Cheapass Christmass!! Part 1--Cards and Newsletters
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 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?
Ho ho ho buttcheeks? Or:
*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.