Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cheapass Christmass!! Part 1--Cards and Newsletters

Welcome to Week One of my Cheapass Christmass!!

If I’m dedicated enough, I will attempt to post every Thursday (I can't interfere with WPN Wednesday and Yarn Porn Friday in the blogosphere!) my tips and hints for making your Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate that involves gross over-commercialization and promotes financial gluttony and overspending) the cheapest and merriest!*

This will be sort of like a reality-blog-game-show: “Can Bezzie have a very merry Christmas without going over her $250 spending limit?”

This week we cover Christmas cards and newsletters.

One of the first things I do every Christmas is make my cards. I usually do it in October. I’ve been making Christmas cards for years. Growing up enlightened with a mother and father with seven and five siblings respectively, sending Christmas cards to all our extended family got to be pretty pricey. So mom would set us up making cards in a sort of assembly line fashion. I seemed to get stuck with signing everyone's names to the cards (there's eight of us in the family). Now that I think about it, that's pretty sweatshop-esque.

About three years ago, tired of sending cards to every Uncle Tom, Grandpa Dick, and Aunt Harry, I put my foot down. I trimmed my list down to 20 friends and family that were going to get a Christmas card from us.

Sometimes you just have to make a sacrifice. If Aunt Sally doesn’t get a Christmas card is she really going to sob herself to sleep, wake up the next morning and write you out of her Will? Probably not.

This year, as most of the regulars know, I've already made my crop of Christmas cards. They were super simple and super cheapola. I used some Christmas books I found at Goodwill and a pack of 20 blank cards I bought from Michaels with a 40% off coupon.

My sister T. did some really cool cards last year too. She took a picture of herself wearing a dorkalicous snowflake fair isle Christmas sweater and a mug of hot chocolate and used photoshop to turn it into a "coloring book" picture. She printed it off on cardstock and sent it everyone with a couple of dollar store crayons and the message: "Something fun for you to do." If you have ever eaten Pez candies, you'll know exactly where she ripped this idea off from.

My cards this year however are a drastic change from last years' cards that looked like this before you opened them:


And then this when you did open them:


Oye. They were by far the most kick-ass Christmas cards I have ever made, but they were pretty pricey. About a $1 each.

BUT! Here's where a good cheapass tip comes in--recycle your scraps! I used the leftover scrap Christmas scrapbook paper from last year's cards with this year's.

Oh but wait, you really like sending those (ahem) lovely Christmas newsletters gushing about the joys of your wonderful life to all of your relatives and friends! But oh no, what if you can't afford that snazzy festive stationary at Staples to print said newsletter out on?

This year I set up a family blog where everytime we do something cool (like you know move to freakin' Texas for a bum job) or Chunky does some crazy pose, I take a picture and I post it on the family blog and send out a mass email to the relatives alerting them of a new post. I know, it's a pain to email everyone, but I'm lucky enough that my nearly 80 year old Grandma knows how to email, I can't expect her to know what an RSS feed is! When I sign my cards this year, I'll enclose the link to the website for them.

If you still want to enclose something written, might I suggest what I did last year? I enclosed a page of "Bez Libs." Remember Mad Libs? Same concept except that I wrote a brief synopsis of each month of the year ommitting crucial verbs, nouns, dates, or pronouns. I let the people on my Christmas card list decide what we did that year. For example:

"March: A little more excitement this month. Early in the month The Mad Scientist spent a week in _________(place). While he was there he hob-knobbed with other ___________(profession-plural) and learned more about the exciting field of toxicology. Later on in the month we celebrated The Mad Scientist's _________ (holiday). We ate ____________ (food) for dinner and had _________________ (flavor) cupcakes in lieu of birthday cake. At the end of the month, we dyed ____________ (noun) and the Easter ________________ (animal) visited Chunky and was generous with the jelly beans."

Keep in mind for the sake of this quote I put the actual types of words I was looking for directly in the paragraph. Keeping true to the Mad Lib spirit, when I sent the cards, I created a separate sheet asking for a list of words so people could fill them in later. Yes, we did receive a few back in the mail--too funny!

So let's recap the Cheapassedness:

* Recycle crap you have from other craft projects lying around the house

* Use used books/found items for cheap yet "interesting" cards (people will just throw out the card anyway, don't worry if it looks like crap, it's still better than the printed in China junk they paid out the nose for at Hallmark!)

* Blog your families' escapades instead of enclosing a holiday newsletter

And now for the monetary breakdown:

Blank cards purchased at Michaels w/a 40% off coupon =$3.81(includes tax)

3 used xmas books Puchased at Goodwill=$3.18 (includes tax)

Stamps for 20 cards=$7.80

Total Spent=$14.79

Total Remaining from $250 Budget=$235.21

Yeouch, I got nailed by the postage. Oh well. Hallmark can still kiss my cheapass.

Finally, to keep myself motivated, I've decided to post each week's link of cheapassy goodness in my sidebar. But of course I'll need a cute little button!! I've made two. However, I just don't know which one to pick--which do you prefer?

Cheapass Xmass 1

Ho ho ho buttcheeks? Or:

Cheapass Xmass 2

Santa butt?

*DISCLAIMER: All of the above statements were made by one crazy chick with a penchant for the crafty and waaay to much time on her hands. Try these stunts at home at your own risk. Random Meanderings, Bezzie, and/or any subsidiary of Curler N'Bubble Enterprises cannot be held responsible for fatal scrapbook paper cuts, third degree hot glue gun burns, or strangulation by excessive amounts of yarn coupled with holiday stress.


Anonymous Miss T said...

Great cards, Bezzie. I love your ideas.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Kaitie Tee said...

I love this theme - can't wait for next week's installment! I like the Santa button better.

8:47 AM  
Blogger KnitterBunny said...

ha ha ha ha ha, you're killing me here

Love the cheapass theme, keep it comin'

9:10 AM  
Blogger LadyLungDoc said...

I like the new graphic at the top. My vote is for Santa Butt as well.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Love your ideas! We're trying to do a "cheapass" Christmas, too, but I hadn't thought of making my own cards. Pretty nifty. I don't think I've bought Christmas cards in years, though. We keep getting freebies from the World Wildlife Federation and the National Save-Some-Kind-of-Something-Wild-Organization.

I like the Ho-Ho-Ho Buttcheeks.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

Santa Butt...I'm not sure why, but it seems more appropriate to the over-comercialization bit...

Wow, your last year's cards are a terrific idea. It is a hard one to top, though I though this year's cards were really cute too, really.

I was going to recommend the freebie cards as well. Though they are getting fewer and farther between of late. I may have finally moved one time too often and too far...YES!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Sherry W said...


Man you slay me!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous sandy said...

Great ideas! And such a positive attitude! It is good for me to read this! Keep it coming.
I like the HoHoHo Buttcheeks one.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Great ideas. I was thinking of doing homemade cards (a drawing on the front by Danny) to send out, and utilizing the color copier at work (free!). What do you do about envelopes?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I got a dozen Christmas cards at St. Vincents for 50 cents! But I really admired your recycled book cards.

If you want to send actual photos of Chunky to the grandmas, a 4X6 pic is often about 20 cents, while a 5x7 is several dollars. I crop and adjust the photos in photoshop, to make the most of each image, then upload to Walgreen's and have enough printed for each deserving relative: in our case about 6 copies of each picture. Most older relatives are more happy with a 20 cent picture than they would be with all sorts of more expensive stuff.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Envelopes! Good question! Well if you do what I did this year, the blank cards come with envelopes. But I'll bet El Dollar Store would have "invitation" size envelopes. If not--I know Staples does. They're a couple of bucks for about 100--obviously you probably won't use that many on xmas cards. However, they're great for using to send mini care packages in (You can fit three handknit baby hats in one!)

10:52 AM  
Blogger DomesticOverlord said...

I am all about the dollar store or Big Lots Christmas cards. I especially like when they have them in Vietnamese or Spanish. I can't tell you how many Jesus es el Senor/Feliz Navidad cards I've sent out over the years.

The butt button will be in my sidebar as soon as I can get blogger to let me update my dang blog. I'm doing my own cheapass christmas here. I don't have tips but I'll be sure to put on a show.

11:12 AM  
Blogger T. Budnik said...

Thanks for the shout-out.

I like the real-live Santa shakin' his booty for a button. It kind of reminded me of my sexy North Pole adventures. Maybe I should repost that blog for the holidays...

Keep up the good cheapassedness!


12:06 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

Oh my it was a sign I found your site!!!

I have debating my whole Christmas card situation. I told my husband last night I am cutting the list down....way down. First will be whom ever isn't seding me cards gets the cut...then it will be close family and friends that I send to.....a goal of no more then maybe 20.

Now each year I do some cute photo with the kids and take it to Costcos and have 50 cards printed up for about $25.

This year I am still gonna go cute photo but am going to print them up here at home on dollar store Christmas paper and send them out in dollar store envelopes (50 for a buck) and there will be far less stamps involved due to the cutting of the list.

Love your card ideas!!!!!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Pyewacket said...

The Madlibs is pure genius. I may not be organized enough to pull that off this year, but I'm definitely filing that one away.

Another vote for Santa Shakin' It!

12:43 PM  
Blogger sgeddes said...

The theme is great! My vote is for Santa's butt.

The new header is great too. MAybe you could market the curlers as yarn holders/bobbins!

1:29 PM  
Blogger LilKnitter said...

Lovin' the cheapass Christmas post.

I vote Santa Butt.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Kristin said...

I'm totally going to that mad libs idea. The people on your christmas card list are so lucky!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

That is such a clever card!

6:45 PM  
Blogger Starfish said...

I vote Santa. And I totally dig the new masthead. You rock crafty chica.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Love the new header! Soooo you!!
I like the Santa butt!!

WTG girl! Love the ideas!!! :) Keep them coming!

10:28 PM  
Blogger OldLadyPenPal said...


You're the bezt, Bezzie!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Ceallach said...

Yeah, I vote the second button.....santa is soooo sexy....

Okay, can I ask, will you also be posting the projected savings? Like what would you have spent on cards no going the CSC route?

12:23 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Ceallach--Un idea excellente! I'll have to check out Hallmark this weekend (or something comparable )to see what a pack of 20 cards would have run me.

I think I can do that with most of the other themes I have cooking for other weeks too.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Bufanditas said...

Love the card!!! Ah, to be so talented makes be envious of you. I vote for the first button.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud you in your cheap assed ways!

Lots of my X-mas gifts have been hand made.

I got my X-mas cards last year when they were 75% off!

Hope you are doing well!


1:38 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

Ho-ho buttcheeks!

As for envelopes, you can totally make your own. I used to make them out of the pages of a rolling stone (the cover is especially striking) or even random magazine ads. People always loved it when I sent a letter in one of those envelopes. Just take an envelope apart, trace the shape onto the sheet of paper you want to make one with, then take a glue stick and fold it together. Wha-la! Instant cool envelope!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I like teh second button better!

Those cards last year were awesome BTW. They friggin rock!

Just like you :)

3:29 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

LOL I like the Santa Butt.
I found your site nosing around in the comments of blogs (a few) we both comment to.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

I LOVE IT! You rule the cheapass world, Bezzie! I like the santa one! I LOVE mad libs and laughed really hard... I laughed, I cried! Great post!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do a family newsletter ... with humorous comments about our year. So, I don't think I mentioned our vacation, except to mention how DD accidently locked herself in the bathroom at a rest stop. And I never brag about smart kids ... instead I tell how they 'decorated' the white carpet with blue paint.

9:01 PM  

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