Pulling Christmas/life out of a hat: musings

Pulling Christmas/life out of a hat: musings

Joined: August 3rd, 2010, 6:06 pm

April 5th, 2012, 3:27 pm #1

Max's original post quoting Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad gazette about pulling Christmas out of a hat along with Kim's follow up that maybe in her 20's Ok, but now that she's older she doesn't want to sit on broken furniture making stars out of repurposed grocery bags got me thinking. . .

this past year has been a difficult one on many fronts, for my immediate family, especially financially. I DID pull Christmas out of my hat this past Dec; we had a nice meal at home, fewer gifts were exchanged (homemade, purchased second hand, used CC points to get them, etc). We did have a free to us tree as DS worked at a tree farm (nice perk!), I reused wreaths that I made years ago, I already had cards on hand, and extended relatives got the usual school photos of the kids in them. I worked my magic-It was a nice day. I guess my point is that although circumstances restricted our holiday celebration, but it was a lovely celebration all the same. Would I have preferred not to have had to be so creative/resourceful-sure, it just was what it was. I entered Jan with no credit card debt, either. Goal met.

I knew ahead, however, that that would be our last Christmas together as a family, as I was waiting until after the holidays to file for divorce. It was a long time coming; I have been relieved ever since I made the decision. I am taking control over my life and how I choose to live it. This is not an easy journey, but one that I must take for my kids, as well as for myself.

I am now looking ahead to my new life as a single Mom, with 3 kids at home: another one away at college most of the year, one to commute to a local college from home, 2 entering high school. I will again celebrate Christmas with my kids this year (only 8 months away)just in a new to us domicile, yet to be determined.

STBX and I will be hashing out who takes/keeps what as far as furnishings go. I will need to acquire some new/new to me furnishings. Definately a kitchen set, possibly a futon/pull out couch, some end tables, lamps, etc. I plan on being in a rental for one year, as the dust settles so to speak, my equity from the home is cashed out, then I'll know what I will have towards a down payment on a new place, and I will have time to decide just where that will be, what my priorities are for my next place. Some rentals will mean that I have to furnish my own washer/dryer. Real estate is extremely expensive here, but I've been following the listings and although not easy, one can find a rental for a bit more than I am paying for my mortgage.

As I Spring clean this week while I am home on vacation, I am mindful to note just what I have, what I can reasonably expect to take with me, any gaps. Stuff is getting tossed and other stuff is in a growing donation pile.

I was able to separate out our day to day financials prior to filing,and I continue to keep a watchful eye on expenditures with the expectation of needing to come up with most likely 2 months rent (1 mo plus deposit) as well as having some modest funds for filling any of the aforementioned gaps in the house furnishings department. All this while incurring $$ legal bills, although we are hopeful to move eventually to working with a moderator. For furnishings, I will turn to family and Freecycle first, then second hand shops/tag sales, finally buying new if all else fails. I am used to doing without/making do, so this will not be as painful for me as it may be for someone else.

Just some of my thougths this morning.

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Joined: May 24th, 2006, 7:54 pm

April 5th, 2012, 4:54 pm #2

You 'sound' like you are in good spirits and have done well planning for the next stage of your life. I know separation/divorce is difficult on so many levels.

It can be nice to keep old traditions and start new ones at holiday time. Look for appliances on Freecycle too, I gave away a washer on there at one point.

I wish you the best in your new journey!
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Joined: January 29th, 2010, 7:46 pm

April 5th, 2012, 7:18 pm #3

Max's original post quoting Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad gazette about pulling Christmas out of a hat along with Kim's follow up that maybe in her 20's Ok, but now that she's older she doesn't want to sit on broken furniture making stars out of repurposed grocery bags got me thinking. . .

this past year has been a difficult one on many fronts, for my immediate family, especially financially. I DID pull Christmas out of my hat this past Dec; we had a nice meal at home, fewer gifts were exchanged (homemade, purchased second hand, used CC points to get them, etc). We did have a free to us tree as DS worked at a tree farm (nice perk!), I reused wreaths that I made years ago, I already had cards on hand, and extended relatives got the usual school photos of the kids in them. I worked my magic-It was a nice day. I guess my point is that although circumstances restricted our holiday celebration, but it was a lovely celebration all the same. Would I have preferred not to have had to be so creative/resourceful-sure, it just was what it was. I entered Jan with no credit card debt, either. Goal met.

I knew ahead, however, that that would be our last Christmas together as a family, as I was waiting until after the holidays to file for divorce. It was a long time coming; I have been relieved ever since I made the decision. I am taking control over my life and how I choose to live it. This is not an easy journey, but one that I must take for my kids, as well as for myself.

I am now looking ahead to my new life as a single Mom, with 3 kids at home: another one away at college most of the year, one to commute to a local college from home, 2 entering high school. I will again celebrate Christmas with my kids this year (only 8 months away)just in a new to us domicile, yet to be determined.

STBX and I will be hashing out who takes/keeps what as far as furnishings go. I will need to acquire some new/new to me furnishings. Definately a kitchen set, possibly a futon/pull out couch, some end tables, lamps, etc. I plan on being in a rental for one year, as the dust settles so to speak, my equity from the home is cashed out, then I'll know what I will have towards a down payment on a new place, and I will have time to decide just where that will be, what my priorities are for my next place. Some rentals will mean that I have to furnish my own washer/dryer. Real estate is extremely expensive here, but I've been following the listings and although not easy, one can find a rental for a bit more than I am paying for my mortgage.

As I Spring clean this week while I am home on vacation, I am mindful to note just what I have, what I can reasonably expect to take with me, any gaps. Stuff is getting tossed and other stuff is in a growing donation pile.

I was able to separate out our day to day financials prior to filing,and I continue to keep a watchful eye on expenditures with the expectation of needing to come up with most likely 2 months rent (1 mo plus deposit) as well as having some modest funds for filling any of the aforementioned gaps in the house furnishings department. All this while incurring $$ legal bills, although we are hopeful to move eventually to working with a moderator. For furnishings, I will turn to family and Freecycle first, then second hand shops/tag sales, finally buying new if all else fails. I am used to doing without/making do, so this will not be as painful for me as it may be for someone else.

Just some of my thougths this morning.
You have it really planned and are moving on. Stay strong and I'm sure lots of new doors will open to you. Just be careful when it gets down to the wire, divorce can cause people to do crazy things. In the 11 years I was divorced only the last 4 have been where I didn't have to always be watching my back! Stay safe and best of luck.
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Joined: August 3rd, 2010, 6:06 pm

April 5th, 2012, 7:22 pm #4

You 'sound' like you are in good spirits and have done well planning for the next stage of your life. I know separation/divorce is difficult on so many levels.

It can be nice to keep old traditions and start new ones at holiday time. Look for appliances on Freecycle too, I gave away a washer on there at one point.

I wish you the best in your new journey!
Thanks, lori
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Joined: August 3rd, 2010, 6:06 pm

April 5th, 2012, 7:24 pm #5

You have it really planned and are moving on. Stay strong and I'm sure lots of new doors will open to you. Just be careful when it gets down to the wire, divorce can cause people to do crazy things. In the 11 years I was divorced only the last 4 have been where I didn't have to always be watching my back! Stay safe and best of luck.
thanks, PJ. I have been dealing with irrational behavior . . I know what you mean. I am looking forward to a new start in life. The kids and I deserve MUCH better and I am doing something about it. : )
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Joined: October 28th, 2005, 10:05 am

April 5th, 2012, 9:06 pm #6

Max's original post quoting Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad gazette about pulling Christmas out of a hat along with Kim's follow up that maybe in her 20's Ok, but now that she's older she doesn't want to sit on broken furniture making stars out of repurposed grocery bags got me thinking. . .

this past year has been a difficult one on many fronts, for my immediate family, especially financially. I DID pull Christmas out of my hat this past Dec; we had a nice meal at home, fewer gifts were exchanged (homemade, purchased second hand, used CC points to get them, etc). We did have a free to us tree as DS worked at a tree farm (nice perk!), I reused wreaths that I made years ago, I already had cards on hand, and extended relatives got the usual school photos of the kids in them. I worked my magic-It was a nice day. I guess my point is that although circumstances restricted our holiday celebration, but it was a lovely celebration all the same. Would I have preferred not to have had to be so creative/resourceful-sure, it just was what it was. I entered Jan with no credit card debt, either. Goal met.

I knew ahead, however, that that would be our last Christmas together as a family, as I was waiting until after the holidays to file for divorce. It was a long time coming; I have been relieved ever since I made the decision. I am taking control over my life and how I choose to live it. This is not an easy journey, but one that I must take for my kids, as well as for myself.

I am now looking ahead to my new life as a single Mom, with 3 kids at home: another one away at college most of the year, one to commute to a local college from home, 2 entering high school. I will again celebrate Christmas with my kids this year (only 8 months away)just in a new to us domicile, yet to be determined.

STBX and I will be hashing out who takes/keeps what as far as furnishings go. I will need to acquire some new/new to me furnishings. Definately a kitchen set, possibly a futon/pull out couch, some end tables, lamps, etc. I plan on being in a rental for one year, as the dust settles so to speak, my equity from the home is cashed out, then I'll know what I will have towards a down payment on a new place, and I will have time to decide just where that will be, what my priorities are for my next place. Some rentals will mean that I have to furnish my own washer/dryer. Real estate is extremely expensive here, but I've been following the listings and although not easy, one can find a rental for a bit more than I am paying for my mortgage.

As I Spring clean this week while I am home on vacation, I am mindful to note just what I have, what I can reasonably expect to take with me, any gaps. Stuff is getting tossed and other stuff is in a growing donation pile.

I was able to separate out our day to day financials prior to filing,and I continue to keep a watchful eye on expenditures with the expectation of needing to come up with most likely 2 months rent (1 mo plus deposit) as well as having some modest funds for filling any of the aforementioned gaps in the house furnishings department. All this while incurring $$ legal bills, although we are hopeful to move eventually to working with a moderator. For furnishings, I will turn to family and Freecycle first, then second hand shops/tag sales, finally buying new if all else fails. I am used to doing without/making do, so this will not be as painful for me as it may be for someone else.

Just some of my thougths this morning.
I think a lot depends on 3 factors.
1. what skills you have
2. how much those you need to buy/gift for will appreciate items made with the skills you have
3. your access to rewards programs.

Thinking about myself- I can crochet some but have trouble following patterns, I knit on a more basic level and I can sew some, but don't like to follow complex patterns. I can make some jewelry and in the past I have scrap booked and I have made candles and home cooked gifts.

My kids have each received a home made quilt and all 3 of them liked them very much. I have sewn pretty flannel night gowns for DD before and she liked those. I have also made necklaces for teacher gifts and my mom, those went over well. I knitted some (painstakingly) scarvs and hats and those did not get the reaction I had hoped for in relation to how hard they were for me to make.

I have some access to rewards programs... I can get GCs with CC points and have used those both to buy gifts with as well as given those GCs as the gift. I also do swagbucks and usually use those for the amazon credits and bought several items for the kids with those- often the book/cd/dvd they wanted but in a used version.

I had to have a rather frugal Christmas this past year with having just bought the house and as a simple mom. I think I spent about $700 and that was for all 3 kids, mom, dad, grandma, brother and boyfriend. But it felt just about right to me. I also have 2 (3 if I count myself) B-days within 2 weeks following christmas, so have to keep an eye on that as well. I have no problem recieving home made or used presents myself and I am glad that my kids are the same way. I am also trying to get them used to getting less total items, not just a LOT of items bought cheaply. We talk about the 3 gifts thing, but for our own kids it's hard to not go over board.
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Joined: May 21st, 2006, 4:46 am

April 5th, 2012, 9:40 pm #7

Max's original post quoting Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad gazette about pulling Christmas out of a hat along with Kim's follow up that maybe in her 20's Ok, but now that she's older she doesn't want to sit on broken furniture making stars out of repurposed grocery bags got me thinking. . .

this past year has been a difficult one on many fronts, for my immediate family, especially financially. I DID pull Christmas out of my hat this past Dec; we had a nice meal at home, fewer gifts were exchanged (homemade, purchased second hand, used CC points to get them, etc). We did have a free to us tree as DS worked at a tree farm (nice perk!), I reused wreaths that I made years ago, I already had cards on hand, and extended relatives got the usual school photos of the kids in them. I worked my magic-It was a nice day. I guess my point is that although circumstances restricted our holiday celebration, but it was a lovely celebration all the same. Would I have preferred not to have had to be so creative/resourceful-sure, it just was what it was. I entered Jan with no credit card debt, either. Goal met.

I knew ahead, however, that that would be our last Christmas together as a family, as I was waiting until after the holidays to file for divorce. It was a long time coming; I have been relieved ever since I made the decision. I am taking control over my life and how I choose to live it. This is not an easy journey, but one that I must take for my kids, as well as for myself.

I am now looking ahead to my new life as a single Mom, with 3 kids at home: another one away at college most of the year, one to commute to a local college from home, 2 entering high school. I will again celebrate Christmas with my kids this year (only 8 months away)just in a new to us domicile, yet to be determined.

STBX and I will be hashing out who takes/keeps what as far as furnishings go. I will need to acquire some new/new to me furnishings. Definately a kitchen set, possibly a futon/pull out couch, some end tables, lamps, etc. I plan on being in a rental for one year, as the dust settles so to speak, my equity from the home is cashed out, then I'll know what I will have towards a down payment on a new place, and I will have time to decide just where that will be, what my priorities are for my next place. Some rentals will mean that I have to furnish my own washer/dryer. Real estate is extremely expensive here, but I've been following the listings and although not easy, one can find a rental for a bit more than I am paying for my mortgage.

As I Spring clean this week while I am home on vacation, I am mindful to note just what I have, what I can reasonably expect to take with me, any gaps. Stuff is getting tossed and other stuff is in a growing donation pile.

I was able to separate out our day to day financials prior to filing,and I continue to keep a watchful eye on expenditures with the expectation of needing to come up with most likely 2 months rent (1 mo plus deposit) as well as having some modest funds for filling any of the aforementioned gaps in the house furnishings department. All this while incurring $$ legal bills, although we are hopeful to move eventually to working with a moderator. For furnishings, I will turn to family and Freecycle first, then second hand shops/tag sales, finally buying new if all else fails. I am used to doing without/making do, so this will not be as painful for me as it may be for someone else.

Just some of my thougths this morning.
Don't mean to hijack this thread, but I think it is about two things--pulling Christmas out of the hat and Carol's plans to move in a different direction with her life.

Firstly, I want to congratulate you, Carol, for the way you have stayed the course. No way I could have done that! First time I got mad, he'd be gone! You've also been working through your finances very methodically...although I suspect that comes somewhat naturally to you.

But, let's talk Christmas. Seems like a lot of us were broke last November/December, and some of us still are. The daily threads really helped keep me on track. And, I loved what everyone else was doing for Christmas, especially PB's daily updates. I was even inspired to make a pair of pajamas--turned out to be DD's favorite gift--and to knit a dishcloth for DS.

At the time, we talked about getting started sooner on Christmas. So, here is my challenge: make or buy at least one gift per month. Extra credit if the gift is used or at least 75% off the regular price!

So, my April project is to knit another dishcloth. I will start another thread around the first of May to see if anyone else was inspired to start. And another around the first of June, and every month until Christmas.

Are you in?

BTW, AmyD's comment about all of us being capable of pulling Christmas out of a hat was not meant to imply that EVERY YEAR we had to sit on broken furniture and cut out stars from repurposed paper...although that's certainly an idea, LOL. The context was that if things are tight, any of us can produce a worthy Christmas. It isn't an emergency where we need to break out the CC's!
Last edited by MaxineS on April 6th, 2012, 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 21st, 2006, 4:46 am

April 6th, 2012, 12:00 am #8

I intended to include an AmyD suggestion. This month's is to learn to press flowers. (Yes...we should be seeing flowers soon!). She pointed out that a small picture would make the best gift, since something small wouldn't be considered decorating someone's home for them. Also, small picture frames are easy to find...cheap. Over the course of several issues she has had several articles about cheap picture framing and matting. I will say that I've seen some beautiful pressed flowers and would love to have a picture like this.
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Joined: May 23rd, 2006, 5:46 pm

April 6th, 2012, 12:33 pm #9

Don't mean to hijack this thread, but I think it is about two things--pulling Christmas out of the hat and Carol's plans to move in a different direction with her life.

Firstly, I want to congratulate you, Carol, for the way you have stayed the course. No way I could have done that! First time I got mad, he'd be gone! You've also been working through your finances very methodically...although I suspect that comes somewhat naturally to you.

But, let's talk Christmas. Seems like a lot of us were broke last November/December, and some of us still are. The daily threads really helped keep me on track. And, I loved what everyone else was doing for Christmas, especially PB's daily updates. I was even inspired to make a pair of pajamas--turned out to be DD's favorite gift--and to knit a dishcloth for DS.

At the time, we talked about getting started sooner on Christmas. So, here is my challenge: make or buy at least one gift per month. Extra credit if the gift is used or at least 75% off the regular price!

So, my April project is to knit another dishcloth. I will start another thread around the first of May to see if anyone else was inspired to start. And another around the first of June, and every month until Christmas.

Are you in?

BTW, AmyD's comment about all of us being capable of pulling Christmas out of a hat was not meant to imply that EVERY YEAR we had to sit on broken furniture and cut out stars from repurposed paper...although that's certainly an idea, LOL. The context was that if things are tight, any of us can produce a worthy Christmas. It isn't an emergency where we need to break out the CC's!
what does that mean to you?

what is Christmas all about anyway?

the Christmas out of a hat thing kinda lost me.. presents? really? so some go into debt or stress the budget? (not here I hope!) can't help going overboard? yeah I know a few like that.

good grief.

three was our limit so our Christmas giving was always restricted. so for me the big deals about Christmas were just never there. maybe the kids thought we should have done more but as they grew up, they actually asked for less. am not sure I ever spent even 700 dollars on Christmas - well might have come close one year or two.

the best Christmas I recall was the year we were tdy and had no Christmas decorations. we sat around and made some - yeah rather like cutting stars out of paper bags. we used the cardboard egg cartons and tab pulls. mom was very creative. we had a blast. I will always remember that Christmas as special.

other years we pulled glass ornaments from Germany out of a box. and got all kinds of gifts. I know it because we did that year after year and still do. but not a one of those Christmas seasons stands out in my mind.

you can't buy wonderful memories. you create them with love and laughter and time together. that does not take money or fancy things. relax! enjoy! make some stupid paper stars with glitter if your kids are the right age for that. spike the eggnog. DO things together!

I'd rather be discussing neat ways we make our Christmas special, than how to make sure we have "enough" stuff etc.


Myra in West Texas
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Joined: June 28th, 2009, 7:46 pm

April 6th, 2012, 12:56 pm #10

Max's original post quoting Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad gazette about pulling Christmas out of a hat along with Kim's follow up that maybe in her 20's Ok, but now that she's older she doesn't want to sit on broken furniture making stars out of repurposed grocery bags got me thinking. . .

this past year has been a difficult one on many fronts, for my immediate family, especially financially. I DID pull Christmas out of my hat this past Dec; we had a nice meal at home, fewer gifts were exchanged (homemade, purchased second hand, used CC points to get them, etc). We did have a free to us tree as DS worked at a tree farm (nice perk!), I reused wreaths that I made years ago, I already had cards on hand, and extended relatives got the usual school photos of the kids in them. I worked my magic-It was a nice day. I guess my point is that although circumstances restricted our holiday celebration, but it was a lovely celebration all the same. Would I have preferred not to have had to be so creative/resourceful-sure, it just was what it was. I entered Jan with no credit card debt, either. Goal met.

I knew ahead, however, that that would be our last Christmas together as a family, as I was waiting until after the holidays to file for divorce. It was a long time coming; I have been relieved ever since I made the decision. I am taking control over my life and how I choose to live it. This is not an easy journey, but one that I must take for my kids, as well as for myself.

I am now looking ahead to my new life as a single Mom, with 3 kids at home: another one away at college most of the year, one to commute to a local college from home, 2 entering high school. I will again celebrate Christmas with my kids this year (only 8 months away)just in a new to us domicile, yet to be determined.

STBX and I will be hashing out who takes/keeps what as far as furnishings go. I will need to acquire some new/new to me furnishings. Definately a kitchen set, possibly a futon/pull out couch, some end tables, lamps, etc. I plan on being in a rental for one year, as the dust settles so to speak, my equity from the home is cashed out, then I'll know what I will have towards a down payment on a new place, and I will have time to decide just where that will be, what my priorities are for my next place. Some rentals will mean that I have to furnish my own washer/dryer. Real estate is extremely expensive here, but I've been following the listings and although not easy, one can find a rental for a bit more than I am paying for my mortgage.

As I Spring clean this week while I am home on vacation, I am mindful to note just what I have, what I can reasonably expect to take with me, any gaps. Stuff is getting tossed and other stuff is in a growing donation pile.

I was able to separate out our day to day financials prior to filing,and I continue to keep a watchful eye on expenditures with the expectation of needing to come up with most likely 2 months rent (1 mo plus deposit) as well as having some modest funds for filling any of the aforementioned gaps in the house furnishings department. All this while incurring $$ legal bills, although we are hopeful to move eventually to working with a moderator. For furnishings, I will turn to family and Freecycle first, then second hand shops/tag sales, finally buying new if all else fails. I am used to doing without/making do, so this will not be as painful for me as it may be for someone else.

Just some of my thougths this morning.
I am in. I also plan on working two mornings per week making dolls to sell and doll clothes to give to my granddaughters, throughout the summer. I am calling it my part time job.

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