Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Three Ways to Plan a Frugal Christmas Your Family Will Want to Remember
By: Denise Willams
Christmas has easily become one of the most expensive and stress-filled holidays we celebrate each year.
That's a little ironic considering Christmas all began with the birth of a Baby in a lowly stable, and was celebrated only by shepherds who were out in the fields with their sheep. Two thousand years later, we still remember that day and honor the birth of a Babe who owned few material goods yet whose life changed the world.
Is this the year you want to help your family put aside all their material expectations, and create a meaningful Christmas they will want to remember?
Here are some simple things you can do to remove financial considerations from your holiday, and focus on what's truly important.
1. Begin the Christmas season by having a frank talk with your family about the meaning of Christmas and your desire to change the emphasis of your celebrations this year. Plan ahead of time how you will express your thoughts and plans to your young children, older children and teens, or even the friends and extended family members you celebrate with.
Don't start out the conversation by saying, "We don't have the money for Christmas that we usually do..." Instead focus on your changing priorities. Christmas celebrations are not about money, but about the desires of our hearts. Speak to your loved ones from your heart, not from your wallet, about the kind of Christmas you want to celebrate this year. Otherwise, you're perpetuating the myth that Christmas is all about money.
2. Add a twist to your favorite traditions by using them to serve others. Do you fill your freezer with holiday baking each year? Go crazy decorating your Christmas tree? Maybe taking to the malls is an important way for you to get into the Christmas spirit each season.
You don't need to stop doing these activities that you look forward to each year. But now that you're planning a frugal Christmas that's not money focused, you can use these activities to serve others.
Instead of baking just for your family, share your baked goodies with shut-in folks and lonely neighbors, or hold a bake sale to raise money for a children's charity. Decorate a Christmas tree for someone who can't do it on their own, or for a homeless shelter. Instead of browsing the malls for piles of Christmas gifts like you usually do, remember those in need and buy them necessities that would make their lives easier. Contact a homeless or a women's shelter to find out what items are needed. These will cost you a lot less than buying extravagant Christmas gifts, and the joy you get from giving them will last a lot longer.
3. Plan ahead so you and your family won't feel deprived during the holiday season. Don't just write up a list of things you won't be doing this year. Make a list of all the new activities you'll be replacing them with.
If you usually spend Christmas Day opening your gifts and oohing and aahing over what everyone got, you will feel disappointed when there's not as much to open and nothing left to do on that day. Plan to fill the day with other things to keep your mind on the true meaning of the season.
Some ideas might be to hold an open house and invite everyone you know to drop by. Invite a senior who is home alone this year to come for Christmas Day. Serve a meal at a shelter. Think of ways you can bless others and then get the whole family involved in doing them.
Article Source: http://www.wahm-articles.com
Would you like to enjoy a meaningful, peace-filled Christmas this year? Denise's Christmas e-book, Saving Christmas, has 30 Christmas ideas, tips and stories that will help you do exactly that, and comes with bonuses to share with family and friends all year long. Visit SavingChristmasBook.com to download your copy and start planning a Christmas you and your family will want to remember for a lifetime.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Author: Book Lover | Posted at: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 | Filed Under: Freebies
With recipes as flavorful and varied as each of the family members and friends you can expect to see this holiday season, CARNATION makes all your holiday meals and desserts richer and creamier. Get it Here
By: Shelly Hill
This is a great project that utilizes some recycling...you will need a fast-food drink carrier or cardboard egg box to make your own paper pulp.
Ages: 8 and up with adult supervision.
Cardboard Fast-Food Drink Carrier or Cardboard Egg Box
White Crafting Glue
Styrofoam Ornament Balls
Blender with tap water
Old Plastic Bowl
Foam Sponge Paint Brush
White, Black and Orange Acrylic Paint
(optional) scrap piece of fleece fabric
Making The Paper Pulp - Rip your empty paper drink carrier or empty egg box into small pieces. Place the pieces into an old plastic bowl. Pour in just a little bit of tap water and let the pieces soak for 60 minutes. Once they are good and wet, Pour paper mixture into a strainer. Using your hands, squeeze out excess water. Place paper pulp into your blender container and blend on low speed so that it gets mushy. Pour the pulp back into your empty plastic bowl. Stir in some white craft glue so that you are forming sticky paper pulp. Mine is the consistency of lumpy dough.
Making The Snowball - Using a foam-style paint brush, lightly spread white craft glue on 1/2 of your Styrofoam ball. Using your hands...pat on the paper pulp dough so that you are covering the top half of your ornament ball. Repeat this process on the bottom half of your ball. Once done, hang the ball up via the clothespin so that it can dry and harden. (mine take approximately 16 to 24 hours).
Adding The Facial Features - Once your ball is dry, paint with two coats of white acrylic paint. Once that is dry, paint on black eyes, black dots for his mouth and finally, an orange triangular shaped nose.
Optional Scarf - We cut a piece of fleece measuring 1 1/2" wide by approximately 10" long and tied that into a loop and then glued it to the bottom of our ball to resemble a fleece scarf.
Article Source: http://www.wahm-articles.com
Shelly Hill is a mother and grandmother living in Pennsylvania who enjoys quick and easy crafts. You can visit Shelly's online craft site at passionateaboutcrafting.blogspot.com/ for free crafting project ideas. You can find a photo of the completed project at passionateaboutcrafting.blogspot.com/2009/12/paper-pulp-snowball-snowman-head.html
Sunday, December 13, 2009
MercyMe, the contemporary christian band that is putting out some of the best new music in this genre, has made their live album "10 Live" available for a free download.
If you go to http://www.mercyme.org/, you will give them your name and your email address, and they will email you a code for a free download of the album.