Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Holidays are Here

For some reason, this year really feels like the holidays. I remember the last couple of years haven't really felt as much like it, so I'm glad that this year already does and Thanksgiving isn't even for another week.

What I love about the holidays are quite a few things. I love being able to celebrate something so special as Jesus' birth. Yesterday at my class there was a kid in there and we were talking about how they do Christmas traditions in the countries they are from. This kid came with someone else and was obviously American. He asked "why do we even celebrate Christmas anyway?" Seriously? Seriously? He was like 12, and once I told him why he looked like he had maybe heard that before but forgot. Forgot? This is so foreign to me, how can Christmas not be about celebrating that, even if you get lost in the commercialism of the holidays, doesn't that cross your mind at all?

I love being able to celebrate with family. I love that I have so much family so close that I get to see them multiple times over the holidays. I love that family comes into town just to see each other and celebrate. There's just something magical to me about being cozy and warm inside with your family all around while it's so cold outside.

One of the best things about Christmas to me is giving. I really like giving presents. I love finding the perfect gift I know someone will love, or making something I know that they will really appreciate the time I took to make it. Last year I made the majority of my gifts. This year I've done a combination of finding and making. What's really nice is there are a lot of deals and coupons out there for gifts, and what's awesome is that you can often find codes for presents you can make through a website. Last year, I got a a code for a free book from Shutterfly. So I put a lot of time into making Hal a book about our first year of marriage. Presents like that are always nice, you just know how much time and thought went into them :)

So, here are my tips for finding good deals for the perfect gift

1. Groupon or Living Social Deals: this is such a great service. They ofter really good deals at gyms/ restaurants/local businesses. What's really nice? Once you log in, you can look at the deals in other cities, so you can get good deals for people that live out of town, or you can find deals that are for online stores that you can use even if you don't live in that city. You can get the deals for your town sent to your email every day.

2. Pinching your pennies: This company is also fantastic. They send you an e-mail at least once a day with all of the awesome deals that they have found. They always include discount codes for stores, which is so helpful. They even have a Groupon section so you can see what they are offering in a few other cities each day. And if they find even better deals, they'll send out a second e-mail!

3. Reviews: A lot of websites that are review based will send you a gift if you write a review on their website. Not all of them do this, and not all of them do it consistently. Now, I'm about to let you in on a secret, in case you want to make a Shutterfly book, sends you an e-mail with a code for a free book with each review that you do on their website. It's a smart tactic, as even though a had a coupon code for another company, I knew I loved Shutterfly's setup and quality, so I went back to them this year for a different Christmas present.

Since I really love to give presents, the chase of finding a really good present that I either made, or was able to find for a really affordable price really makes me happy. Christmas isn't about breaking the bank, or even really about present giving, but hopefully these tips help in case you do need to find some gifts on a budget. And if you have some tips for me? Or awesome ideas that you've found, please do share!

I also like to give back each Christmas. There are lots of ways to give back, by serving at your local homeless shelter, by picking a name off of an angel tree, and I admire what Lauren does to give back. There are so many options, and so many people who are appreciative to help that service brings, because everyone deserves to have a good Christmas.


Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said... is also a really great site for discount codes!

{Selma} Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

Worst part of this time of year is that people literally forget why we celebrate it. They forget, or ignore (who knows what comes first), and then they don't teach their children, and then they just don't want to know because all they know is it's going to be grand because I get a tons of gifts or so. I think it's sad.
This time of year is to sit down, look back, remember, learn, love, give back, value and cherish. I'm sure there's a ton more to it too, but way too many just see it as "the big money and gift time". People are already complaining about having to spend so much money this and the next month. Hmmm...Just so very sad.

Traditions and reasons behind our holidays are so easily forgotten and ignored. :(


Kell said...

The holidays are wonderful! It's such a happy time, it seems. Also, I usually have a bit of trouble when it comes to gifts, so thanks for these suggestions!!

The Boob Nazi said...

Thank you SO much for the suggestion about asking the church for chairs!!! We are doing it, and then that makes it so I won't have 10 extra chairs in my house. yeesssss

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