Now that it's over - anyone care to make changes?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I saw on another post to another one of us where Rejected Mom had written to REDEFINE Christmas for next year.

    What do you think are things that you can plan now to make next year better for yourself and your family?

    I sound like a Christmas elf yelling 363 days left to Christmas - but I'm serious -

    If we were to set goals NOW and work on them throughout the year - would we be better off? This is a support board - we're here to come up with ideas, thoughts, helpful suggestions and life experiences to bounce off each other. Why not for this holiday?

    How about anyone in finance or banking give us IDEAS on how to save for presents in a Christmas club account or something else?

    Those of you who are frugal - tips for saving money all year long?

    Those of you who craft or hand make things that are easy - how about a web site or cute ideas?

    We can't predict what our kids will do, we can't even predict what we will do, but if each of us had a plan with a goal? Wouldn't that be something to shoot for? Aren't we here to help each other?

    If you have a thought or suggestions to making the best out of the next holiday season - lets hear it -
    Those of you who can. Thanks. Those of you who can't and just need to blow off - so you can re-read your words - so others can say "Don't invite them next year" "Don't buy" - How about it

    We're all very clever and smart - Any ideas we could use towards a more successful time?

    Thanks each and every one of you -

    I'll start = I'm going to get an piggy bank and put $1.00 a day in it. I'm not going to touch it for anything and at the end of each week I will deposit $7.00 = I will have $365.00 to spend however I like next year.

    To do that - I'm going to start drinking water and not soda. I figure I will loose weight, and be able to see my savings.

    Not much, but it's a start.
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I think I'd like to go somewhere for the holidays next year. Just find a condo/hotel for a few days and not make a big deal about it. It was just way too stressful around here. husband is stressed, difficult child is out of her mind, Mighty Mouse's behavior was poor and it makes me nuts.

    Anyone have a cabin in the mountains somewhere that I can rent, next Christmas?
  3. Penta

    Penta New Member

    I like the piggy bank idea...and you can have more 1 year later if you deposit in an online account like INGdirect with interest of about 4.50% now.

    My goal is to save $10.00 a month and to put all the "snowflakes" (money I make from odd jobs, eBay, craigslist, my quilts etc) I can find into paying down the huge loan I have for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) where my girl spent 17 months. I figure with the payments I make now, it will take me 10 more years to pay it off.
  4. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Lower the expectations in general.

    Simplify more.

    Spend less money.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My goal is to save 50 bucks a month for Xmas in my savings account.
  6. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    <span style='font-family: Courier New'>In my dreams there are a lot of ways I would develop a beautiful holiday.

    In reality, I learned something this year. It was about shopping. Shop at least a <span style='font-size: 7'>little </span> ahead of time to avoid the expense of expedited shipping charges.

    This is the time of year that all those "feel good feelings" strengthen my resolve to make changes that I know darn well would be a good thing. The next thing that happens is that I struggle with those resolutions and endure some self placed guilt&lt;grin&gt;.</span>
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    How do you do the ING thing?
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Get offline more and use that time to make more gifts -- crotchet, sew, paint, needlepoint or cross-stitch and anything else I can find that I think I can do.

    I'm one of those that buys Christmas gifts whenever I see something throughout the year. Get more organized and put those gifts in one spot so I'm not scrounging all over the house for them.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    We had a wonderful Christmas here this year. Most years they are good, but this year was wonderful. Interesting because of financial reasons it was much skimpier than normal. The only thing I wish were different is that I wish easy child had been here on Christmas Day, but this was the year for him to be at his dad's.

    I always love the build up to Christmas and am always sad when Christmas Day is over and everything comes to a screeching halt - and life goes on as it does for the other 11 months of the year. I always want one more day before Christmas finally arrives - not because of last minute shopping, but because I want to soak in the ambiance a bit longer.

    As corny as it sounds, I'm going to try to keep that feeling with me all year. Like the Christmas songs proclaim, I have felt so much peace and joy.
  10. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    More than saving the money (though that's high on my list) I would like to pick up gifts during the year as it strikes me.

    Things have gone on & off sale all last year that I should have picked up but put off for whatever reason & it became a last minute rush to order gifts.

    So around Father's Day, I'd pick up husband's, FILs & my dad's gifts when the things that interest these gentlemen the most are out & affordable. The same for my sisters, SILs & mother in law around Mother's Day.

    I'd like to create my own cards this next year; iffy idea at best but we'll see.

    Most of all, I'd like to lower expectations for kt & wm. Continue to teach the idea of giving not getting. I'd really like to create my own gifts & teach the tweedles to do the same. I just don't know how to make a power saw.
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Ummmmm, Linda....just curious....what are you going to do with a power saw? :wink:

    I just got this visual of you - complete with safety goggles (Safety First!) - and your power saw creating a ginormous bird sanctuary. :smile:
  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm thinning out the Christmas decorations as I put them away this year. I've found that clutter just exacerbates my stress level. I'm also going to have to do better planning so that I have more time for myself.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think I'll turn the focus more off difficult child and start on the meaning of Christmas a little more. I had read somewhere (maybe here) a few months ago about a gift to others from the family. Instead of doing this myself and having it be a suprise to the family (me and difficult child) on Christmas Day, I'd like to make it a joint venture between us. I'd like him to help me come up with a "holiday gift" to someone or some group that needs help in some way, each of us do our part to create, make, or see that it happens, and let that be our "family gift" to others. As he gets older, he gets less presents because they cost more and because he gets more during the year as "rewards" for doing well. He used to be in scouts and do some various forms of community service, but he's out now. So, this is what I'd like to do different.
  14. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    TM, I didn't even put half the stuff out this year that I normally do.

    Also, one thing that I did not do this year was make cookies. I usually make biscotti and pinoli cookies. I was just not going to bake this year. We've been doing Atkins, so I made an Atkins friendly dessert (Cappucino Panacotta with splenda, whipped cream and berries). The rest of the desserts were store made.
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Keep them coming - I too found out that thinning out the decorations was a HUGE help for my stress level. Not SO much to put up that you got upset, not too much to put away. I did that 2 years ago. Not a single regret so I'll attest to that.

    BUYING STUFF ALL YEAR LONG - OH YES! EXCELLENT. I am going to designate a huge gift bag in the office room closet and as I get the stuff - Wrap it and write the persons name on it. As old age sets in it should be fun for all of us to open them - I won't know what they are either.

    LESS BAKING! Okay - I did one batch this year for my Mom - and I KNOW to start that early in the AM and NOT repeat NOT have wine while frosting cookies. While they were made from the heart - the ones on top in the rubbermaid cookie keeper looked like they had been decorated by angry kindergarten children.

    HOW ABOUT A GOAL OF 1st WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER you have MOST of your shopping DONE - and by the weekend after Thanksgiving The CD Board Cards are out - I really felt bad for those who asked late.

    ATKINS? EVEN BETTER THAN COOKIES. DF and I are going to be serious about weight loss in 08.

    You girls really have super ideas!

    Remember the real reason for the season -

    Keeping the spirit all year long !!

    AND A POWERSAW??? Ok I give - actually I'm very scared. lol
  16. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    There are several things I do to make Christmas have more meaning for me despite what is going on in my life at the time:

    1. I shop for meaningful gifts at the best price possible. I use a website: to help me comparison shop for big ticket items and for coupons and deals both online and off. For example, I got difficult child and pcson both 30G Microsoft Zunes for less than $100. I got husband's GPS for less than $150---so between the three items I save $350.00---that goes a long way around here.

    2. Years ago my brother and sisters and I decided to forgo the giving of gifts to each other. Instead, we all choose one needy family---someone we know or hear about through the church---and go all out on gifts. We deliver on Christmas Eve---just like Santa. It's loads of fun--we keep it anonymous---and it just makes you feel good.

    3. I keep a list of things that people tell me they like or need--or a list of problems and shop for solutions to those problems. ie, husband can't read the clock since his eye surgery---so I got him one that shines on the ceiling. His feet hurt after standing at the store all day, so I got him a infared foot massage thingy.

    4. I understand that the only person I can control is me. If I let everything one of kids do upset my day, I would never have a good day again. I realize that I can't expect anyone else to act any better than I am willing to act---so I try to act like I want everyone else too. It doesn't always work, but I'm also good at forgiving others mistakes because I am willing to forgive my own.

    5. I keep Christams traditions alive in my home. Every Christmas eve since pcson was born we have opened one gift---it's always pajamas. The kids(well all adults now) know what's in the box, but they still enjoy the tradition. We sit around, watch It's a Wonderlife, open our pj's and enjoy each other. It has happened every Christmas Eve for 25 years---and it never gets old.
  17. Sue C

    Sue C Active Member

    I have a "Christmas" folder in my filing cabinet. Each year after Christmas, I make notes for next year such as "make a double batch of peanut butter cookies (husband's favorites and they got eaten up right away"), "buy new tree stand (old tree stand is pretty bad and our tree fell down once this year and is leaning at the moment)," "don't spend as much money on Melissa's gifts," and anything else I want to remember to do or not do next year.

    Buying small gifts during the year is a good idea, but I let my kids tell me the one "big gift" they would like. This year Angela couldn't make up her mind about her and her husband 'til about a week or so before Christmas. I want more notice than that next year. :smile:

    I like Star's idea of putting $1/day away. I think I will try that.

    I also need to focus more on the "reason for the season" next year. I got too caught up in all the preparations. Like Heather, I am sad when Christmas Day is over. I want to soak up the peace of the moment.

    p.s. We're going to rethink going to husband's side of the family next year. husband and one of his brother-in-law's got into a BIG yelling fight over politics (I have never seen my husband act this way before!!). There are also so many people in such a small space and most the relatives just sit there like bumps on a log and don't even talk to anyone else. It's like they don't even want to be there, and it makes it boring for us. (yes, we've tried talking to those people) husband said maybe we should skip participating.

    A helpful hint: I have all my names/addresses in the computer and I print off mailing labels for my Christmas cards. Saves a lot of time when making out my Christmas cards. (I noticed that more than half the cards I received had labels on them, also, so I don't worry about the envelopes not looking "personal.") Also, ever since I've been married, it is a tradition to make out my cards on the day after Thanksgiving while others are out shopping in the madness. Works well for me.

  18. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm also putting all my Christmas card addresses in one spot. I absolutely hate to search for address!!! I may even buy an address book just for Christmas cards so I'm not scrambling.
    Plus, we are going back to having Duckie's Christmas picture taken Columbus Day weekend. Not picking up her pictures until December was the major reason why my cards went out so late.
  19. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    great posting idea!

    The ING thing is really easy. Just go to and you can read about all their "products". I have an orange checking account with them (no paper checks, just a mc debit card), two savings accounts (one for special stuff like Christmas or vacations and another one for savings that are not for touching), and a cd.

    I had a cd with a local bank and when it came due, I couldn't beat the 5.2% ING offered for nine months (back in October). You just link your ING savings with your local bank checking. Then you just transfer the $ back and forth between your ING savings and your local checking should you need the money. I operate on a "cash" basis during the week. I get so much cash on Thursday and that is for groceries, kid's allowance, eating out, etc. Every penny I don't spend that week goes into on eof those ING accounts. It's amazing how much I save by using cash instead of writing checks or charging for my weekly expenses. You cannot even come close to the % ING offeres on their savings accounts at any local banks. The only thing to think about is the time it takes to transfer money you need. For example, if you need to pay for something, you should allow about 4 days for ING to transfer the money into your local checking account.

    The one thing I deviated from this year was not traveling on Christmas Day. We went to my moms and I was so stressed Christmas morning thinking about how I was going to fit a bonehead visit, breakfast in the dining room with bonehead's mom, the kids opening and then playing with their gifts, and getting ready for the two hour drive to moms. I don't want to do that again. We did have a good time and mom was not in her "ultra formal mode" thankfully. But we didn't get home until almost 1 am!

    The last couple years, since bonehead moved out, the kids and I have just relaxed after bonehead's mom left after breakfast. Last year I took a nap and then we went to a movie late Chritsmas day. We came home and had holiday finger food. That's what I love - just the down time. I am determined that I will keep that tradition next year and say "no" to any out of the city invitations I get.

    I will also keep the tradition of homemade gifts for the kid's teachers. In years past I have purchased little gifts, but the kids enjoyed makeing fudge this year and packing it up in little sacks for their teachers. It was more meaningful than me just saying "this is what I got for your teacher".

    I also have downplayed the Christmas decorations since the infamous flood that destroyed most of my things a few years ago. It's amazing how quickly I can decorate and detrim when it's just the downstairs and the outside.

    I love the file idea. I think I will do that too. I saw an ultra easy macaroon recipe on the Ina Garden (think that's the right spelling) program on Food Network. I thought to myself, "wow, that's a great easy recipe for teacher gifts!" I will go and print that out and start my file for next year!

    Happy Holidays!!

  20. Penta

    Penta New Member

    Next year I am making Tyler Florence's hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows as my gifts to family...along with a tree ornament I make every year. I also have my eye on creating some beautiful paper mache bowls like some I saw advertised in a magazine...true art pieces. We'll see if mine come out as well :smile:

    I spend very little money on Christmas gifts. We live on a limited income and every cent is accounted for.