It's happened to all of us.
Just last week it was spring, and now we're smack dab into November- otherwise known as The Holiday Panic Attack.
You look at your bank account and the computer laughs at you. You have enough left after bills to get 30 minutes on a parking meter, but not enough to actually buy anything. So here are a few hints and tips to help get you through The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (other than Back to School Days):
What can you re-gift? Look around your house for things that you no longer need or want but can serve as a great gift for someone else. That old ceramic dish with the chip you used for nuts would be perfect for Aunt Methuselah's new ashtray (the chip serving as the holder for the 'cancer sticks' she uses).
What about that ceramic owl Granny Gertie gave you eons ago? It would be perfect for your cousin's new house in the boonies! Wasn't she having trouble with birds in her garden? Just drill a few holes in that sucker and add some sturdy rope, and you have a great gift!
Or if you're a crafter, take a look at all the stuff you haven't used in a while. Pom-poms can be made into art nouveau- ever see that painting with all the dots? Same theory, different material- and it's soft too!
As for the kids? Collect their dirty clothes they were supposed to wash weeks ago, wash and fold them, then wrap them. Won't they be surprised Christmas morning!
Bake from Scratch if possible. Homemade cookies are cheaper to make from scratch than those store-bought rolls of dough, so let's see if you have enough ingredients. You can always improvise with cake mix, pancake batter or biscuit mix, as long as you have something sweet to add, like small candies (leftover from Halloween), jimmies (or sprinkles), or chocolate chips. Or take a hammer to the fun sized Hershey bars- whatever works!
Do you already have store-bought cookies? Great! Make a lightly sweet frosting made with cream cheese and heavy cream to put in between two cookies and let them sit in the fridge overnight. The cookies will be soft, and no one will know the better (especially if the cookies were a little stale)!
Have a freezer potluck. Those that insist on coming over must bring something, and you spend the day before the event clearing out your freezer and defrosting.
The best thing about potlucks is that anything can be served- including BBQ ribs, hamburgers, and those chicken nuggets that were on Manager's Special.
Have everything 'casual'- that means paper plates and plastic forks- so you don't have any clean up and no one will know you're on your last ounce of dish soap.
Have someone bring something to drink or make a gallon of 'Christmas celebration tea' with all of your odd tea bags. Feel free to spike it with any leftover alcohol for after dinner.
Do all of these things and you'll not have to spend a dime- and still make everyone happy!*
*writer's note- this post is purely satire- though when in desperation I have considered doing some of these for just me, my husband and the kids! ;P