I've decided to try to share a Christmas idea every day until the 25th. Hopefully this will help someone out there!
Today's Christmas tip is all about gifts for playdate friends. If your playgroup likes to exchange gifts (ours does), you know it can get expensive. Here are some tips to help make it less so!
1. Plan ahead. I shop every year after Christmas to get great deals on things I *KNOW* I'll use the following year--cards, gift wrap, ornaments, tissue paper, candy canes, cookie platters and gift "tins". Last year I stocked up on cute Christmas cups. They were originally 4/$1.00, but I purchased them at 4/$.25 on clearance. I also purchased wooden photo ornaments at JoAnn's for .25 each; and tubes of glitter paint in Christmas colors for .49 cents each.
2. Let your child get in on the gift giving. Yesterday Reagan and I had a blast decorating plain paper lunch sacks in which to put her gifts. She used markers, stickers and glitter glue and I let her go nuts. She loved it!
3. Remember, simple is better. Unify the gifts. I get everyone the same gift for that year. For instance, last year I used large plastic Christmas bowls (purchased the year before on Christmas clearance!) filled with popped popcorn and stuck a Veggie Tales Christmas DVD in each (on Black Friday sale at Family Christian for $5 each) and wrapped it all with cellophane and some ribbon..HUGE hit for approximately $6 for each family.
This year I went even simpler: Every one is getting a paper bag (decorated by Reagan) filled with photo ornaments for the kids to decorate with their own bottle of glitter glue. They'll also get a cellophane bag with an adorable Christmas cup and candy canes inside of it--Great Christmas gifts--unified--for about $1.50-$2.00 for each family.
4. Think "FAMILY". If you read the examples above, you'll note that the gifts aren't JUST for the kids. A family popcorn and movie night? Even Mom and Dad can get in on that. Decorating ornaments? Mom and Dad love to do things with the kids..and this is cheap, fun entertainment that actually produces something that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Oh, and one last tip: Make sure you bring something of whatever you're giving for your child...kids do watch that and you can avoid a temper tantrum by following this rule! For example, I have a cellophane bag with cup and candy cane already for Reagan too!
Remember, gifts don't have to be expensive...and they shouldn't be if you're buying for a large group of kids. Keep it thoughtful, keep it simple.
Share your ideas!