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Christmas Countdown - May, the time for inspiration

by Jenny

My ribbon and bead drawer - in need of some Christmas colors!

My ribbon and bead drawer - in need of some Christmas colors!

Well for me it's the start of Summer! It's a shame this is not necessarily reflected by the weather, but then you can't win it all!

As you put on your shorts and t-shirts, I suspect the furthest thing from your mind is December 25?

Well let me try to focus you back to your Christmas needs...

In this month I love to look for finishing touchs. Anything that will make the ideal gift presentation. In the bottom of sale bins, and in the bargain shops you can find some real gems for Christmas. Make sure you have a good rummage!

So what do I typically look for?

  • Fabric

  • Beads

  • Ribbons

  • Packing paper i.e. Tissue paper

  • Bows

  • Unusual tags

You can really be quite creative! You do not necessarily need to "make" anything now, but store these items ready for when you do wrap your gifts.

Are You On Schedule?

If you are on schedule, why not go the extra mile? You can get your crafting inspiration underway and create your own handmade gift tags.

These do not have to be completed in paper, or even parchment.

Unsure how else you can create these? Take a look at these suggestions...

  • Salt Dough

  • Fimo

  • Press flowers

  • Fabric

If you are talented with wood or metal, you can use these as an alternative.

Christmas Clubs

It is also a great time of year to look at any Christmas Clubs that you have near you.

You may be able to join some online. However, you may like me have taken up the local options. I currently have two Christmas Clubs that I pay into.

How do these work?

The two schemes I have joined work slightly differently...

The Butcher

Our local butcher's Christmas Club allows you to save enough money for your Christmas meal. You can then pre-order the meat that you require, and you will know that you have the majority of the cost covered.

There is no set amount to put into the club, it is as much or as little as you like.

This was the key element that attracted me. When I first encountered this club our money was tight. However, the few pounds I scraped together to put aside, meant that Christmas that year we ate like kings!

In fact when we next went shopping, January 3rd, it was my husband that said we should commence the new year's club!

We now participate every year - I would highly recommend it.

The Toy Shop

Yes, toys! Being a Mom of three children, our local toy shop does quite well out of us!

But have you noticed that the newest latest, greatest toy cost the earth? Then times that by three... gulp, Christmas CAN be expensive!

The toy shop in our High Street though, recognizes the fact. So to help the Mom's and Dad's out they run their own Christmas Club (you can also use for Birthday's).

This scheme is operated by selecting the toy that you wish to purchase. The shop makes a note of the toy, and stores the exact one you have selected in their store room.

You can then proceed to pay off the toy, a little each week (or month). Again, there is no set value. You need to complete the payment plan before you can take the toy - but then that is only fair!

In the month of May, I have a rough idea what my children would like as their main present. So I usually hot foot it to the toy shop and commence their Christmas Clubs.

Online Clubs

Remember to be cautious with any Online Clubs. Remember to read the small print, it is very crucial. Here are some of the details I would look for...

  1. Make sure you get 100% of what you put in, out!

  2. Go with a reputable company, not a "fly-by night". This means you will need to research companies you have not heard of!

  3. Ask questions, read the FAQ's, if there is an online forum, take a good look around.

  4. Do not part with your money, unless you are completely satisfied. If you have any doubts about the company, do not use them. If you find activities that you are not comfortable with, report the site.

You may not find a site that you are happy with, but would like to save monthly for Christmas.

I don't know about you, but there is too much temptation if I save cash in the bank, or in the house. (My will power isn't the best!)

I can offer you another alternative here... Gift Cards/Vouchers!

These can be an ideal way to save your money. Instead of saving the cash, you buy the gift coupon. This can only be redeemed at that store, so the temptation to buy something with it is less.

The only detail you need to be careful of is expiration dates. Some stores state that the cards/vouchers/coupons have a limited time for use, make sure you check these details out BEFORE you purchase! do Gift Cards, and you'll be pleased to know that they have no expiration date! You can even get them presented in a box...

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