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Old 08-13-2008, 03:24 PM
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holly Easy gift using back to school sales...

Hi all,

Here's a small article I just wrote up last night, where I thought of a way to use some back to school sales for gifts. The gift bags are where you can get crafty, but this will also be a nice useful gift for all the kids in the family - when you never know what to buy for all the different age groups.
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If you would like to get a head start on your Christmas shopping this year, consider "back to school" sales. This is the perfect time of the year to take a few extra bucks, and get some great deals. Think of pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, scissors, crayons and more. You can pick these items up extremely cheap.

My husband just purchased a "whole box" of spiral notebooks, he got them for .12 cents each! He also had rulers, glue sticks, regular glue, markers and more. He gave half of his supplies to our niece and nephew, then stashed the rest back for our boys to use this year. We'll have to go back and "restock", because I ran across this great idea...

What about using some of these supplies to make "gift bags" for the kids in the family, the church group, and for the kids at your Christmas parties? Every year we have very large Christmas parties, where it's almost impossible to buy each child a gift. With 25 kids or more running around, at $5.00 per child, that's $125.00 bucks - which isn't bad.

Problem is, there are children of all ages, which will make your shopping a nightmare when you try to figure out which gift is age appropriate, where you can find the best "age appropriate" gift for $5.00 and more. Well, think about this for a second.

If you can get a spiral notebook for .12 cents, a pack of pencils for .25 cents, a set of nice markers for .99 cents, a ruler for .19 cents, scissors for .99 cents, glue for .50 cents... you have invested $3.04 so far. I'm sure you can find a couple other neat useable items like erasers or pens to add in. Add to that a few candy canes, or some homemade Christmas candy - and you've got something that all the kids can use, no matter what the age. Even our 3 year old loves paper, markers, rulers and glue!

You can use small plain paper bags big enough to fit the spiral notebooks. We have white paper bags with the small loop handles here at our local dollar stores, that are the perfect size. Also, that colored tissue paper which contains around 25-50 sheets of tissue paper for just $1.00.

To decorate your gift bag, you could print out a few pictures for Christmas. After you print these out, you can use a simple glue stick to attach them to the gift bag - or use a large needle and yarn to stitch them right on the bags.

You can even have the kids help! I'm sure they wouldn't mind going crazy with the glue stick, or if you enjoy needlepoint, you can make them look really nice. One larger image right in the center of the bag, with the edges stitched in red yarn, would make the bag very unique and special.

Then put all of your "school supplies" in the bag, add some colored tissue paper on top, and you have a great gift that any child can actually use. You will have saved some money, and eliminated some Christmas shopping nightmares, by picking these supplies up now, while they are really cheap!

Thanks!
Michelle
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:25 PM
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This is a fantastic idea! It would be nice to have a few of these fun bags just "ready" to give out when someone stops by unexpectedly. It seems to me like there is always a "friend" of mine that has a child that pops in around Christmas time and I feel it necessary to offer a gift.

Also, this is an inexpensive gift for children in a homeless shelter or better yet, a hospital. How much fun would it be to walk around a children's ward at the hospital the week of Christmas and give them something to do! A gift and something to take their mind off their sickness. I love it!

I think that's what my project will be with my kids this year.

Diana
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:34 PM
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Thanks Diana,

What a wonderful idea for the Hospitals. My two children would absolutely love handing other children a few of these bags. Sometimes I tell them about kids who have no where near the amount of toys they do, and my oldest has mentioned a few times that he would like to give some of his toys away to the children who don't have any.

Think we'll go through all the toys here at the house and donate a bunch of those too - but the biggest problem with "donating to a box" - is that the boys don't actually SEE the other kids. How much fun is it to toss your older toys in a box for a 6 and 3 year old? Not very fun.

Now, imagine the experience they will get from physically handing a gift bag to a child who is sick in the hospital at Christmas. SOOOO much better than putting things in a donation box. They will get to say "hi" and "merry Christmas" and get to see the other child's little face light up.

Can we actually go into the homeless shelters? It seems like there are always "designated places" for donations around here - where you don't actually get to "relate" to the actual people that need the help.

I'll have to check around and see what we can do, because seeing the other children's expressions as my two give them gift bags and toys - would be so awesome for them! We could even turn that into a family "tradition!"

Thanks a bunch!
Michelle
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:56 AM
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You're more than welcome Michelle! The idea just popped into my head as I was typing.

My kids and I go to a local homeless shelter on the second Thursday of every month to feed them. It is open for volunteers and donations.

You could call around your town and speak with an administrator. Ask what you can provide and when. Tell them that you would like your children to have the experience of giving them the gifts personally so they get the "affect" and pleasure out of giving.

It is humbling to give in that manner for my children. They gladly serve every month the food that we prepare with our group. They see that these people are usually just "average" people. It sure has made a difference in how they ask for things and the gratefulness in which they receive them.

Diana
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