The following is a guest post from Stephani of The Cheapskate Cook
I am far too old to act like this on Christmas Eve, and yet I consistently do.
I go to bed excited. I sleep fitfully, and even before I had a toddler who woke me up before dawn, there is only one day out of the year I am almost guaranteed to greet the rising sun. The movies might say I have true Christmas Spirit. However, I’m just a sucker for Christmas morning.
I love the gathering of the family, the crackling of the fire in the fireplace, the sight of my children looking for their stockings, the thrill of ripping open paper, and watching others open our carefully selected gifts.
What I don’t like about the morning is the post-Christmas clutter (although even that has a thrill to it – “look at all this loot!”). Our home is cozy enough that I need to keep a tight reign on the amount of stuff we own. While I can’t control what other people give our children (and who want’s to be that parent anyway?), I can control what we give them.
This means our stockings are very well thought out. My husband and I decided that rather than filling it with toys we have to find homes for, we buy one or two small toys for each stocking then fill the rest with things our kids love but are basically disposable.
Here are some ideas:
Simple Clutter-Free Stocking Stuffers
Since we do a lot of homemade food, packaged snacks are cause for excitement. I’m okay with that. It’s kind of like how excited I get when we decide to order pizza for dinner.
Nevertheless, I try to balance food with good food. We splurged on food that was packaged in a fun way but wasn’t straight up junk. I hate playing food cop – I’d rather just provide fun, moderately okay food the kids can eat whenever they like.
- Fruit leather
- Puffs (for the baby – great way to fill a stocking for a baby who doesn’t really care yet)
- Animal crackers (in the classic box – because you know that’s the only way to really eat animal crackers)
- Squeezy fruit purees
- Orange (a classic)
- Special trail mix (their favorite – not just a healthy or cheap one)
- Individual oatmeal packets (for an easy Christmas breakfast)
- Hot chocolate mix
- Apple cider mix
- Individual packets of peanut butter or almond butter
- Gum or mints
Other clutter-free ideas
- Silly string
- Play dough
- Coloring books
- Colored Pencils
- Drawing pad
- Good quality classic book you want them to keep
- CDs of kids’ worship music or Bible songs
- Nail polish
- Fun toothbrush (for example, the kind that lights up or vibrates or has a picture of a favorite character)
- Cardboard popcorn boxes to go with a $5 DVD
Obviously some of these are more appropriate for older kids, some for younger. You know your child best.
Whether you’re the type who eagerly greets Christmas morning or who stumbles out of bed mumbling, “Coffee…”, may you be surrounded by the people you love, remember the true meaning of it all, and have a somewhat clutter-free Christmas.
When Steph and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Steph was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget. So The Cheapskate Cook was born.