Rachel’s Guide To a Low-Stress and Cheap (or FREE) Christmas!

My life is busy. I normally work a 37.5 hour week (plus meetings), but often pull a 50-hour-week by working an ambulance shift on the weekend. Tying that with having to pick up my beautiful daughter after work, rushing home to make dinner (or baking a frozen pizza), getting ready for the night and tomorrow–it’s all I can do to just get into bed!

I often help the extra-business that comes with Christmas by doing my shopping throughout the year and particularly during the AFTER-Christmas sales. I have a cupboard where my gifts are organized by the type of gift (wedding, baby, adult Christmas, kid’s Christmas…) along with organized wrappings (either bought on sale or recycled from gifts I myself have received!). This makes gift giving during this time of year pretty easy and stress free–and I get to avoid the overcrowded shopping malls which I so intensely despise!

This year, though…a little different. My cupboard is not as full, probably due to having a little one and thus less money and less time to snag deals up throughout the year. I’m finding that I’m spending more than usual (on a CREDIT CARD nonetheless, which is a huge no-no in our book!), and have had to find new ways to give nice gifts without making myself homeless or missing work to go shopping. If you’re in the same boat, you might find the following options good ones as well!

What are your other ideas for having a low-stress and frugal Christmas? I need some birthday and baby shower gift ideas, too, so send them my way!

#1 Gifts in a Jar http://www.craftbits.com/gifts-in-a-jar
While you can buy some fantastic books with instructions, photos, and cards to attach for your Gifts in a Jar, this website provides a variety of recipes for food, drinks, bath products, and other things to make. Gifts in a Jar are easy to make, great for everyone, and quick to spruce up by adding some fabric and ribbons to the lid! My idea is to make “breakfast gift baskets” for family this year with mugs that I bought on discount during the summer and Gifts-in-a-Jar for pancakes, muffins, and hot cocoa!

#2 Discounts and freebies. My favorites this season are:

Fashion Playtes; this website allows girls to design their own clothing–and then have it mailed to them! It’s so fun that I actually designed a shirt myself…now if only it would fit! I used the code

ONE20 for $20.00 off a $35.00 gift certificate. The only catch with the gift certificate is that you have to have a minimum of $35.00 to use the $20.00-off code and it has to be your first purchase.

Jillian’s Drawers is a natural parenting store that’s currently having a 12-Days-of-Christmas sale. I didn’t know about it until day 3 (I think it’s day 5 now?), but I snagged a bunch of diaper inserts for 50% off as soon as I found out! Each day, they’re choosing different items to discount. They aren’t always 50% off, but there’s a lot of great products coming up and they’ll hold out shipping your items until the end of the sale so you can combine your orders from each day if you ask them to!

Holey Donuts; first, if you didn’t already enter my contest for Holey Donuts, then you need to–and QUICK because it will be ending soon (includes a bunch of pastries AND $150.00). Next, you should educate yourself about this company because it’s genius, very tasty, and an awesome gift for, well, most everyone I know! This company makes low fat donuts and cinnamon buns with no artificial sweeteners and then ships them frozen to your door step! I’ve had the pleasure of trying these pastries and they are delicious enough that my husband has eaten them all while I’m at work. :-\ Seriously, they taste great and you don’t have any guilt from eating them. They’re constantly having fabulous sales, have a “box of the month” club you can buy, and will also hold off on shipping until Christmas-ish time. Here’s the most current promotion:

buy 3 assortments, get $7 off code= LF7
buy 4 assortments, get $10 off code= LF10
buy 5, get FREE SHIPPING code= 5FRSH … 5 box maximum order

Remember to hit “recalculate” after you enter your discount code

#3 Giveaways with few entries. I may be ruining my chances to win by sharing this with you, but here are some good options:

Caching Family Blog is holding a contest for a $30.00 gift certificate to TurtleTurtle. It ends on Saturday and so far, no one has entered (until I do in a moment!). Awesome for anyone who is pregnant or has a little one!

My Contests. I can’t enter them, so please do enter away. 🙂 They aren’t inundated with people, so your chances are excellent to win something at this point!

Prizey is a collaboration of blog giveaways and contests. I submit my listings there, and wish I had lots of time to spend entering other contests I find there! I could drool over a lot of the stuff that someone’s going to win…

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