Tightwad Christmas Tips

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Many have e-mailed me that they miss the tightwad tips threads, so I thougt I would start one on Christmas today. I will try to add to it daily, and you all can put your tips on as well.

Mine is for wrapping paper! Use anything you can get for free or low cost to wrap your gifts. I must tell you I used to purchse wrapping paper after Christmas for a really cheap price, then few years ago I just didn't make it out to get any, and when I went to purchase some at the regular price, I was stunned at how expensive it was, and how little the rolls were! I do buy some at the Dollar Tree Store for the kids to use for teacher gifts, and friends (they are embarassed by my way of doing it!!)

I wrap in brown paper sacks decorated with cut out cards, I use old paper I rescue from the trash when my family comes at Christmas time. I use gift-bags and boxes over and over. I use that paper you can get from the newspapers, and have the kids color designs. I use tissue paper for years, have some I have used for 6 years now! I use small white trash bags, that I decorate with bright colorful ribbon, that I also save. I use paper lunch sacks, you can get these in white sometimes. This past year when cleaning in the building that our library is in, I found a stack of gray paper about 2 feet wide and 4 feet long. There were 750 sheets, wrapped in a plastic package. Thre is no way I will ever use that much gray paper for pre-schoolers, and the director said I could have all I wanted (to use personally) so I might use a few sheets of this and decorate it some way for gifts!

Some people make cloth bags, but I have never done this yet. sometimes you don't need to wrap, if you can find a neat basket to put the gift in.

Well that is my tip, feel free to add yours on as well!

-- Melissa (cmnorris@1st.net), November 11, 2001


When the kids were little I wrapped gifts in the colored funny papers from the Sunday newspaper. Now days you could even kipe the funnies out of the recycling sheds the previous month. Free and colorful and the kids liked to reread the funnies themselves before thy were disposed of in the wood stove to start the morning fire.

-- Sandra Nelson (Magin@starband.net), November 11, 2001.

One year my sister took regular gift boxes and put sticky wrap (like contact paper) all over the lids. She decorated them beautifully. Everyone that recieved one was told to please reuse it. Well now some 15 years later there are still a few hanging around, my family gets a big kick out of still using them. I think they would be fun to make with older kids.

-- Nancy (graf_nan@hotmail.com), November 11, 2001.

Try and see if you can buy small, light presents. This is so when re- using paper you will have enough from your collection. Also if presents have to be posted then they won@t cost as much to send.

My mother-in-laws' birthday is in the second week of January. We always go up to visit her then, along with all the other children and their families. As we see none of the others before Christmas (we live too far away) we are able to buy all of the presents in the post Christmas sales.

To spread the cost of Christmas we buy a few special things each week during the year. We start with the crackers that go on sale in January and add presents, etc as we go in the year.

My in laws are quite hard to buy for as they never really want anything. They aren't rich just satisfied with their lot. Every year we make them up a hamper with the same things in. This may be predictable but it is still really appreciated. We put bubble bath, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, tooth brushes,socks, tights, shortbread biscuits, chocolate covered almonds, fudge, a couple of books and lots of love.

We have also used this hamper idea, using household cleaning materials, dusters, t cloths, dishcloths, washing up liquid, scourers herbs and spices and other pantry staples for wedding presents.

These hampers may not look as posh as some presents but they are a darn sight more useful.

In His service


-- Alison Homa (alisonhoma@aol.com), November 11, 2001.

I was in a bargin store about 2 years ago and they had rolls of wall paper for .10 up to 1.00. These were the big rolls and very pretty. There wasn't enough to do anything,so I guess they were just clearing off shelves. I am still using this for wrapping. I also cover the boxes and lids for reuse and they wipe clean and will more than likely last forever!!!

-- Micheale from SE Kansas (mbfrye@totelcsi.net), November 11, 2001.

Here are some ideas for parents and grandparents who are difficult to buy for: How about washing and detail cleaning the out and in side of their cars? As our parents have gotten older we have bought them ergonomic tools that have helped. They are not disabled, but everyone has a low period, or time when their back is out, etc..These are things like rakes that fold and hold the leaves to put in a bag and bag holders so they can do the leaf raking without a partner. Grabbers that pick things that have fallen on the floor.

Something that gets used every day is an upright dustbin that can be used without bending.

We have given donations in their name. We have given some of their favorite things to eat. We have given tickets to plays or events that we can go to as a family. How about offering to install a cabinet under their dryer so they don't have to bend to get the clothes out of the dryer.

We have given trees and fruit trees and fruit bushes (and planted them at appropriate times). We gave them a single page copier which has come in very handy since they are retired and need to copy medicare bills often.

As for wrapping: I know I've said this before, but I wash and turn chip bags inside out and make into gift bags. They are silver and reflect the christmas lights very nicely.

I am making simple gift bags out of the old christmas dresses that don't fit and are too out of date to sell at consignment (or have stains somewhere).

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), November 12, 2001.

Save your scraps of paper too small to do anything else with and any paper that has been recycled to long and is too sad to be used again this year. Put those through a paper shredder and use the shredded stuff as filler in gift bags, baskets or in place of tissue paper in boxes!

Another frugal gift idea: People are ALWAYS loaded with homemade goodies around the holidays. They get sick of the goodies long before the goodies are gone! Instead of giving baked things for Christmas, give the item "ready to bake". Like for example, I'm giving lots of people "ready to bake" cookies. I froze cookie dough in cookie sized balls on a baking sheet. Drop them in a ziploc bag (during the holidays they have them with holiday designs -- use a coupon!!!) and TA DA! The recipient will appreciate the fact that they are homemade and they can use them after the holidays whenever they are ready for cookies again!! The bonus with this is that lately I have been freezing the last few cookies from each batch I make so I won't have to kill myself making double batches of cookie dough when I have other things going on!

-- Amy (amya@cstone.net), November 12, 2001.

Hi, We have a church Home Group at our house and at Christmas we have a party, the last few years we have done the "White Elephant" game. It's fun and very frugal. You bring something from home and wrap it, the odder the better. Lots of fun. Another tip which is good all year long, but maybe people don't know is freeze cut up celery and onion it's ready for stuffing or soup. With so many things on sale now is a good time to stock up. Flour can be frozen, as well as chips{all kinds} and butter. When you have all those left overs, make your own homemade TV dinners, We put dressing on the bottom,potatos on the side, turkey and cover with gravy. The gravy keeps it moist. We fix these and a can of cranberry sauce and taste good as the day we made it. Christmas eve is our family get together and we pick a theme for our food and everyone brings a dish and dessert. Fun evening for everyone. This year will be Mexican.

-- Jo (farmerjo@kvalley.com), November 15, 2001.

Get an end-of-the-roll of newsprint from the local paper. Stamp with cut sponges dipped in paint, colour with marker or crayon, use stencils, or leave plain. Tie with yarn or ribbon scraps.

Wrap a gift with something everyone can use: towels. I got a couple of wedding gifts this way.

My grandma had a box of wrapping paper that she saved for use year after year.

Gift tags can be made from scraps of construction paper or old Christmas cards.

You could also make personalized tree ornaments to use as gift tags.

Is there anybody out there who has NOT used a paper-clip, unbent to the s-shape, as an ornament hanger? We have even used twisties for this purpose.

Melt candle stubs down to make new candles. Save the wax from drippy candles for the same purpose.

-- Cathy N. (keeper8@attcanada.ca), November 15, 2001.

Amy, I need to be near you......I NEVER get sick of the goodies before they are gone.. :>). I use brown bags for wrapping and stamp them with Christmas type stamping (also do that for other occasions with appropriate stamps) I love to do gift boxes filled with things that I have made. I make them specific to the family or individual. My son-in-law loves apple butter so I give him several jars in his box. A son loves my home made pickles so he gets several different kinds in his box. I knit dish cloths all year long and they make wonderful gifts for ladies at church or the daughters.

-- diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), November 16, 2001.

I was all set to mention running bits & pieces of wrapping paper through the paper shredder until I read that Amy already used that one! Where do you think she got that (and the frozen cookie dough idea) from. That's right. From me!! I'm her Mom (and darned proud of it, too.) She's just about the most frugal person I know (and I taught her everything I know). A few years ago, she made me the best gift tags from old Christmas cards and after unwrapping gifts, I retrieve those gift tags and have re-used them for several years.

Keep up the good work, sweetie. I love you.

Wishing you enough.

-- Trevilians (aka Dianne in Mass) (Trevilians@mediaone.net), November 16, 2001.

Oh, did I forget to give Mom the credit for those GREAT ideas?? Sorry, they were great ideas weren't they?? I did give you credit for the best homemade gift I ever got though!! Love you too!


-- Amy (amya@cstone.net), November 16, 2001.

Yes, dear, and one of the best tips I gave you was to check out this forum. This is quickly becoming my favorite place.

Love, Mom

-- Trevilians (aka Dianne in Mass) (Trevilians@mediaone.net), November 17, 2001.

Collect pinecones, I sprayed mine with gold spray, but in big basket with a nice gold or red plaid bow. Sit next to fire place or on a table. Looks really expense.

-- Jo (farmerjo@kvalley.com), November 21, 2001.

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