Today we ate:
- Breakfast: Smoothies for Dad and LP that they downed as we raced out the door to a well-baby doctor visit.
- We all enjoyed some lemon-poppyseed muffins during a visit with friends
- Lunch: Leftover Thanksgiving deliciousness for Mom and LP. Dad had some leftover garlic and greens soup.
- Dinner: More Thanksgiving leftovers. I swear, the leftover’s are my favorite part! Followed by more chocolate cream pie – yum yum!
Today we hung out with some friends, enjoyed leftovers and took a walk around the neighborhood. I’m VERY happy to say that, on the biggest shopping day of the year, we spent NO money!
Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:
Creative Gift Giving
Gifts seem like the kind of thing we shouldn’t be cheap about. I mean, how many of us have worried about looking “cheap” when giving something? We live in a culture that often measures the value of something based on how much money it is worth, while simultaneously valuing the “skill” or “perseverance” involved in getting a “deal.” No sure what I mean? Check out the Black Friday crowds, even in a slow year!
Before we had kids I used to have long lists of the things I was going to buy for my friends and family for Christmas. I enjoyed it a little bit, but by mid-December it just became a rush to get everything bought while I also worried about my budget. After having kids, we really didn’t have enough disposable income to buy gifts and travel to see family, and we certainly weren’t going to give up the latter! So we had to be more creative with our gift-giving. This creativity not only led to a more wallet-friendly holiday season, but also to a much happier holiday season! Downsizing and re-thinking our gift-giving has taken the gift-giving pressure off of others in our lives, and has resulted in some really fun times with friends and family. We have found that other now enjoy the few thoughtful gifts we give and we are able to spend the holidays enjoying family and friends instead of stressing about what to get for them. So, here are some of our more creative gift-giving ideas.
Make your own: Let me be clear – I am not a crafty person. I like to crochet, but I have rarely made anything that really should be given to someone outside the family circle that is obligated to be nice to me about my “homemade” gifts. (Sorry family members – you know who you are!) However, even with my non-crafty nature, I have managed some semi-homemade gifts like cookies in a jar and calendars with family pictures. Heck, if I can find something crafty to give away, anyone can!
Cook up a storm: Of course, one thing I can do decently it is bake. So, another tried and true gift that many folks get from me is delicious cookies! Some of my favorites to give out are Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, Mint Chocolate Chocolate-Chip and Bourbon Balls (my mom’s recipe). These cookies are great to pack in cute hoilday tins, or even in tupperwear that you can decoarate with some ribbons or stickers. It is also nice to include the recipe you use so that your gift recipeint can make them again when they realize how delicious (and vegan!) these delightful cookies are.
Time and company: The best wedding gift the G-man and I received was from friends that took us out for a fantastic dinner a few weeks after we were married. We enjoyed an amazing dining experience and, most importantly, we got to spend time with our wonderful friends! Fast-forward six years and those same friends gave us an amazing gift again a few months ago when they came and took LP out for a morning so that the G-man could hang out with IP and I could get some much, much, needed sleep.
Too often our lives seem to move to fast and we all seem too busy to really stop and enjoy time with the people we love. So, if you are stressing about what to give someone, think about time. Can you make a date for dinner, lunch, coffee or even a hike? Can you watch their kids, do some errands for them or help them out with some yard work? The gift of time and company is one really amazing way to show someone you care.
A picture is worth a thousand words (especially when you add some words!): This is specifically applicable to people with kids. There is nothing LP and IP’s grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. like more than pictures of the kiddos!* You can take pictures at a department store, or on Santa’s lap, but you can also stage pictures in your own home as well. One of my excuses for getting a Christmas tree early is so that we can use it as the background for family pictures. Then, we have some great pictures to send to family and friends. Also, with the time I freed up from shopping (and fretting about shopping) I’m able to use to write letters. Yeah, those things we wrote before e-mail. I write letters to friends, some of whom I haven’t spoken to in a while (hello, life with kids) and send them off with pictures included. No need to also send more useless trinkets!