It's Time to Deck the Halls.

gift guide, holidaysVirginia Hart1 Comment
Christmas is 45 days away.


Ok, let's all have a little freak-out session together. SCREAM!

Feel better? Yeah me neither.

Maybe this will help. Real Simple Magazine offers a Holiday Savings Plan in attempt to keep us all from spazzing out too much. Here are some of their/my/others' ideas:

1. Make a list. (lists are your friend, remember?)

2. Set dollar limits.

3. Don't forget about all the nongift expenses. (such as entertaining, a festive new top for holiday pictures,....booze....)

4. Coordinate group trips for holiday travel to cut back on expenses.

5. Avoid booking fees by purchasing flights on actual airline websites.

6. If you need a rental, do a little research and rent a car from a local agency for a better price.

7. Use ca$h. According to, consumers spend 30% more on purchases they charge than if they use cash.

8. Check out for online coupons. The website offers you cash back via PayPal when you make purchases with listed vendors.

9. Magically regift. If you have an unused giftcard collecting dust in your wallet and you want to exchange it for another store (Grandpa Joe miiiiight not know what to do with $20 at American Eagle), go to and put your giftcard towards another retailer for only a $4 fee.

10. Get one big family gift. Are you a parent? Feeling the pressure to buy out Toys"R"Us? In lieu of a bunch of little gifts, get one big gift like a vacation for the upcoming year. You can even get the kids excited by getting them something to use on the trip.

11. Have a bunch of unused frequent-flyer miles? But not enough to actually treat someone to a trip? Bump them up to first class for a leg of their already-booked upcoming travel.

12. Group gifts. Let's say your best friends/relatives have a family of five and they want to go to the Bronx Zoo. That's $63 for ONE visit. You can buy them an annual membership that includes 16 passes plus store/restaurant discounts for $120.

13. Not sure the cheapest way to mail those large cumbersome boxes to your relatives in Timbuktu? Check out which compares prices for FedEx, DHL, UPS, and the post office.

14. Make sure you're up-to-date on all your reimbursements. Is that work expense report from July still lying around? Send it in and use that money towards buying gifts!

15. Homemade gifts. (I would share what I've been up to, but my gift-recipients might be reading. Y'all are just gonna have to wait!) Do you have a ton of pictures from events this past year? Put them to use! My coworker, Nichole, makes yearly calendars for her family members on Shutterfly. You can also use Kodak's website. Each month in the upcoming year will feature a great family photo. Now that's pretty darn cute.

16. Decorate cheaply. Fill jars with holiday candy. You can even string popcorn and cranberries (my contribution as a wonder I can sit for hours and hours working on tedious projects). Take glass canisters and punch bowls and fill them with glass balls from your ornament collection. (I'll give my mother credit for that one.) I suggest purchasing a spray-can of gold paint. Go to town on some pine cones from the yard to make a fabulous centerpiece! Sadly, I don't have a yard let alone a neighboring pinetree. Hmph.

17. Wrap-it-up! Hit up that neighborhood restaurant or bar for their free coasters and use them as gift tags. Get the kiddies involved. Wrap presents in white poster paper and give 'em some Crayolas.

18. Having a "shoot-she-got-me-a-present-and-I-got-nada-for-her" moment? Try The recipient can choose where to use the gift. I always think nice candles or homemade jams/jellies are nice gifts too. Maybe stock up on a couple of these "suitable-for-many" gifts just in case you forget someone on your Nice list this year.

19. Get someone a magazine subscription. What's better than a gift that keeps on giving? 12 times?! Real Simple is currently offering a 2-for-1 gift special. Get 2 subscriptions with 12 issues each for you and a loved-one for only $23.88!

20. Have fun with it. Giving should be the best part of the season.

Oh and if you're thinking about dragging your beau along for a little holiday shopping, read this. You might reconsider.

Why o' why does this sound like something my fella would do? Wink.
Happy Holiday Preparations!

.......And yes, I realize I kinda just skipped over Thankgiving all-together. To be honest, I can't really relate to a normal Thanksgiving since ours involves over twenty people, a talent show and perhaps even an award ceremony. Yes.

until next time,