lights

I spent so much time organizing the house that Christmas became a bit of an after thought. With the big day approaching I buckled down, bought gifts and checked off names on our rather short list. So far I’ve managed to keep the costs to a minimum. While I didn’t shop on Black Friday I did visit a local toy shop on Small Business Saturday to take advantage of the American Express $30 promotion. The toy shop offered a 20% discount and American Express provided up to three $10 statement credits for purchasing $10 or more from a local business on that day. I bought three toys, each at just over $10, and received an immediate email notification that all three purchases qualified. After tax I paid just $3.89 for three quality products and supported a small business in my community!

I also used a combination of coupons and Yes2You rewards from Kohl’s to purchase gifts for my niece and nephew. I bought five toys discounted at 50% off and beat even the lowest Amazon prices. A few of these gifts will be wrapped and saved as birthday gifts. Our baby is due right around the time of their birthdays and while I’m not sure we’ll attend the celebrations I do want to have gifts on hand for them. While I have a few months to purchase gifts I’m not certain I can beat the incredibly low holiday prices. Kohl’s has a killer return policy they’ll sill have plenty of time to return anything they don’t like.

For the past three years my husband and I have focused on experiences over presents and purchased just two Christmas gifts for my son. This year his primary gift will be a LeapFrog LeapReader that I purchased just after his birthday. It was on sale for $31.99 and included a free set of books that currently retails for $9.99.

I’m afraid to admit that the deeply discounted Amazon deals convinced me to buy a few additional items, but after coming to my senses I offered those gifts to my parents. My folks weren’t exactly sure what to buy our son so I decided to give them the ones I purchased. They refused to accept them for free and wrote me a check for the exact amount I spent. It was actually a great solution. They didn’t have to spend any time in stores searching for presents and I feel good knowing they bought the items at unbelievably good prices. In fact, this worked out so well I may do it for the next holiday season.

I’m happy to report that I also convinced my parents not to buy too many presents this year. I told them my son is just as thrilled with the idea of a gift than the gift itself and suggested wrapping snacks and bubble bath in favor of expensive items. They decided to contribute the money they would have spent to his 529 plan.

In general we cut back on giving gifts to the adults in our lives, which means we have fewer presents to buy. I made a free photo calendar for my grandmother and uncle thanks to the Pampers Gifts to Grow Program. I also used gift cards to buy a number of gifts for my mom as well as gifts for my son’s preschool teachers. Speaking of preschool teachers I spent a good deal of time writing quality thank you/holiday cards for them. Tears welled up in my eyes when I wrote of my son’s first few days of school and I hope that they enjoy reading those letters as much as I enjoyed writing them.

My Christmas shopping is now complete. I need to wrap a few remaining presents in holiday paper and a few more in brightly colored birthday designs. Then I can officially sit back and enjoy the holidays!

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