How do we Do More with Less? Here are a few ways:
The holidays are almost gone and with it came wonderful memories that, as a mom, I hope will be cherished in the years to come.
Several years ago, I have started FRUGAL CHRISTMAS and our family has been practicing this ever since.
Here are a few of the Frugal Christmas practices I have done since I started though a lot of it, I have not blogged about:
• Family photo Christmas tree ornaments which started as a project back when we were still homeschooling. These ornaments still adorn the tree and we have added more updated photos.
• Handmade tree decorations. Children and adults as well should try this to foster bonding time, personalize their trees and unleash their creative energies. These hand-made Christmas stockings still hang from our tree this year. This year I added a 3D Christmas tree made of gold tinsel to the Christmas wreath I decorated hanging on our front door. The excess tinsel was used to wrap gifts.
• Japanese paper as gift wrapper. You can choose any color you like depending on the theme of your gifts. This year, I used yellow Japanese paper with gift tags made by one of the children.
• Baked goods wrapped in yellow Japanese paper with personalized gift tags. Since we bake at home, it has been our practice to give baked goodies to friends. (see photo above)
• Personalized gift tags. You can either print these yourself or make from scratch. We always opt for the latter.
• If you love going to bookstores and bookstores that sell bargain books, then you can spend a little time scouring bargain books to give to book-loving people.
• Hand-made gold ribbons hang on our tree every other year. These have seen a lot of Christmases and hang alternately every year with the red ribbons. This year, we are having the red ribbons.
• Hand-made notepads. The last two years had us made notepads to give to the children’s friends. These were made during times when they have “nothing to do”. They also assembled these while watching their favorite videos on their gadgets.
• For this year’s Christmas, everything we served for the Noche Buena were home-cooked or home-prepped:
o Baked ham
o Chicken pasta and chicken fajitas (blog post coming up soon)
o Slow-cooked chicken
o Cheese platter
Blueberry cheesecake by the eldest child finally sliced and tasted, a day after Christmas! This is easy to make and you spend less than if you buy commercially baked ones.
For our family reunion Christmas lunch, we brought slow-cooked ribs and the eldest child made brownies. Easy-peasy prep, right?
Photo below is the Electrolux microwave being used to melt chocolates for the brownies.
I know the list is getting longer so I will stop. Finally, yes!
What do all these things mean for “Do More with Less” when it feels like there is so much to do with all the crafts that involve conceptualizing, cutting and pasting and with the baking and cooking tasks?
All these tasks, we do not do year after year. For the tree decorations, since we have plenty of these (and hand-made too!) we alternate what we put up on the tree. Buying Christmas tree decorations every year is not something we do since we already have at home. Baking goodies for family and friends is what we love to do and for the last three years, the children are tasked to do these, making me have more time to do other chores. The personalized gift tags are easy to make because we have been doing this for several years already.
We “Do More with Less” by planning ahead, making lists and following up on schedule to avoid the hustle and bustle of the season. The gift packs for the village guards and Noche Buena packages for the families of Manang Salve (who helps clean the backyard) and Joey (our occasional DIY guy) have been distributed a day or two before Christmas Eve. Christmas and New Year’s Eves are not main worries because we already have the things that needed on-hand and so we don’t have to join the rush to purchase what was not bought and getting stressed caught up on long supermarket queues and traffic jams.
We “Do More with Less” investing in reliable appliances like Electrolux that make chores easier so we don’t see housework as burdens. Our Electrolux Vacuum Cleaner is something the kids use by themselves. This is the youngest child’s task: cleaning the area where the puppy stays.
We “Do More with Less” by giving more importance to tasks that foster spending time with our loved ones.
Aside from not spending too much money, the family also tends to give importance in having more time bonding because we are all working together to make wonderful Christmas memories that we will look back with fondess, joy and love.
“Do More with Less” everyday, it is good for the mind, body and spirit.