Good morning! It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here, because we finally have some snow! We went around town last night looking at all the lights and figuring out which house we wanted to vote for in the Christmas lighting contest. It was snowing while we were out, which made the lights seem even more beautiful. Both of our boys loved it, and it was a perfect pre-Christmas evening activity. We have plans to go check out a light display in the larger town nearby soon, and our son checked a Christmas movie out of the library yesterday, which we’re going to watch together this evening. Maybe with some hot chocolate. So lots of seasonal fun going on around here, and we’re keeping it simple, mostly free, and focused on family fun rather than stuff.
We did buy our older son one toy for Christmas. It’s a round house for his train set. I found it for $30 on Amazon, which seemed like a bargain compared with the “official” Thomas round-houses. The one we got is made of wood and gets good reviews, and I’m sure our son will be thrilled with it. He’s been wanting one for well over a year now, but the train sets we’ve bought haven’t included one.
For our younger son, I’m taking our older son to Goodwill on Friday so that he can pick out a present for his brother. That way they’ll each get a present, but our older son will also get the fun of giving as well as receiving.
Our holiday will be simple and fun, as usual. We’ll be spending the weekend leading up to it working on our basement, although we’ll probably spend Christmas Day playing with the kiddos instead of working. We don’t have a tree this year. We decided that it would probably be more stressful than fun with a 1 year old, so we lighted up an outdoor tree instead. Both boys love the outdoor tree; we go out to look at it most evenings, and we can see if from the window of our son’s bedroom too. Definitely glad we made that decision, although it will be fun to go back to the indoor tree again next year.
I wanted to share a few good posts that I’ve found recently, and to wish you all a very wonderful holiday weekend!
The Minimalist Mom wrote a great piece on quelling gift frenzy in kids. We’ve been setting expectations for our low-gift Christmas with our son all fall, so he’s excited about the few things he’ll get (Grandma always sends a box of stuff) but not overly-so. For us, right now, it’s a perfect balance.
This one is from November, but I just discovered it and wanted to share it with you so that you can plan ahead for next year (I’ve already put a reminder in my Google calendar). Mile Bucket explains Small Business Saturday from American Express. We have two AmEx cards (one from Costco and one from Fidelity that gives us 2% back on all purchases, deposited directly into an IRA), but I wasn’t aware of this promotion. Next year, we’ll sign them both up. There are several small businesses – some right here in our little town – where I could spend those credits, and I’m sure a lot of you could too. If you have an AmEx, make a reminder for yourself to do this next year.
This is just a heads up about a great deal… One of my favorite online food retailers, The Raw Food World, is running a coupon until the end of December, for 17.5% off anything in the store except appliances. The coupon code is Holiday18. (they have a coupon for 12% off select appliances that you can use if you want. it’s Holiday12). I order stuff from their “at cost specials” nearly every month, and the 17.5% coupon can be used on those products too. If you want to get fancy health-food stuff like mesquite powder (on sale right now, I just got mine last week), fair trade cocoa, kelp noodles, etc., now is a great time to do so. That’s my affiliate link to their site, so I do get a small commission if you use it (thank you!). But I shop there all the time myself, and can honestly recommend it as one of my favorite stores.
This homemade lotion/diaper rash cream from Penniless Parenting looks awesome! Now I just need to find some plantain. Not sure if I recognize that plant as one that grows in our yard (and nothing is growing under the snow right now anyway…), but I’m saving that post for future reference and I thought some of you might like it too.
And if you’re looking for a little inspiration for homemade, DIY, frugal ideas, the latest Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways will keep you going for hours. Enjoy!
Happy Holidays, from our family to yours!