Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our Charlie Brown Christmas

I called this year a Charlie Brown Christmas. Money was almost nonexistent. We pulled out our quite small fake tree and I let Carly and Caden decorate it. I have never been a "professional decorator" type. I've always wanted my tree to reflect a little bit of all of us. There are ornaments that reflect my husband, like multiple sports themed ones and a jeep. Those, I don't love. In fact, those are the ones I wish I could lose, but in the grand scheme of things . . . I don't care. If it makes the kids happy putting them up and driving me nuts. Its cute that they put this big ugly eagle on a football at the top and front of the tree. By big, I mean grapefruit big. Seriously.
Then there are the ornaments I bought the kids year after year that remind me of them. All of the bells remind me of my little girl, along with a few ladies that hang on the tree. Then there are the cute little wooden ornaments that remind me of Cade. And many ornaments that are Jason's - mostly airplanes and some hockey or baseball characters, and Peter Pan. I think that may be his favorite too.
Then there are things that make me happy. I love ornaments that look like candy. I don't know why, it just seems whimsical and child-like. Lollipops & rock candy among my favorite. I also love my ornaments that look old and in your basic red & tan colors and are fabric, wood, or metal.
Carly calls it an I SPY tree. So this year it became a game.
"I spy 15 Santa Clauses"
"I spy -- snowmen"
"There are 3 new ornaments, what are they?"
I feel much better about the chaotic display on my tree now. It is interesting and colorful and full of things that make each person happy. How could I not love it? I laugh to myself and think that it looks like Happiness threw up all over the tree. This year, as Christmas day went on, it got more and more filled up. Every bow that could be saved ended up on the tree too. It is also now full of envelopes and "coupon" books.
Which brings me back to Charlie Brown Christmas. I challenged all of the kids to think of 4 things they could do for each other and make coupons. Carly thought of making each coupon a punch card with 3 punches. Both she and Caden made coupon books with a total of 12 coupons. They listed things like, "Make a treat for me," "Leave me alone," & "Play a game with me." Jason didn't partake in this, but he picked out great gifts for his siblings. They took thought and were very loved upon opening.
Jay and I also contributed coupon books for each child.
Some of the coupons were:
1 itunes song download
lunch date with mom/dad
driving lesson (for Jason)
girls/guys day out
help clean my room

I am hoping that this will actually save us money in the long run. The kids ask for lunch out every time we leave the house. Now I will ask them if they will be willing to turn in their coupon for it. Because there are only 3 of them in their pack, they may realize that it is not that important to head over for fast or deli food. The same goes for iTunes. They are always asking to buy a song or download an app. I know I could just buy them gift cards, but that comes out of my account anyway. And it is tough keeping track of who has used up what when I enter them all into the same iTunes account. This way, I can ask them how important it is for them to have this song. Are they willing to use one of their coupons for it? They each got 4 of those.

It is important that we get down and dirty with this frugal lifestyle we should be living. We should not be sacrificing good meals just to purchase things we can do without.

Which brings me to my eBay infatuation. I love shopping for brand name clothes for the kids on eBay. I have been able to get Carly some great stuff. She loves watching the mail for her "new" clothes. She is really good about passing on her old stuff too so she never has too much sitting around here. She has been growing so much lately, really filling out, so she has gone from an 8/10 to a 10/12. I even had to get her a new coat because her arms were getting too long for her favorite green Columbia. But we grabbed a black Old Navy coat for $25.00. SO HAPPY about the price and she got an adorable hat and scarf that match perfect from Grandma Trish for Christmas.

I have tried to buy Jason clothes on eBay too. He isn't fond of used clothes but I don't care. Carly and Caden got him a great new Hollister shirt there and he loves it. I make sure that the items I bid on never cost more that comparable item would cost new. If I get a t-shirt, it better not be more than 6 dollars including shipping.

But BUT but, I need to stop looking for good deals now because we don't need them. That 6 dollars could be used other places. I just love the fact that I can get what the kids need at such great prices and I am reusing items not buying new.

So, I went from Christmas to eBay.


Share said...

Christmas to Ebay - totally logical transition! I Love them both! Both the kids and I are totally excitedabout our coupons! I will definately be stealing this idea for birthdays & Christmas this year!
PS - remember that shipping is ALWAYS free from me - just keep nme updated on sizes.

an.Alaskan.mom said...

Jase has slept two days so we measured him - 3/4 of an inch taller!