I love Christmas, but it can be a time of materialism and a time where you are just overwhelmed with too much stuff. Here are five ways and ideas on what to save this year, so that next year you have a frugal holiday.
Curling Ribbon as Confetti: My family was never big into celebrating New Year’s Eve, so there was never any poppers or confetti around the house. One year, around the age of twelve or so, I started saving the curling ribbon from presents. I would then cut it into little pieces and save it in a cup to throw for the New Year’s Eve countdown. Now that I am older, I know that confetti is not that expensive, but this would still make a fun activity for kids. Plus, you will get one more use out of the ribbon you were going to throw away. Clean up is simple – just vacuum it up!
Wrapping Supplies: Every year, I save all the Christmas gift bags and tissue paper and put them away nicely with the Christmas decorations. When I pull everything out for the next year, gift-wrapping is not only free, but also quick and easy. Considering I have a stash of 10-20 bags and tissue paper, I estimate that I save $20-40 each year, opposed to having to go out and buy those bags.
Wrapping paper is trickier to save and reuse, but it can always be used for crafts, such as scrapbooking, collaging, and more.
Holiday Cards: Christmas cards can also be turned into Christmas crafts next year. They can be cut and made to make new cards, gift tags, or even Christmas decorations. I have seen cute decorations, such as paper chains and paper banners, made out of Christmas cards.
I know some of the local prisons reuse old Christmas cards. They just paste a new sheet of paper on the inside for inmates to write their family a special holiday message. I would inquire your local prison and/or halfway house to see if there is a need. Don’t forget to donate unused stamps and writing utensils as well!
Christmas Goodies: Overwhelmed by the amount of sweets and cookies you received this year? You are not alone. While your tipping scale may make you want to throw all your sweets away, you can actually reuse them later. Non-frosted cookies can be made into cookie crumbs for the lining of pies, cheesecake, and other desserts. Just grind similar cookies finely and store them in the freezer. You won’t be tempted to eat them now.
Similarly, chocolate pieces can be chopped finely to be added to cookies later on. You may have to store these deep in the freezer to keep from indulging on them. Just think how tasty chocolate covered caramels would taste in a batch of cookies later on.
Christmas Meals: Many are already planning on reusing Christmas and New Year meal leftovers (if they have not been eaten already). Just about anything can be frozen and used for later. My family celebrates with seafood and Italian food, both which are easy to be frozen and used again. My husband’s family serves tamales, which are also an easy meal to freeze and reheat.
Leftover loaf bread can be turned into overnight French toast. Leftover mashed potatoes can be frozen and used again when making soup. Ham and turkey can be chopped and frozen and added to just about any meal. Use the bones to make a yummy broth or soup too. Obviously, this frozen food should be eaten throughout the next 3-6 months, not saved for next Christmas.
Get creative with ways to reduce what you throw away this year. It is easy to store Christmas cards and bags to be used for next year. You may be surprised with how much money you save next year by what you save this year.