Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Christmas Crafts & Cheap Ideas

I have always been one to plan ahead and hit the after season clearance isles with the next event or two in mind. For example, this past year knowing I had a couple milestone birthdays coming up, I hit the after Halloween clearance and picked up black plastic tablecloths for 50 cents each. When my brother turned 40 I used the tablecloths at his party. I picked up pink and red tablecloths after Valentine's Day for 35 cents each. Part of the pink ones I used for my Granddaughter's birthday. I cut several of them in lengthwise strips to use to tie big bows around all the trees in her front yard, and at the park around the pavilion poles. We covered the tables in pink too! The red tablecloths go with just about any child birthday theme such as Superman, Spiderman, Spongebob, etc. so they were for my Grandson's party.

I had enough pink table cloths that I used them later at a baby girl shower. We had the baby shower at another park pavilion. We took clothesline and tied across the pavilion from pole to pole. Then used clothespins to hang baby onesies on the clothesline. It was just the cutest decoration and gifts to the mom to be after the shower. This same idea can be used indoors by hanging the clothesline on walls. So, after the next holiday think about what you might have coming up in the next several months and buy the stuff at half price or less! Not just the tablecloths...also plates, napkins, cups, decorations...just plan ahead.

Since it is already August it is time to start thinking about how to make inexpensive Christmas gifts. My grandchildren have always taken a small present for each child in their class, and a gift for the teacher. Teachers do not need something that they cannot use, so one of my favorite "teacher gifts" get a kitchen whisk, wrapped candy (peppermints or candy kisses or sugar free), plastic wrap (colored is neat), piece of ribbon and a gift card to write on. Take the kitchen whisk and poke the candy through the wires into the middle of the whisk until it is full. Then use a piece of plastic wrap to gather up around the bottom of the whisk to hold the candy inside. Use the ribbon to tie the plastic wrap around the handle of the whisk. Write on the card "WE WHISK YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS" and attach it to the ribbon. After Christmas the teacher has a kitchen utensil to use all year. 

Another easy gift for teachers or co-workers is to get individual packages of microwave popcorn bought in bulk if you want to lower the cost. Wrap with Christmas paper and affix a label you have printed with "JUST POPPIN' TO TELL YOU MERRY CHRISTMAS". You could also use Christmas stationery and use the computer to print the words direct to the page before wrapping around the popcorn package.

A really cheap Christmas gift to make for the kids to give classmates is a Christmas Ornament. I have used red plastic ball ornaments, a paint pen, and Christmas ribbon. Just take the plastic ball ornament (not glass so it is safe) and print From: Your Child's Name and the year on the bottom side of the ball. Tie the ribbon in a nice bow on the top and you are done. I have also used gold plastic ball ornaments and a red sharpie pen. All the other children think it is neat to have a new ornament to put on their home tree. If you have the access it is even better to have each classmates name and write TO: --- FROM: --- Year on the bulbs. Of course I have always had a couple dozen plastic ball ornaments on the shelf I purchased the year before for less than half price. Even at regular price you can get 24 balls for under $5. I purchase Christmas ribbon on clearance and get several spools that are solid color to use for non-Christmas needs.

Always plan ahead and not only do you save money, it is less stressful when the time comes to use the items you have on hand.

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