Monday, November 1, 2010

Frugal and Fun HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING ideas for your Family

With the holidays coming, what do you do to stay in budget?  Wait a minute, let me rephrase that question, do you have a budget for holiday entertaining?  Or shall we say first, do you entertain for the holidays?

Our family is huge into entertaining - actually, we do it year round for any event we can think of celebrating, though the holidays are huge entertaining opportunities for us.  Plus, we love being surrounded by our family and friends.

Frugal and Fun ideas for your Family to entertain this holiday season include:
  • Make gifts.  This is something our children love to do.  Ornaments are always a good idea to do.  They are frugal, fun and festive.  An ornament our kids make every year to attach to gifts (or cards) are candy cane ornaments.  These are made by using pipe cleaners and beads.  The beads can be assorted colors, or red/white; green/white, etc.  Pipe cleaners can be purchased in bulk at the Dollar Store and beads can be purchased at your local craft store using 50% off coupons. 
  • Scope out the internet for FREE holiday cards/photos.  Tons of photo sites offer FREE prints throughout the year.  The internet is your friend.  Surf it yearly.  It is never too early to order free photos.  These can be given as Holiday cards.
  • Send invitations out for FREE.  Through Evite, this is a free site that has a variety of invitations for all types of parties, gatherings, celebrations; you just need to add the details.  This is completely free - no signing up for anything, just your evite account.
  • Shop after the holiday.  I buy at the end of the previous holiday for extra savings.  This is a huge savings for my family.  Last year, I ended up buying quality plastic holiday dishes for $.25 each.  Considering my husband is the youngest of 5 boys, all married with kids, my father-in-law, together with extended family, friends and my family all coming for Christmas Eve.  It is a huge celebration for us.  I have, in the past, used paper products.  While they are great as there is no clean-up, just think of the cost you are spending?  Everything adds up.  Since this is a celebration we host every year, it was cost-efficient for me to purchase multiples of plastic plates so we can wash (thank goodness I have a dishwasher) and re-use for years to come.  And, it is one less thing I have to worry about getting for my party.
  • Have a cookie party with 10 of your friends.  This is something I have done in the past and the amount and assortment of cookies you come home with is perfect for any centerpiece for holiday entertaining.  Firstly, someone has to host the party, basically opening up their house for a party with yummy treats.  Each person makes 1 dozen cookies for each person, so say you wanted to make Chocolate Chip cookies, you would make 10 dozen cookies, separated by 1 dozen and packaged separately.  At the conclusion of the party, you will be going home with 10 dozen different cookies.  I use these for my centerpiece and to give to my neighbors as gifts - which they love.  Have your kids help make the cookies - a fun, frugal and festive idea.
  • Decorate with what you have.  I always have colored construction paper on hand.  It is a staple ingredient in our home.  Do you remember growing up making paper trains with construction paper?  Well I do and it is something I have taught my children to do and is something we do as a family every year.  We do red and green, alternating by color, then when finished we surround the inside windows with them.  Giving a festive, free, fun and frugal holiday decoration.
  • Wrap all pictures in our home.  Again, buy wrapping paper at the end of the previous season for inexpensive adecorating nd wrap your pictures for added festiveness. 
  • Help cook.  Since our family is so big, everyone helps by making something to eat and bringing it over.  Never, ever, ever, feel ashamed to ask to bring something, or if you are hosting a get together, never feel embarrassed to ask family members to bring something.  Holidays are a time for giving, remember that.  This way there are plenty of options and variety to eat and less out of pocket expense for you.
A few other gift ideas I have done for the kids in my family are:
Make blankets.  I purchase the fabric throughout the year, during sales and coupon promotions for extra savings, make them at that time, and do not have to worry at the last minute or stress about what to get that person.

Last year I did movie buckets.  What a fabulous and frugal idea.  I purchased the popcorn buckets at Walmarts, added a movie from Amazon (great prices) and added candy, a soda and a movie ticket.  The movie ticket I was able to get through a friend who gets discounted tickets, candy was on sale, and of course, I had coupons, soda was also on sale with coupons.  The kids loved this gift, it was personalized to their choice of movie and it was frugal and fun.

Beauty in a Bag.  I have teenage nieces in our family and boy are they hard to buy for.  This year is going to be a fun year for me.  Throughout the year I sign up for "trial size freebies", and never know what to do with them.  I have a bin at home of my "free" things.  While you may say, wow, she is cheap, I will disagree.  I am wise!  Think of how awesome and filled their "Beauty in a Bag" gifts will be?  What an assortment of different beauty products each one will get.  From make-up, to skin products, to hair car, to anything and everything beauty.  Now that's frugal, fun and family!

What do you do for the holidays?  I would love to hear.

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1 comment:

Rebekah said...

I love the movie bucket idea! I always have the hardest time thinking of presents to give. Thank you for the helpful suggestions.