Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

I would like to wish a Merry Christmas to all of my friends here at the Frugal Workshop.  I hope your Christmas has turned out to be all that you wanted it to be. We decided early on this month to have a simple Christmas and that is exactly what we had. 

This was the first year that I did not send out any Christmas cards, which I have always done. I also did not order school pictures for my daughter this year, which I normally include in the Christmas cards. Since my daughter is in a new school this year the ordering process was different and seemed overwhelming to me at the time. And since I do take a lot of pictures of her, I decided against buying them at this time. These things took a back seat as I had more important things on my agenda this year.

We also decided earlier in the month not to put up our Christmas tree this year. This year, more than any other year, we had a lot on our plate. We became caretakers for my Mother and that involves a great deal of work, which takes up a great deal of our time and energy. Considering the fact that we thought we were going to lose her in September, we are counting our blessings that she is with us this Christmas holiday. Here is a picture of her on Christmas morning:

I had considered buying a small pine tree with red bows from Wal-Mart, but in the end decided against that idea. In the first place the tree cost $12 and I can think of several things we could buy with that money instead of a tree that would need to be planted later. We already have a small artificial tree in our closet that we could have used if we’d wanted to spend the energy in that direction. But, when it came right down to it, we didn’t want to use the energy to bring it out and then use more energy a few days later to put it away again. The majority of our energy right now is spent taking care of Mom and her needs, so this year we decided against a tree. 

However, we did place a few Christmas items around the house to make it look festive. And my daughter did decide to print out a colored picture of a Christmas tree and taped it to the TV screen on Christmas morning.

This year we planned on less food and simpler meals. Tired of the traditional dishes we normally serve at this time of year, we decided to make lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner and then make a roast with potatoes and carrots for Christmas dinner. I did away with the punch, cheese ball, jello salads, Italian beef, Sloppy Joes, and Ham this year. We not only saved a lot of money on groceries this year, but we saved a lot of time as well. 

We did manage to make some Christmas goodies though. We made Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s, and Oreo Balls. My daughter has taken an interest in cooking recently and she ended up making most of these goodies. 

Christmas presents were also kept simple this year. I bought both of my parents two presents each. Mom received two pair of pajamas, which she needed and, which made it easier for us to change her when necessary. I also bought her the first season of Matlock on DVD. Dad received the new Hamilton Beach Scoop coffee maker, which he asked for along with the first season of American Pickers on DVD. Here is Dad on Christmas morning:

My daughter’s grandparents received simple gifts too. Her grandfather received a pair of flannel pajama pants, which was request while her grandmother received a personalized bag from Vista Print, which I received free through the Swagbucks website, and only had to pay shipping for. Since it was personalized she loved it!  I also included a small notebook in her bag. 

The other person I bought for this year was my daughter. As you all may recall I had earned $225.00 through Swagbucks this year, which I used for Amazon gift certificates. I ended up buying her an HP Tablet as her main Christmas present. After applying the gift certificates I ended up paying $116 for the tablet. Swagbucks was a wonderful program for me this year and I plan on continuing with it next year as well. Here is a picture of my daughter with her new tablet:

Other gifts that I bought for her included a much needed new pair of Converse sneakers, a bottle of perfume, a scarf that she requested, and two movies that she requested, which are Julie and Julia and the Devil wears Prada. 

This year I did not buy any wrapping paper, bows, or name tags. Wrapping paper I already had from last year, which was bought on an after Christmas sale, which I blogged about here. I paid 86¢ per roll and used less than two rolls. 

This year, instead of buying name tags, I used a black permanent marker and simply wrote the name on each gift. I didn’t buy any bows either, although my daughter did get creative with the bows on her packages. 

She bought me three gifts this year. A laptop cooler, the first season of the TV show Hoarders, and a beautiful tea pot, cup and saucer set. I enjoyed my free Christmas tea with the later gift. 


This was the first year in a long time that I kept Christmas presents simple like this and you want to know something? I really liked it. It felt good to have my Christmas shopping done early and not feel the need to continue to buy things. Making a simple Christmas menu also felt good to me and I’ve always wanted to spend time with my family rather than be in the kitchen cooking on Christmas day. I used my Nescoe roaster to cook Christmas dinner and I didn’t have to spend much time in the kitchen this year. That was a gift to me this year! 

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas holiday this year as well! :)

© Belinda Richardson and Frugal Workshop, 2012.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”


  1. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
    Your Christmas sounds wonderful.
    I do think we've gotten carried away in our culture, with all the Christmassy extras, like the bows and decorations. When all our families really want is for us all to be together.

    So your daughter baked those goodies. Good for her! And they look so yummy!

    Hope your holiday week continues to be joyful!

    1. Thank you, Lili. Yes, my daughter did a good job on those goodies. She does not normally like to cook, but she has taken an interest lately, so I'm very happy about that. Thank you again, and I hope you week continues to be joyful too. :)

  2. Belinda, you did really good. I too kept it simple. What exactly are swagbucks?

    1. Hi Fiesta. Thank you. :) Swagbucks are virtual currency. I have a page about it where I discuss it in detail if you want to check it out. :)

      Here is a link:

  3. Belinda, your Christmas sounds absolutely perfect! Agree that simplicity can be soothing. As you know, this was a year of transition, our first Christmas as a now divorced family with parents living in 2 different homes, at least in the same town. Do what feels best, is usually the right idea!
    Have a great New Year! Great pictures, especially of you Mom, she looks very sweet.

    1. Thank you, Carol. I know you all had a year of transition this year. Sounds like it went smoothly from reading your blog. I hope you all have a terrific New Year too. :)

  4. Bailey did a beautiful job on those goodies. She seemed happy with her gifts and everything sounded lovely. I always strive for less hectic holiday, but somehow it doesn't happen. We had a good Christmas even though it wasn't nearly as calm as yours. Your mom must have been happy to be able to join in the holiday after what she had been through.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Mary Lou. I'm glad to hear you had a good Christmas too. Mom was happy for the most part. I know she will be happier still when she can walk on her own. Slowly but surely she is getting there. Happy New year to you too. :)

  5. I am so so there with you on simple Christmas--we tried to make our presents this year it is wonderful to do but so much easier to throw money at it that to work hard at it

    1. You're right, Laura. It is easier to throw money at it than to work at having a simpler Christmas. We are definitely going to do it this way again next year. :)
      Thank you for visiting, it's so nice to have you here. :)


I’m so glad you’re here, taking time out of your day to comment on my blog.

Frugal Workshop is designed to be a source of information, encouragement and inspiration.

Negative comments will not be published. If you’re in the mood to troll, keep on scrolling.

Comments are moderated manually, and may take a few hours for them to appear. Thank you for understanding.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...