Do you realize that from the first week in July it's only 24 weeks until Christmas? Did that startle you? It did me!
I know some of you start the day after Christmas and are already stocked up on gifts and decorations. Some of you might even be done with it, but for those of us who aren't, July is the time to start!
Christmas can be the hardest time of all for a frugal pocketbook, since most of us want to make the holiday a happy and fulfilling one, but with the stores and newspapers and magazines filled with goodies and tempting displays of gifts, it's hard for even the most experienced tightwad shopper to keep from overdoing the budget.
If you start now, there's still plenty of time to look, sort and sift, until you find that perfect and gorgeous gift. Unique, better-than-new presents and decorations are out there just waiting for you, and they're not at the mall, and you don't have to wait until Christmas to find them!
Garage sales are the number one place to look this time of the year for that elusive super holiday bargain, but second-hand stores and special sales all count. Real antiques do hide in the dusty corners of garage sale boxes and classic (and classy) items are still found in thrift stores or second-hand shops.
Some things to look for: True vintage clothing, a special hand tool, an original recording of a favorite musician, depression glass, an antique - looking ornate photo frame (put your own photo in it), costume jewelry with a special theme, or anything that will conjure up fond memories for the giftee.
Don't forget about gifts you can make from your finds. Interesting jars, bowls, or glasses, filled with dried soup mixes, special baking mixes, potpourri, bath salts, or teas (herbal or otherwise) can make a very special gift.
If you do crafts or needlework, the possibilities are nearly endless. Knitted crocheted and sewn are probably the most commonly given hand made gifts, but if you don't do those, don't let that stop you. Whatever you can do, put it to good use.
When you have the time to think and be picky about what you find or make instead of feeling under pressure to just get it done, shopping for gifts and decorations and getting ready for Christmas really can be as much fun as it should be.
(They're talking about this very thing in the Dollar Stretcher Community forums: Christmas Club.)