Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Works for Me Wednesday - Plan Ahead....Or Don't!
Before you get your toga all up in a bunch, let me first say that I do NOT recommend adopting the "planning ahead...or not" lethargic attitude for every aspect of your life. But when it comes to gift-giving, this is pretty much a template for my life!
First of all, are gifts important? Yes and no. Yes, gifts are important in that they show love for another person and a desire to give them something that will please them. God gives us many gifts each day and the greatest gift of all was His Son, so God is clearly the beginning of all gift-giving. On the other hand, no, gifts are not all that necessary. While it is nice to be able to give tangible gifts, sometimes people are just unable to do so due to finances or other circumstances and that's okay too. It's all a matter of the heart.
That being said, let me share with you how I *try* to plan for birthdays and Christmas....
I have four nieces and nephews under the age of four (well, now four and under), three of whom all have birthdays in September. I also have a daugther with a birthday in September. So last weekend, my sister-in-law threw a cake party for all four of the September-birthday kids. Here is what I did for gifts:
I shopped the Old Navy winter clearance sale last January. Lol. Seriously. That's the beauty of having a fall birthday - winter clearance clothes from the previous year! Come on, you know styles don't change THAT much in 9 months!
Nephew #1: An adorable red sweater as well as a hat/mitten set. Total cost: $7.
Nephew #2: A green zip-up sweater (also adorable). Total cost: $5
Neice: The cutest pair of pink pants I've ever seen and a black turtleneck shirt. Total cost: $9.
We didn't actually give our daughter her presents yet since her birthday is on Sunday, but I'll tell you what she's getting. My friend Gretchen (yeah, co-author Gretchen) threw a Fisher Price toys party (like a Pampered Chef party but without all the buying pressure) a few weeks ago. We brought home three toys in gift bags suitable for a baby. Yay for free baby toys and free birthday gifts! She will be opening a little toy train, one of those stackable rings sets, and some other conjoining blocks for her birthday. And what did I fork over for all that? About $5 in gas and a great morning of fun! :)
While I am pretty good at planning ahead for the actual gift, I am NOT so good at planning ahead for what the gift will be given in. Gift bags are so overrated in my opinion. They take up space in my garage and besides, I like wrapping presents! But of course, in today's society, wrapping presents just takes WAYYYYY too much time. (I'll try to refrain from a "today's society" rant.)
The party was on Sunday at 4pm, so at 1pm I went into the garage and found 4 small boxes perfectly suitable for each of the gifts I needed to give. I then pulled a roll of gold paper from my wrapping paper box under our bed. (Yes yes, it is Christmas paper, but hey, birthday paper never goes on sale!!) I grabbed some ribbons from my craft box, a pair of scissors, and some tape and got to work. After about 45 minutes, here is what I came up with:
I was originally going to give a play-by-play for how to wrap shoe boxes (you know, so they can be opened without tearing the paper), but since this post seems to be getting pretty long already, I think I'll save that for next week. :)
So let's sum up....
Gifts for three children (purchased on clearance last year): $21
Wrapping paper (purchased on clearance after Christmas): 50 cents/roll
Boxes to wrap gifts: FREE
TOTAL: Under $21.50
So about $7/child. Not bad, if you ask me! Now let's see what I *could* have spent if I had bought those same things when they were NOT on sale....
Gifts for three children: $54
Three gift bags w/ tissue paper: $6
So $20/child. See what planning ahead (or not!) can do for you?? :)
With Christmas coming (and with birthdays always being "just around the corner"), I want to encourage you to plan ahead and save (either with the gift or the wrapping - or both)!
For more WFMW ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer.