I am not a shopper.  I do not like to sort through racks, stand in line, or spend money.  But, during this time of year, I am forced to.  Out of necessity, I have certain things that I do to make this insane, and very expensive, time of year more manageable!

1)  Shop all year long.  I have a box per child that I keep in a closet.  Throughout the year as I collect items for sale on clearance, books from their school’s book sales flyers, and other “gift” items that they don’t need immediately, I put them in their boxes.  When the holidays roll around, I already have a good stash going, thus reducing my time in stores.

2)  Save gift cards!  With three daughters and three birthday’s a year, we get plenty of gift cards.  Now that most don’t expire, I compile them all and use them all during holiday time!

3)  Set up a Christmas account at your bank.  Put $25 a month in that account and you will have $300 “extra”  for gifts that you can use!

4)  Save tissue paper and gift bags all year!  Reuse them!  Plain gift bags can be spruced up with holiday stickers you get at the dollar stores!

5)  Stuff stockings with homemade treats cut into special shapes for each child!  Like the letters of their name!  They will love opening them, spelling out the names, and gobbling them up!  Plus they really fill up the stocking!

6)  Have your children use their “piggy banks” to purchase gifts for each other!  It make’s them feel special when the other child opens it and teaches them that the holidays are about giving, not receiving.

7)  Save the comics for great and colorful wrapping paper!  Adding a red or green ribbon really makes them pop at holiday time!

8)  Save boxes through the year!  There is nothing more fun than finding a favorite video game in a toaster box!

9)  Be smart about Black Friday.  Go the the one store – like Office Depot –  that the items mean the most to you and save the less important ones for later that day.

10)  Remember the holidays are about family, fun, and memories.  Don’t let  money, or lack thereof, ruin a holiday that really only needs laughter and togetherness!

These tips are simple and easy to follow.  Leaving you more time for your family and celebrations!

Happy Holidays from www.adayinmotherhood.com!

Lori Pace

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Office Depot blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 Office Depot gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

About Office Depot: 
Office Depot, Inc. is a global supplier of office products and services. The company was incorporated in 1986 with the opening of our first retail store in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In fiscal year 2009, we sold $12.1 billion of products and services to consumers and businesses of all sizes through our three business segments: North American Retail Division, North American Business Solutions Division and International Division. Sales are processed through multiple channels, consisting of office supply stores, a contract sales force, an outbound telephone account management sales force, Internet sites, direct marketing catalogs and call centers, all supported by our network of supply chain facilities and delivery operations.