Every year around this time I start thinking about how to spoil my kids for Christmas. Growing up, Christmas was a magical day for me. My parents were generous but not overloading with our gifts. I believe much of the magic I remember was based on the festivities around the holidays. The smell of holiday cookies, the wrapping of gifts for relatives, the bells jingling at the stores, sitting on Santa's lap and my favorite, the great lengths my parents went to proving to me that Santa existed.
Now with kids of my own, I struggle with maintaining a balance between my desire to buy my kids every toy available with the need to be practical and teach them the true meaning of Christmas. I want them to wake up that morning with a big smile and feel like the unwrapping of gifts is never ending. However, it makes no financial sense to spend boat loads of dollars on young children who really do not need all that much. So this season, I've been on a mission to get as many of their gifts for free as I can. Yes, free!
So here is my progress so far... In the past three weeks, I've won or obtained free the following:
My Little Firefly (pretend fireflies in a jar), a large butterfly net, a whale whistle and a $25 Amazon gift code. I also won some free organic skin care for myself. You have to pamper the provider you know. Yes, this is only a start but I haven't put much time or effort forth yet either. So how do you do it? By entering online contests through Facebook and blogs. I have also won a very cool tent and a Melissa & Doug rolling suitcase through this method.
Personally, I use Money Saving Mom. I love her giveaways because all you do it put in your name and email address and hit enter. I have not won anything from her yet but the cool part is, after the winner is announced, everyone with giveaways links up and there you have a great list of giveaways to enter. I am very selective when I enter as it makes no sense to win something we don't need. It does take some effort but when I'm winding down at night, watching a little television, why not be productive?
How about you? What do you plan to do to save money this holiday season?