Well, it's the holiday season. We made it! If you're one of the thousands (maybe millions?) of people who put up their Christmas decorations early, come sit here by us, you are our people.
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From Good Housekeeping, "In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood," says psychoanalyst Steve McKeown. "Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extends the excitement!"
Stress? Check! Anxiety? Check! Desperate for the magic of childhood? DOUBLE CHECK.
But...what if you're struggling financially this year? What if you had to significantly downsize, and much of your holiday cheer didn't make the cut? What if you lost your job in an economic downturn for which there's no end in sight, because people won't wear the f*(c)k1nG MASKS?
How are you going to make holiday magic this year? What will Hanukkah or Christmas look like for your family when things are tight?
We all need an infusion of cheap holiday cheer. What are some low-cost, easy access strategies to bring on the Christmas spirit and capture some of the joy of which 2020 has been so bereft? BooginHead has some ideas. And we would love to know YOUR ideas. If we love your idea, we'll even update this blog to include your idea, and give you all the credit. Send us a message!
Cheap Christmas Idea #1: Cheap Christmas Gifts
Only got twenty dollars in your pocket? Pop some tags at your local thrift store for cheap Christmas gifts. Thrift stores have a less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to finding gifts and decor, but the treasures are there, we promise. First of all, the toy section. If you have young kids, you know they absolutely do not care if a toy is new. If your kids are anything like OUR kids, they would leave all their fancy, expensive toys in the dust and walk around the house with an old spatula for three solid hours. KIDS DON'T CARE. Get into that toy section. There's no packaging, so there's less time between unwrap and play time, AND there's less mess for you to clean up, AND it's better for the environment because you're reducing, reusing, and recycling.
You want real life examples of cheap Christmas gifts, you say? Absolutely! BooginHead Marketing Manager Jacky has a four year old and loves thrifting. What has she found?
A functional Star Wars TIE Fighter (First Order), $3.99 at the thrift store
A Ghostbusters proton pack, $2.99 at the thrift store
That stuff is COOL, man!
Then, hop out of that toy section and go into the kitchen section. Big plastic mixing bowls for $1.29? Pack of whisks for .59c? Your 2 year old is going to freaking love it. Sometimes as parents we get caught up in the romance of providing the best, the newest, the fanciest, the most elaborate gifts for our young children. But the truth is, kids don't know what they're missing. They would be thrilled with anything, if not for the disappointment they sense in you. If their holiday magic is built on the magic of your love for them, and YOU don't feel inadequate or lesser for not giving them the most expensive pony in the stable, 20 years from now these memories will be their fondest. We promise. Give yourself permission to gift your kid an unwrapped action figure this year. Like this one:
Finn, formerly FN-2187, $1.99 at the thrift store
What else is at the thrift store? Books, books, books! So many books. Books for adults, books for teens, books for kids. There is surprisingly nice cookware, wine glasses, and containers for gifting homemade cookies. And of course, there's every wacky cheap Christmas decoration you could possibly imagine. This time of year they're going to have string lights, donated reusable Christmas trees, ornaments, garlands, figurines, and more. The thrift shop is more than gator shoes (those are green), velour jumpsuits, and some house slippers. We can't wait to see what cheap Christmas gifts you find.
Cheap Christmas Idea #2: Engage your sense of smell
It's been said, scent is the closest sense tied to memory. You could let Harvard (yes, that Harvard) explain the science of smell and how scent, emotion, and memory are intertwined, or you could trust your personal experience, because we've all had that moment. That one smell that transports us back to our grandmother's house, or recalls a strong emotion, or for some reason evokes the memory that one time in gym class in seventh grade where you realized you were wearing two different socks and it was embarassing because Rich Ashley pointed it out to Mean Ashley, and they laughed at you, why are you remembering this now? Oh, it's that smell.
Turn this power to your advantage. Get those Christmas scents going. If there's no budget for candles or oils this year, there's one old-fashioned and super low budget way to make your house smell like the holidays: boil spices on the stove.
Here's a recipe for Christmas simmering potpourri we found on Food.com:
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/4 c whole cloves
- 2 lemon slices OR 2 tablespoons lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 quart water
Feels like Christmas just LOOKING at it. (c) Food.com
All you do is put that stuff in a pot and simmer on low heat. That's it. It smells incredible. And so customizable! No cinnamon sticks? Use ground cinnamon! Hate cloves? Leave them out! Maybe you say, "but all these spices are expensive." Totally get it. Spices can be expensive. But where candles and oils are one use only, spices are for cooking and they have a long life. It's a much better investment. Buy bay leaves for Christmas simmering potpourri but also for soups, stocks, and spice rubs.
Cheap Christmas Idea #3: The easiest cookies
Remember all those adorable containers you fould at the thrift store to gift homemade Christmas cookies? Christmas cookies take a surprising amount of time, effort, and ingredients. And maybe this isn't the year you have a bunch of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs laying around. What if we told you there's one holiday classic that can be made with only FOUR easily found and easily spared ingredients?
You know it, you love it:
That's right, friends, it's the Peanut Butter Blossom
Nostalgia on a plate. The twist is a riff on the easiest peanut butter cookies you'll ever make, which just asks for one cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, and one egg. Mix that all up, drop them on a cookie pan, bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. The twist is, when they come out, shove a Hershey's Kiss on top. Christmas accomplished.
Need more easy cookie ideas? There are these infinitely-customizable four ingredient chocolate truffles that can accommodate a variety of diets, and these ridiculously easy three ingredient shortbread bars that ask so little of you they practically make themselves. This cheap Christmas idea isn't just for people who don't have a lot of ingredients on hand, it's for people who don't have a lot of time on hand. Which is parents. Parents don't have a lot of time, and they need cookies more than anyone. This one's for you, parents.
Cheap Christmas Idea #4: Shop multi-packs to get that free shipping
Whether you're shopping for stocking stuffers or have many people in your life you need gifts for, multi-packs are the solution. And usually, you can get over a certain dollar amount to snag free shipping, like on BooginHead.com! We offer free shipping on orders $50 and over which, for us, is super easy to achieve with our baby gift sets or face masks. Or, let's say you need to shop for a baby, a toddler, and a teen. We got you covered:
PaciPal Teether Blanket, $13.99
SplatMat high chair mat, $16.99
Face Masks, $19.99
That's $50.97 total! Free shipping, and three gifts knocked out!
We bet your favorite online retailers offer a similar deal on free shipping, and of course we all know Amazon is the King of the multi-pack.
Cheap Christmas Idea #5: Take advantage of one day deals
Gone are the days when you had to stand outside in the cold all night for the chance to get a flat screen TB for $99. In fact, gone are the days when specials are only one single day. Most online shops have been offering Black Friday deals for weeks, and there are some super sweet deals out there.BooginHead has a great deal going through the rest of December - enter code WINTER20 at checkout for 25% off your order of $50 or more. We flatter ourselves to think BooginHead appears to be a much larger company than it is, but in reality, we're woman-owned, seven moms and dads doing it all by ourselves. We have one tiny office and one little store in Issaquah, Washington, and all our products have been mom-invented since 2005 when our CEO Sari Davidson invented the first sippy cup holder, SippiGrip.
Where it all began
We're so excited to offer the kind of deal that will help other moms and dads find good stuff they need to keep their babies clean, healthy, and happy, at accessible price points that respect the fact we're in an economic downturn right now.
Plus, we donate a portion of our monthly proceeds to COVID-19 relief and the fight for a more just and equitable world via Black Lives Matter and LGBTQIA+ equality initiatives. You can shop your values with BooginHead.
Cheap Christmas Idea #6: Handmade ornaments & paper crafts
300 sparkly pipe cleaners will set you back about $9, but with them the possibilities are endless. Just look at these beauties:
LOL a grown adult made these
But seriously, better minds than ours are out there dreaming up gorgeous decorations using nothing but pipe cleaners. Check out this list of easy pipe cleaner ornaments from One Little Project's Debbie Chapman:
Oh, yep, that's more like it. (c) Debbie Chapman
Not to surprise anyone, but the internet is a treasure trove of DIY ornament instructions using not much but the stuff already in your house. Or lying around outside your house. This list from Good Housekeeping has an adorable ornament made with twigs and string.
I mean, come on. That's cute. And currently in your driveway.
Cheap Christmas Idea #7: STAY HOME
Do ya need to be told at this point? THERE IS A PANDEMIC. This cheap Christmas idea is the same idea we put into our Thanksgiving Blog, because unfortunately it still holds. Here's a reminder of what you're going to save if you don't go anywhere this Christmas.
Besides LITERAL HUMAN LIVES, you'll save money on plane tickets or gas. You'll save time on packing. You'll save the stress of cooking in, sleeping in, and otherwise existing in an unfamiliar house that's probably packed with a bunch of people. You'll save your back from an air mattress, you'll save your kids from an interruption of routine, you'll save time cooking for a crowd, you'll save sleep and you'll save anxiety. The holidays are notorious for fomenting inter-familiar strife and stirring up drama between different viewpoints and political beliefs. Just Say No this year. Now, we are not saying avoid those discussions entirely. Not at all. BooginHead does not shy from taking a stand. We are saying, avoid those discussions at Christmas. You can take one day off for your own mental health.
And there you have it! Seven cheap Christmas ideas to make some cheap holiday cheer. We'd love to know your ideas so we can add to the list and sing your praises.
We wish you a happy and healthy holiday filled with love, laughter, rest, and relaxation. You deserve it.
BooginHead is a small, independent, woman-owned business, and a portion of our monthly proceeds are donated to COVID-19 relief local and nationwide, and to the fight for a more just and equitable world. See our BooginHead Blog for details on that and our other philanthropic efforts!