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Christmas Home Tour

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Welcome to our home!

Christmas 2017 Entry The Prudent Homemaker

In the urns by the front door, I added some free Christmas tree trimmings and free pinecones. Many places that sell Christmas trees will give free Christmas tree trimmings if you ask.

I hung some wreaths I bought several years ago.

This year, I added the two lanterns by the door. The black one I bought used for $5 earlier this year (it turned out to have a broken hinge, but it still works fine). The red lantern has faux candles inside that don't light up and a crack in the bottom; my mom found it for free at someone's trash last year after Christmas and picked it up for me.

 

Christmas Entry Table and Living Room The Prudent Homemaker

We were gifted this poinsettia a couple of nights ago by some friends who came caroling at our door. I took out the roses and basil from this arrangement (which were done) and put the poinsettia in the middle instead with the dusty miller from our garden and the free Christmas tree trimmings.

Christmas Entry Table and Mirror The Prudent Homemaker

The wreath was a $2 garage sale find in October. I used a ribbon that used to be the drawstring to a pair of flannel pajama pants. The pajamas wore out years ago but I kept the ribbon. The urn was an $8 garage sale find in October.

Christmas 2017 Piano The Prudent Homemaker

 I bought our Nativity set 16 years ago with my husband at Walmart for our second Christmas together.

I hung the star music garland that I made for another Christmas. I used a vintage fur collar from my grandmother on the bust, and I added pinecones to the urns.

The Christmas book is one from which my daughters are currently playing. We sing Christmas carols every night as a family starting the first of December, and sometimes one of my daughters will play for us when we sing. I have been enjoying hearing them practice their Christmas music all month.

Christmas 2017 Living Room The Prudent Homemaker

A woman who works with my husband gifted him the beautiful live wreath that is hanging in the large window. I have two small wreaths in the end windows,  but I wanted another in the middle window. One day I hope to purchase a large faux wreath for this space.

Our tree is a beautiful faux one that we bought 11 years ago from Lowe's. It was the display model and they couldn't find the box. They charged us only $80! (This style of tree retails for $300 to $400).  We have it in a tree stand that is bolted to a little table (the table was free and my husband cut the legs down to make it a bit shorter). Having the tree on the table gives the illusion of a taller tree, and it keeps our toddler from reaching too much of the tree. He can reach the bottom two branches, so we don't have any ornaments on those branches this year. We have eight children, so this arrangement has worked well for us for years to keep the tree and ornaments save from toddlers.

The ribbon and ornaments on the tree are ones we have had for many years.

I made the tree skirt this year from some drop cloth that I had on hand. 

Christmas Gifts Under the Tree The Prudent Homemaker

 I have been wanting reusable boxes for years. I had a few velvet covered ones that were gifted to us years ago. I added the brown ones and the two white and gold ones that are on the table last year (I found them at Target in the gift wrapping section). This year I was very excited to see that Target was offering more reusable boxes in the Christmas section, and they were very similar to the boxes I bought last year. I bought several. I can use these every year for Christmas, as well as for birthdays, without needing to use wrapping paper. Since I hand make gifts and purchase many gifts at garage sales, I don't usually have boxes for my gifts. This will make wrapping so much easier for me every year. 

Christmas Gifts The Prudent Homemaker

I purchased a few spools of ribbon to tie the boxes closed. I also have lots of ribbon that I've saved from gifts we've received in years past that I use to close boxes.

I bought the gold and burgundy faux berries this year from a local Facebook garage sale page for $3 for 12 of them.

I bought some large and regular sized jingle bells this year as well to add to the top of the boxes. They still don't disguise the sound of Legos in the boxes, but they are a fun addition that I can reuse every year.

Christmas 2017 Table Runner 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The small wreaths I have in the windows at the end of the room are faux ones I bought for $2.99 each (on sale at Michael's) several years ago.

The pinecones were gathered from the side of the road.

The faux greens on the table are ones I bought years ago. This is my first year using them on the table; I usually place them on the piano.

The lanterns are ones I bought early in our marriage. The candles I've had for years, as I like the look of them during the day, but we don't use them at night.

The silver-plated bowls and urns are ones I've picked up for $5 and under each at garage sales over the last couple of years.

Christmas 2017 Table Runner The Prudent Homemakerjpg

 I purchased the clementines on sale for $1 a pound, which is a good price here.

Christmas 2017 Table Runner 3 The Prudent Homemakerjpg

The Meyer lemons are from my garden. The beautiful silver reindeer were a surprise gift from a reader who inherited them and didn't have a place for them. She didn't know it, but I had been looking at faux mercury glass deer very similar to these last Christmas. I was so excited to find these in a box from her as they are even better than what I had looked at!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

 

Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Gifts Under $5

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This post contains affiliate links.

My per person budget for members of my immediate family is usually between $10 to $20 per person, including gifts that go in their stockings. While I make many gifts for pennies, I also purchase items from garage sales, and I look for low-cost items that my family members will love that also fit in my budget.

 Here are some deals that you can give for $5 or less; click on the photos to go to the item:

 

Kitchen tools:

Amazon has a huge selection of unique cookie cutters. Even with shipping on these, they still work out to be under $5 each, with most under $3 (no minimum order required).

    

 

Scarves:

I've bought these for myself and for my daughters. They all come in different colors, too! (Note: a couple of these are now priced just above $5, but some color options are below $5, including shipping).

 

 

Fountain Pens:

There are beautiful inexpensive options: 

 

Read Alouds for Children:

    

 

Art Supplies:

     

 

Baby Gifts:

These are favorites at my house. 

           

 

Having trouble coming up with $5 for a gift this year? Try racking up enough Swagbucks to earn a $5 Amazon gift card. Many of the above items have free shipping with no minimum order, or are still under $5 including shipping.

If you have Amazon Prime, you won't need to pay for shipping an order, plus you'll get 2-day shipping. You can click here to get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, which includes free online movies and music along with 2-day shipping.

 

Today only, Amazon is offering $5 off $15 worth of books. Use code BOOKGIFT17. You can read the terms and conditions here.

 

 

Tagged in: Christmas Deals Gifts
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This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas Spritz Cookies The Prudent Homemaker 

 Spritz Cookies made with my grandmother's vintage cookie press. These are the fastest and simplest Christmas cookies I've ever made.

 

Can you imagine a December without shopping?

No food to buy.

No gifts to purchase.

 

The chance to stay home: making cookies and treats from items in your pantry, making meals from a well-stocked pantry and freezers, making gifts from items you already have on hand, making memories as a family as you sing Christmas carols together before bed every night of the month, playing board and card games as a family in the evenings instead of being out shopping (and picking up takeout because you don't have time to cook after work and shopping), watching Christmas movies as a family, etc.

 

BUT . . .

Maybe you still have presents left to buy.

Maybe you have groceries to purchase.

Christmas Bedpost The Prudent Homemaker

 

Could it be simpler, though? Could you avoid the time you spend shopping, standing in line, etc.? 

 

You could decide to shorten your Christmas list to what you've already purchased (and/or make any remaining gifts using what you have on hand in your kitchen or with any supplies you have).

You could order the last gifts on your list online and have them shipped to your door. (Amazon has a free trial of Prime if you want two-day shipping for free for the month, plus you can watch movies from home with it).

You could order groceries and have them delivered. (I've never tried this option, but many stores have free and/or discounted delivery options for the first time you place an order. I can see an extra appeal in this if you don't want to leave the house in inclement weather). 

You could limit your grocery shopping to just two stores for the month.

You could decide to eat what you have in the pantry and freezer and not go shopping.

 

I've decided to keep my December shopping as simple as possible. I still have many gifts to make and I am wanting to bake often, both of which require me to be at home.

 

I'm limiting my December grocery shopping to $40 at Sam's Club, which comes from a $25 gift card I earned on Swagbucks and a $15 gift card I received as a gift, and $25 out of pocket.

I looked through Sam's sales flyer and am purchasing two things that will each be $2.50 off in December. One is balsamic vinegar, a regular staple in my pantry. The other is Nutella, which I only buy in December when it goes on sale at Sam's Club. It's a large jar (26.5 ounces/751.26g) that comes in a two-pack, on sale $6.48 (that makes each jar $3.24, or $0.122 an ounce/$0.0043 gram.)

I'm planning on saving the time of walking around the store and standing in the checkout line by ordering everything online and having it ready for pickup. I've never done it before, but this service is free, so why not have a bit more time in my life? It certainly doesn't take very long to add it to my cart online. I'll have my husband pick it up on his way home from work, and he can fill up on gas (which is cheaper there) at the same time.

 

Sam's Club:

corn tortillas (110 count)

milk (1 gallon)

salted peanuts (52 ounces)

mozzarella cheese (5 pounds shredded)

balsamic vinegar (1 liter)

brown sugar (7-pound bag)

Nutella (2 26.5 o./75126g jars)

 

I'd like to purchase some clementines for both fresh eating and Christmas stockings, but that will depend on what sales are out there. I'm allotting $15 out of pocket towards clementines, if I find a sale right before Christmas of $1 a pound or less (there are sometimes coupons available for these, so I'll keep an eye out). If I don't see that price close to Christmas, I'll pass on purchasing these.

I'll spend $10 on dish soap for hand washing. I usually buy this at Walmart, but since I am planning to go to Target anyway this week to pick up a few small items for Christmas gifts, I will purchase this there. I want to keep my shopping trips (and standing-in-line-time) to a minimum.

Christmas Table Runner Detail The Prudent Homemaker

 

A few ideas to make your December a bit more peaceful:

 

Advent calendar activity ideas Simple things you can do this month to keep the spirit of Christmas.

Rethinking Christmas Stockings. A simpler, less expensive approach to filling stockings.

Seven Frugal Ways to Decorate for Christmas

A Gift a Day. My current and past year's simple, inexpensive gifts, often made from repurposed materials, that you can make in a day. I'll be sharing more gifts this month as I complete them.

My Food Gifts board on Pinterest

My Christmas Crafts for the Children board on Pinterest

Ten Ways to Add Joy to Your Life When You Don't Have a Penny to Spare. Don't let a super-tight financial month keep you from finding joy.

Gifts You Can Make Right Now in Five Minutes or Less

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

 

 Deciding to keep things as simple as possible is helping me to stay more peaceful this month.

 

What are you doing to keep things simpler this month?

 

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Rethinking Christmas Stockings

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Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

A few years back, we were in need of new Christmas stockings. Our family had grown, and we didn't have enough matching stockings for the family.

At the same time, I had been seeing beautiful miniature stockings online made from vintage grain sacks. I loved the simple red stripes at the top and I especially loved the fact that the stockings were tiny. Small stockings (rather than ones that could fit an entire adult's arm) mean there is less to fill, and I can have a wrapped gift sticking out of the top, which is something I had always wanted to do. That didn't work with our previous stockings, which were so long I could fit all of our gifts for each person in with room to spare.

Chirstmas Stocking The Prudent Homemaker

I drew up a small stocking pattern and set to work. I didn't have vintage grain sacks, nor a budget for them, so I used my sewing machine to sew red stripes on some painter's drop cloth that I had previously bought at the hardware store. (Note: Our city got an Ikea store last year; they have dishtowels for $0.79 each that have red stripes at the top which would work beautifully to make these stockings).

Last year, with our new baby, I wasn't worried about hanging a stocking for him. Now that he's a year and a half, it's time for me to make a stocking for him too!

You can make your own small stockings out of your fabric of choice. Not a fan of red stripes? Try cutting up a velvet skirt or dress, or an old sweater that you find at the thrift store! Repurpose an old sheet to use as the lining.

Christmas Stockings The Prudent Homemaker

 

When it comes to filling the stockings, consider the simplest things.

In the toe, put a clementine or an orange. These are always on sale at Christmastime in the U.S.  (Readers in the Southern Hemisphere, please share your favorite summer fruits for stockings in the comments below!)

Include some candy and/or nuts. I like to buy some candy from the bulk section at Winco when it goes on sale right before Halloween and give that (this year I bought peppermint patties). Candy canes, purchased on sale, work well. I like to make homemade candies too, such as peppermint bark, which I put inside in plastic bags. For nuts, look at buying them in bulk from Sam's Club, Costco, Winco, or another place that sells bulk nuts. If you grow your own, whole nuts in the shell look pretty in stockings as well. If you prefer cookies to candy, a beautifully decorated Christmas cookie or two is a nice, edible gift.

For gifts, I like to keep the cost down. Most "inexpensive" stocking stuffer ideas that I see include several gifts that are $10-$20 each. Most years, that is my entire Christmas budget per person (candy and nuts come from my regular grocery budget, rather than my planned gift budget), which means I need to lower that amount considerably to keep within my budget for the year. I usually include two to three gifts per person in stockings. Here's some of what I like to include:

 

For my daughters:

Jewelry. I find pieces at garage sales for $1 an item. I'll make jewelry from repurposed or garage sale pieces. Broken or old costume jewelry is great for this purpose. I've also bought beads, elastic, and jewelry findings on sale to make pieces between $0.15 to $1 each.

Small toys. Garage sales are also a great place to find small toys. I found a number Legos for a total of $0.50 this year, and I'll divide these up between my four younger girls.

Art supplies. I purchase these for $0.25 to $1 at back to school sales.

Hair ribbons. I buy them on sale by the spool and cut them on the diagonal (to reduce fraying) in lengths for the girls.

Homemade barrettes.

Hair elastics. I buy these in packages of 100 from the dollar store.

Bobby Pins. I get these from the dollar store.

Hair brushes. I also get these from the dollar store.

 

For my sons:

Legos. Garage sales are again my source for the least expensive small Lego stocking stuffers.

More Candy and/or nuts. My boys like to have the same candy as their dad.

Ties. My boys wear a tie to church every Sunday. I find them at garage sales for $0.50 to $1 each.

 

For both boys and girls:

Toothbrushes. I buy them in packages of 4 or 5 for $1 from the dollar store (last Christmas I saw this same deal at Walmart too).

Chapstick. I often buy a bulk package and divide it up. I look for coupons and sales to get the price lower than $1 each.

Bouncy balls. You can buy a bag (usually of 6) in the party section of several stores.

Puzzles. The dollar store has small puzzles that fit in stockings. 

Earbuds. Again, I get these at the dollar store.

Bookmarks. Homemade bookmarks are a favorite gift at my house. My children are avid readers who always have a book going.

 

For my husband:

His favorite candy. At my house, this means a large bag of peanut M&Ms and/or a bag of Werther's. I can always find coupons and sales on these to get the price down considerably.

This is all I usually get my husband, but this year I'm thinking of adding a restaurant gift card using points I earn on Swagbucks. We don't usually exchange gifts between the two of us, so this would be a surprise. It also won't cost me anything at all!

Christmas Stockings detail The Prudent Homemaker

Reducing the size of your stockings makes it easier to fill a stocking and keep within a tiny budget. There's no need to feel obligated to spend money on stocking stuffers that will end up broken and unwanted before the New Year. Let your gifts be simple.

 

As I was writing this post, I asked my 12-year-old son what he loved getting in his stocking. He immediately mentioned the clementine, then candy, and then bouncy balls! And only then did he mention Legos. What my children have come to remember is the simple traditional items that we have included, and they look forward to them every year!

 

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Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Gifts for stockings can easily add up to be quite a bit, even if you take a trip to the dollar store. 

Here are some items to give using items you already have in your pantry, cupboards, along with a few items to make using what you already have on hand:

 

From the kitchen and pantry:

1. Apples, oranges, and clementines

2. Nuts. Put a small amount in some tissue or a  bag and tie with string or ribbon, or make a little paper cone for them.

3. Hot chocolate packets

 

To make from the kitchen:

1. Cookies. Put these in a bag or some tissue paper.

2. Caramels. Here's a microwave version. Wrap caramels in waxed paper.

3. Peppermint bark

4. Homemade candies

5. Candied citrus peels

6. Homemade play dough

7. Homemade granola. Here's my recipe for cranberry almond granola

8. Fudge

 

From the cupboards:

1. Pens, pencils, and crayons that you bought on sale at back to school time

2. Personal grooming items: razors, cotton balls, toothpaste, toothbrush, toiletry samples

 

To make from the cupboards:

1. A miniature first aid kit to tuck into a purse, backpack, or glove compartment with Band-Aids and pain relievers

2. A small book with printer paper or lined paper, covered in cardstock or contrasting paper. Sew it together by machine or by hand, or staple it instead.

3. Bookmarks. I have a large selection of free printables on my site here.

4. Bookplates. Free printables are here.

5. Dollhouse artwork, wallpaper, and rugs. Free printables here.

6. Seed packets with seeds gathered from your garden. Free printable here.

7. Date with mom coupons. Free printable here.

 

To make from repurposed items:

1. Scarves from scraps of fabric, old curtains, flannel sheets, a repurposed skirt. Think flannel, velvet, sheers, etc. Likewise, you can knit or crochet a scarf using the yarn from old clothing items, or make a striped scarf using leftover bits of different-colored yarn.

2. Handkerchiefs from old sheets (a great way to repurpose a sheet that has a tear).

3. Earrings from broken jewelry

4. Decorative bobby pins with old buttons

5. Decorative bobby pins with broken jewelry

6. Mittens from an old sweater or sweatshirt (a shrunk wool sweater is perfect for this, or a stained sweater or sweatshirt--just cut your pattern around the stains.

7. Hand-warmers stuffed with rice. Use repurposed clothing or scraps of fabric to make these. Microwave them to put in pockets before leaving. Try a heart shape for a little fun. 

8. Headbands from ribbons and hair elastics

 

Christmas Stocking 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 

Something that also helped me was to hang smaller stockings. Two years ago, I needed a couple more stockings for our family. I decided to make new stockings from a drop cloth, and I made them smaller. The previous stockings we had were so long that my children would put their entire arm in their stockings and not be able to reach the bottom! Having smaller stockings relieved the presure from me to feel like I needed to buy more to fill our stockings.

Consider a stocking with a piece of fruit in the toe, some candy and/or other edibles, and one small gift per person this Christmas. It's simple, it will be used, it won't take up lots of space (or be broken in a week), and it works with a tight budget!

 

Tagged in: Christmas Gifts
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Frugal gifts large

 Here are a few quick, easy, and free or close to free gifts that you can download or print in 5 minutes or less:

 

Frugal Gifts Music 500

Download Free Music:

 

Classical Music

Amazon Amazon has several free songs and albums that you can download.

Your local library may have free music that you can download from their website through Freegal. You can also use your library card and pin to download the music from Freegal's site. There is a limit to how many songs you can download per library card per week.

 

Download free audio books:

 

Librivox

Free Classic Audio Books

 

Bookmarks

Printable Gifts:

 

My free printables: bookmarks, date with mom coupons, cooking lessons with mom coupons, bookplates, printable seed packets, needlebooks, and dollhouse printables

Free Sheet Music for  variety of instruments

 

Children cutting paper dolls

Paper Dolls:



Betsy McCall Paper Dolls

Soldiers of 3 Wars and Their Lasses

Vintage Finnish Paper Dolls

Beautiful vintage paper dolls

(In both color and black and white outlines for coloring)

Lily & Thistle Paper Doll

Russian Nesting Dolls

Regency and Victorian paper dolls

(In both color and black and white outlines for coloring)

 

Paper Toys:

 Think play castles, buildings, and cars. These are cut, folded, and glued to construct. These are great to print out and let your children construct!

The Toymaker

Beautiful, simple toys (along with a couple of fun boxes for gift giving, including a frog and a chocolate truck)

Paper Toys

Nativity

Canon's Creative Park

Good for older children or even adults. These projects require a lot of paper and ink.

Made By Joel paper toys

Vintage-Style Concentration Game

Agence Eureka

Vintage French paper toys that you can print

 

Free Images:

Use these as artwork gifts.


Graphics Fairy

Just Something I Made

She has both free printables and lots of tutorial projects

Vintage Printable

NY Public Library

Flashcards

Free U.S Maps

 

 

Do you have any favorites to add to the list? Share them in the comments below!

Tagged in: Christmas Gifts
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