Nov 15, 2008

MomDot Blog Party - Day 3

It's DAY THREE of the MomDot Christmas Blog Party!! Today is sponsored by Appledonia, Hippos Toes, and My Bag.

OK, OK....I know I'm a little behind on the Blog Partying. Blame the Powers that stole my old blog site!!! :)

If you don't already know, there's a big bloggy love-in going on over at MomDot from Nov 12th-Nov 27th! You can read up on the fine details HERE, but in true Dottie fashion this blog party involves two things - giving linky love to other blogs, and PRIZES :)

Friday was officially Day 3 of the party, so I missed the first two days. But since I'm loathe to leave out any juicy details, I'll do an abridged version of the first two...

Day 1 - Introduce your family, share a past holiday photo
This is an easy one. My happy household consists of DH, myself, and the Boy Wonder, currently checking in at 20 months old but he thinks he's one of the big kids. Both of us come from families that get a little nutty about Christmas :)

Here are a couple of pics from last Christmas, BW's first!

Day 2 - Talk about your family's holiday traditions
Well, as mentioned before, we are Christmas-holics that come from a long line of Christmas-holics. There has to be a support group somewhere for us. My tree goes up the weekend after Thanksgiving and sometimes comes down by the end of January. I had one tree that finally met the curb just before St Patrick's day.

We are still figuring out how to meld our Christmasy superpowers...but here's a favorite tradition from each side of our family that we are carrying on to our kids:

- From DH's side, the "fantasy" christmas list. Every year, each person makes out their wish list to post on my mother-in-law's fridge. The list does always include a few actual gift wishes, but the bulk of the lists are for "fantasy" gifts. Sometimes they are poignant items (end to the war in the Middle East, help for the needy)...but often the items are truly ridiculous. Last year my brother in law asked for the keys to Gillette Stadium. My sister in law wanted a swimming pool full of orange Skittles. I asked for a Llama. :-)

- From my side, the Christmas morning stocking. This was a ploy by my mom to earn her a few extra minutes of sleep on Christmas morning. As kids, we knew that we had to get right to sleep because Santa didn't just leave presents under the tree, he brought our stockings from the mantle and laid them at the foot of our bed. I can still remember getting excited when I first woke up to feel something heavy on my feet and realizing it wasn't the cat :) There were always little toys, treats, a piece of fruit to eat before breakfast, and usually something that my brothers and I could do together - like puzzle books or little games. We used to gather in one of our bedrooms and compare our loot. Truly good times :)

Day 3 - Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Do you budget for the holidays? Do you always stick to your budget? Share with us any budgeting tips you may have!

I don't look forward to Christmas shopping. Any other time of the year, I can troll the malls with the best of them...but come the holidays I would rather poke myself in the eye with a rabid weasel than go near the shopping hotspots. My sister in law is the quintessential holiday shopper, she starts planning her Black Friday purchases as soon as the flyers come out. She gets up at 3AM to be first in line at the store. I wish I had that kind of gusto, but it's just not my game.

A few years back, I made a couple of changes to my holiday shopping habits:
- I come up with one homemade gift idea that can be given to all of the adult members of our families. I personalize the individual gifts along the way, but I decide on one base project. I have done cookie mix/brownie mix jars, soup mix jars, crocheted hat and mitten sets, herb-infused olive oil in decorative bottles. I start gathering supplies after Labor Day and chip away at the projects through November. By Christmas I'm good to go.
- I shop at thrift stores and consignment shops for toys wherever I can. The thrift stores here don't get into as much of the Christmas hype and I always find a wealth of stuff for the wee ones. We also make sure to donate back at least one toy for each one we are buying for our little guy. I do look out for stuff at yard sales over the summer too, I've come across unexpected prizes many times...the biggest challenge with yard sale holiday shopping is STORING it until Christmas!
- For those gifts that I just can't get at the thrift store, I online shop. Around this time of year, most online retailers do free shipping deals, and it's pretty easy to find discount codes. A few of my favorite code sites are Retail Me Not and DealCatcher. This year I am going to give eBates a try, they give you a percentage back on your online shopping AND you can use discount codes.

We try to budget for about $50 per family that we're buying for, and $50 for our own kiddo. Hubby and I exchange one gift with each other, and we use some of our Christmas budget to pay for our annual trip to the NY Comic Convention :) Most of the time I'm pretty well under that budget, because I make so much myself and shop secondhand. I also don't have teenage children in the house! My condolences to the parents of older kids...I hope that Best Buy is good to all of you this year :)

Be sure to check out the other posts for Day 3 of MomDot's Blog Party!!


Tracye said...

wow. you have some really great ideas! you wanna do my shopping for me? ;)

Proud Mommy said...

I also am doing homemade gifts this year. I prefer to receive a homemade gift, we'll see how others feel!!!

Tena said...

after you finish shopping for Tracye it's my turn! Good job getting all of that in one post!
Happy Holidays, ready or not here they come!

P.S. Was wondering when your site was going to be up again

Felicia said...

What an adorable family... I love it! You have ANOTHER award LOL! I posted it today (Sunday the 16th). Sorry I am lame and do not provide a perma link.

Staci said...

Beautiful photos! I love the fantasy list, very fun!

Great tips on shopping, the computer is definitely my friend this time of year. I cringe at the thought of crowds.

Keely said...

Christmassy superpowers, hahahhha. Nerd.

I do 75% of my shopping online. It probably makes thrifty people get extra grey hair, but I cannot stand going christmas shopping.

Erin Tales said...

I was so curious how you did Xmas shopping! And your family is gorgeous!!

Erin Tales said...

You got a little buzz for your new look at Ohana Mama.

Momstart said...

Your family is so cute, I can't believe I haven't commented on any of your days. Where have I been. Probably chasing my kids around the house.