Friday, November 19, 2010

Frugal Christmas: The Great Stocking Debate

“…. And the stockings were hung
by the mantel with care….”


I must say that I was little shocked to hear from a few friends that their families no longer “do” stockings for Christmas….
What? No stockings?
Too much work…. said one.
Too expensive…. said another.
Others nodding in agreement….
Hmm.
When I was growing up our stockings weren’t filled with little gifts but with candy….
But I don’t do it that way now…. We have wooden shoes passed down from my grandmother that we fill with candies….
The stockings are filled with small gifts
And an orange and a penny…. This a tradition from Mr. Steady’s family.
The penny is either brand sparkly new or from the year of that child’s birth….
Or as Mr. Steady did for me one year…. From the year of our wedding.

Now a dear friend of mine has a different stocking tradition with her family….
Cards.
Each person in the family…. Even the baby…. Makes a card for each family member. The only rule is that each and every card must be hand made. They are a family of seven and creativity is key. Cards include handwritten I love yous, bits of encouragement and remembrances from that year….
What a treasure.
And NO COST.
Stocking stuffers that only cost time and bits of materials from the craft bin.
We like their idea but so far continue with our own….

I pick up bits and pieces from the Dollar Store and Target’s dollar bin beginning in about September.

Emery boards, hand cream, chapstick, hair ties, fancy soaps, funky socks, nail polish, note cards and such for my girls….

Hot wheels, a homemade sling-shot, small Lego kits and a beanie baby (both from Goodwill!), boyish good smelling soap (a trial size of his daddy’s soap which he loves), a small wooden top, bag of jacks for my boy….

For all 3’s stockings: a favorite toothpaste and new toothbrush

For my man…. A bag of homemade trail mix, his favorite manly soap, a Sudoku book, canned oysters (the only time of year I purchase these for the man), a jar of his favorite olives….

What I find in my stocking…. My favorite trail mix, bath salts (sometimes store bought sometimes homemade), mittens (because I always seem to lose mine), my favorite chapstick, a set of note cards, flavored tea bags, trial sized bag of gourmet coffee….

My girls will probably always be this easy to buy for and I’m wondering if some day it will prove a bit trickier to find nifty yet thrifty things for my son…. but for now this works for us rather well. I end up, on average, spending $7-8 per stocking for the four of them. Mr. Steady fills my stocking and sometimes he goes overboard…..

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