This year is really, really tight for us in regards to spending for Christmas gifts. Shoplifting with Permission (don't you love that name?) has asked the question, "How are you planning to have more holiday fun this year?" Well, it isn't much fun to watch 5 kids' enthusiasm (the big kids as well as the little ones) when you don't have much to give them. Yeah, we have the love and joy of Christ but still....you feel bad because you want to give them SOMETHING!
Here's how I've been working all year long to "earn" gifts rather than just spend out of pocket. I have quite a stash built up. They aren't expensive gifts, but they'll make our children happy.
1. I've earned gift cards to various stores by taking online surveys. I think in total I have $75 worth.
2. I play games on Live Search Club and have earned a bunch of prizes, all shipped free too, that I've stored away for every person on my list.
3. Some of the survey places give you the option of ordering actual "things" rather than gift cards or cash. I have ordered and received many gifts this way.
4. I have entered some drawings and hope to win some gifts for the kids.
5. I have received some sample items in the mail and have stored them away for stocking stuffers. This will make the older boys happy, as they're items they really like.
6. I have used coupons combined with sales to get some things either free or almost free. These too are stored away for Christmas.
7. Last but not least, I am making some items myself. I'm not earning them but I'm not spending tons out of pocket either.
As I see it, I can't give cheerfully and with the joy of the Lord if I know the gifts are putting us deeper into debt. God wouldn't want me to go into debt for gifts either. We have triple whammy at Christmas time because Evan's birthday is right before Christmas and Josh's is right after it. How do you get enough money to cover all of that? This year will be happier for all of us because we're not sacrificing bills to buy something for somebody, yet we're still giving quality gifts.