also try and look for events that don't really cost that much-- Our hometown has Christmas in the Village event--- Drive around and look at Christmas lights, make cookies, Hanging of the Greens, Advent workshops at church, and Christmas Eve Services. We try to stress with our kids ( we have 3) that it is really the Miracle of Christmas and the giving of ourselves that is important. If we know someone in need-- We try and help them out someway (even if its small) I have been really looking a the adds, coupons, gift card offers or special discounts and trying to stick to a budget this year. I hope everone has a great Thanksgiving !!!

Sherri Alspach

Lisadwb said...

I am working on some handmade gifts too. We have a tradition of 3 gifts for the kids (ages 4 &2) to represent the gifts of the Wisemen. This year we are leaving outgrown toys under the tree for Santa to take to other children.

Kathleen said...

Boy is what you said so very true for many of us. We are cutting back to the "simple" way. We will be spending time with family just enjoying each others company and getting back to what really is important. I am making all the gitfts for family and friends with items I ahve in my scrap room. I am making an ornament for every one with a matching box also handmade, as a lasting remembrance of the holiday season. Along with that I will also make homemade baked goods. If I have time i also want to make mini albums so we all can hold the pictures from this Christmas in a special place. We are all wanting to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and share time with each other most of all. I am so looking forward to having this kind of Christmas.

Anonymous said...

We are definitely feeling the cruch as we were within 10 yrs of retirement age when I became physically unable to work due to cancer, & my husband was laid off a year ago & had to take a lesser paying job. We cut back by no longer eating out as often, and I no longer can spoil my grandkids with material items. They haven't complained because we make up for it by taking them to parks, lakes, etc. and doing fun things that don't cost a lot. I feel blessed this Christmas that all of my family is able to live in warm houses with enough food on the table. Happiness is being grateful for what you have, and not what you don't have. LindaSS

Jennifer McGregor said...

We've never been into the "material side" of Christmas, and usually only give our kids (9 and 6) a few small gifts. Last year I made the Advent Calendar that is listed as a project on splitcoast and we LOVED using that! It was truly a highlight, and the kids are anxious to see what it holds this year. We planned out our days according to our already busy schedules and filled in activities that they "discovered" in the boxes each morning... decorating the Christmas tree with music and hot cocoa, family dance-off (hilarious!!), boardgame night, movie night at home with popcorn, and their favorite... getting $5 to spend on the other one at the Dollar Store (then we came home and wrapped them up). They just loved the planned family time and I'm proud to say, they don't complain about the lack of gifts under the tree...

Sharon said...

It is so sad to hear of all the lay offs occurring so close to the holidays. Interesting that you mention Terre Haute...I heard that too....I am just an hour away from there...we must be close. We decided this holiday that rather than spend $$ on us we were going to give to a "giving tree" to help those less fortunate. My husband is also wanting to sponser a soldier and have them "home" for the holidays since they can not be with their own family. I will however be sending a care package to my son who is serving in the USMC and is currently deployed in Afgansistan.
There are so many out there that have nothing and even though we do not have a lot to give...this is what we have chose to do.
Happy Holidays!

Suzanne said...

I didn't take the time to read all of the postings but I know of many people that only give their children 3 gifts for Christmas just like the wise men did for Jesus. I'm also a person who has to ship many things because all of our family is in another state. so, instead of buying gifts, I'm mailing gift cards and therefore will be paying much less for shipping. I know that it doesn't sound like much but last year I paid over $150 just on shipping. YIKES!

Rita, an Inky Friend said...

There will be more Mini Albums under the tree this year - memories of events over this past year. Have a great Thanksgiving. rita w

stampin'fool said...

My daughter loves to play games. She has been on me, wanting to do a family game night. I feel a great christmas dinner and a couple of board games, would be enjoyable for my family. I also like to make home made gifts.
My family and I have to cut back big time for the holidays. finaces are REALLY BAD!!!!!!!!!!
Maria Meier
www.stampinfoolmeier.blogspot.com

StampinCarol said...

I plan on baking some of our gifts. I'm also doing picture frames, sled ornaments, magnetic chalk boards, and whatever. My dh got reassured tonight that his job is fairly secure (at least for a few months) so I'm breathing a bit easier right now. My prayers are with all of you who have suffered lay-offs.

Anonymous said...

My husband retired last December, so this year and last was more about family and time with each other. We are still giving gifts to our grandchildren, but cutting back on the amount. I am making little books for them that hopefully will mean something to them. The adults will receive a little money that I hope will come in handy to buy something they need (or want).
Neppie rhay@panhandle.rr.com

PawsN2Stamp said...

Vicki,

I know how the economy is affecting so many of us. Thankfully, hubby still has his job but since we are both on social security, now, he can only work so many hours or has to pay it back. So, we are on a much more limited income.

We have cut back in so many ways. Here are a few. We rarely eat out. We don't subscribe to a newspaper or magazines, we don't go to movie theaters, and we cut back our cable to basic. We only had the basic anyway, but a box, with dvr and a special remote. We have one cell phone between us and we have a very good home phone plan through our internet.

We have our heat set at 62ยบ and have lots of throws ;-)

We plan our trips in the car so as to save on gas and I stay home a lot more.

We watch the ads for groceries and plan our meals around the ads.

This year we will only be buying one gift each for our Granddaughters and have agreed not to exchange gifts with anyone else, including each other.

But, we still plan on celebrating Christmas and the true meaning! We'll watch for free events, go for a drive to see the lights in our neighborhood, and will concentrate on just spending quality time with one another.

My Granddaughter is coming to spend Christmas with us and she always looks forward to the things we 'do' together.

We spend a lot of time watching fun Christmas Movies, making cookies (this year, we are cutting way back on the baking), and doing crafts with things I already have. I usually have games to play and some books I have checked out at the library.

There are so many ideas you can Google.....to make Christmas and life in general, simpler and less expensive.

Here are a few I have found:

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/frugalliving101/tp/Start_Frugal.htm

http://creatingstillness.blogspot.com/

http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm

http://www.cindysporch.net/

Ok, you get the idea!!!

Have a great day!!!

Hugs,
Char

Mom said...

Sometimes a crisis helps us to do a "course correction" and I see and hear many people doing this in 2008. My husband is retired and cannot work due to a degenerative illness so I went back to work fufll time after being home for 35 years raising 6 children. That was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do done because I Loved being home and being a homemaker.

This year I am giving card giftsets to my daughters and daughter-in-law. The grandchildren (11) will get one gift and a Christmas ornament. My two youngest boys are getting clothes (from the Gap Outlet) because they are both in college.

The cousins from age 3-14 are making gifts for each other. It is fun because they are all happy making craft items so this gives them a chance to share their talents.

I bake fewer and fewer treats to give away because I have little time to cook and it it expensive. I miss that but I have the gift of good memories from all the years we did this as a family.

And a couple of years ago I gave in and bought a "fake" Christmas tree as a way to save another $35-$40 each year. Of all the things I have given up/changed this was the second hardest. I miss the smell, but I have a good imagination.

We have a great family and we all love one another. Only two family members with serious health problems so we are blessed with all the gifts we really need. God is great and life is good.

paper bag create said...

This year, I'm making Christmas presents..as I already have the items in my stash..so we won't be spending lots..I'm hoping that the handmade gifts will mean more to everyone than the store bought ones...
I'm hoping to bake and cook more and we've cut back on our dinners out...
Also been making lunches to take to work instead of buying them as the $5-$10 a day adds up pretty quickly over a month...
I buy the grocery staples that are on sale and pick up a few extra cans and have them in the pantry for when I need them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

JUST CUTTING BACK ON WHAT WE BUY AND FOR WHO

Cheryl said...

This is my second post, so don't add this for the drawing, OK? I am really appreciating all of these ideas. It has also readjusted my "stinkin'" thinking. I am changing my poor attitude right this minute. Thank you so very, very much, everyone who responded.
Cheryl Sims

Barb F said...

My side of the family used to go all out and everyone bought for everyone! As the children have grown older, it is just too difficult to figure out what to buy. So we started drawing names to relieve a little stress and (bonus!) cut the cost down. This year, we're not even doing that. I'll go ahead and get a few gifts for the wee ones, but I'm really sick of how commercialized & materialistic the holidays are now. I'd rather give a gift at a time 'for no reason'... it's so much more special that way!

Carol H. said...

I have enjoyed reading the comments posted and have come away with lots of good ideas. One thing I have done the past few years, is to buy a few Christmas items/gifts each month, starting with the after Christmas clearance sales. That way I don't have a huge expense in November and December.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are right. Some awesome ideas and comments. No matter the situation, we always come through. The Lord is Great and Almighty. This year, like many others, he's on strike. At least he gets strike pay so that's better than nothing. I love alot of the ideas that I have read here. I love your blog and all the wonderful inspiration from your cards. I just want to extend my wishes to all a Blessed Thanksgiving and most importantly a wonderous Merry Christmas. There will be lots of homemade goodies and lots of family togetherness.

Kathy Brown

bnonny3 said...

Since my husband is retired & we are living on a very fixed income,I am making all my cards this year. I also snagged your idea for the christmas organizer, & am using it to make organizers that can be used all year. I am also stamping paper bags that I already have in my stash to place my handmade gifts in. I also pickedup quite a few gifts for grandkids at yard sales all summer.

Teresa said...

You one of the things I love most about Thanksgiving is it continues to be a pure celebration of our blessings....unscathed by commercialism. It is my prayer this year to avoid the commercialism vortex that has blemished the celebration of the birth of Christ. This year, our gift giving is limited to the children only....giving each child three gifts in rememberance of the gifts offered a child in a manger years ago.

Blessings,

Teresa

Anonymous said...

One thing I have always done is start my shopping for the next year the day after Christmas. I try to seek out "bargains" and keep them in a stash I learned to keep as a newlywed, when things were tight. I have depended on this stash many times when the money ran out. I have never quit doing it and it has come in handy many times. This year, however, I have also added homemade goodies to the stash. I will make things personalized for family memebers and cut out the "extras" for others. I think we all need to step back and think about the reason for the season and quit trying to out do everyone with our gifts. The economy is tight and it will not get better immediately. Practicing a little frugality will be good for all of us. Thanks for making us stop and think and what awesome blog candy to boot!

Cindi
cindi.albrightson@gmail.com

julialynn said...

Please enter me in the contest.

I am trying to save as much as possible, using coupons getting tips online as to the best deals on stuff I need, not buying anything unless I really need it.. As for Christmas, I will be looking for good sales, and only buying a few gifts apiece for my four children, other family members will get them a gift toom so I dont need to go all out. Which is a good idea, b/c even if I wanted to I can't afford it.

SequoiaLynn said...

Instead of our normal gift exchange we are just going to have a huge dinner for the family. This is great news since I gained 5 nieces and 1 nephew this year. :) Maybe with this small change we can be reminded what the real reason for the season is. :)

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