Christmas shopping is officially underway at the Hopson household.  My goal is to spend all my green before black Friday.  Thanks to online outlets, I’ll probably get done in a day.  Last year, I went way over budget–correction, I didn’t have a budget.  This year, I am being more mindful of my money.  Here are five ways I’m getting gifts under the tree without going under:

1.  I’m entering contests.  

With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, many retailers are getting a jumpstart on promoting items.  In addition to mailing catalogs and coupons, companies are hosting contests.  For instance, Melissa & Doug just announced their Terrific Twenty list and enlisted mommy bloggers around the world (wide web) to spread the word.  For the next 20 days, the couple–famous for their wooden toys–will give away every item on the list.  You can enter on Melissa & Doug’s Facebook page.

2.  I’m checking out other mommy blogs.  

‘Tis the season to get bloggers to boost business.  Many parenting websites, including Diary of a First Time Mom, will publish sponsored posts, which means the writer–although stating his/her own opinion–is compensated in some way to host a giveaway.  Typically, it’s ethical, since bloggers often disclose that they are getting something in return for their time and efforts. DFTM members have a chance to win this Melissa & Doug Rattle Rumble Toddler Push Toy.  My daughter received another brand for my baby shower and loves to race through the house, pushing the noisy toy along.

3.  I’m shopping my friends and family members closets.

My sister has two (spoiled) sons, and their house is overflowing with toys, books and clothes.  Just last night, she sent a box full of books home with me.  One book had a mini keyboard attached.  Over the weekend, I bought something similar, so I’m making a return and removing $10 from my charge card.  My mother, who is thrilled to finally have a granddaughter, usually buys Caitlynn a closet full of clothes, so there’s no need to put such purchases on my list.

4.  I’m shopping on deal a day sites.

Mommy needs love from Santa Claus too!  For $75, I purchased a spa day that included a mani, pedi and massage.  I also bought  100 percent Turkish towels for $37 and a $120 gift card to a posh baby boutique for 50 percent off.

5. I’m remembering the reason for the season.  

The Hopson’s have a family tradition of pulling names on Thanksgiving for a grab bag on Christmas.  We don’t buy gifts rather share Bible verses.  We select a name, find a scripture that embodies the person’s characteristics or inspires him/her in the new year.  As children, we also would exchange one homemade gift.  As a teenager, I didn’t look forward to getting a sermon, even though the messages were always filled with Jesus’ love.  As an adult, I smile when I come across note cards tucked away in my bookshelf and read what my grandparents wrote years before they passed on.

What would you add to this list?  Leave a comment to enter to win the prize pictured above.  

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

4 Responses

  1. Djrelat7

    wow this is a great list of how to shop for the holiday season! I especially love number 5; I think I may do this challenge with my youth group! Thanks for the idea!

  2. Nayeli palmer

    I always pay attention on what my family and friends say they want or they like and write it down and when i find a great deal at store during the whole year I get it no just during the Christmas season. In that way I get great buys and don’t spent a ton of money at once.

  3. Terri

    These ideas are great! Also, it depends on the age of the child(ren)I know my girls are 2 and 4 and just seeing something new makes their day, so I can essentially look at clearance items and not spend so much, and looking at places like Once Upon a Child and consignment store can save a lot too! I wish everyone a happy savings holidays 🙂

  4. Kenyatta

    This is my little girl’s first Christmas. So excited! Got tons of things from my baby shower, so we’re still opening those presents!


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