Keeping Christmas Affordable As Told By Kevin McCallister

Keeping Christmas Affordable As Told By Kevin McCallister

6 tips and tricks for a Merry Christmas on a budget.

The holidays are coming and you have a balance of -7.26 dollars in your bank account. What are you going to do?

You have five siblings, three sets of grandparents, six aunts and uncles, and two nephews. (Wait, did I forget anyone?) The point is, it can be overwhelming. Especially for college students. Here are 6 tips to save the bank and still have a Merry Christmas, as told by none other than "Home Alone" protagonist Kevin McCallister.

1. Don't wait until last minute!

Shop for Christmas all year long! Don’t start 2 weeks before Christmas when prices are raised. Grab that toy from the dollar tree when you come across one your nephew will love, it doesn’t matter is it’s April. Wow, these winter coats are on sale? It’s July but winter will be back, and Aunt Judy loves blue! Shopping lightly year round will lighten the burden, come Christmas time. You’ll turn around and realize you’ve done half of your shopping without even thinking about it.

2. Pay attention to the little things.

You go to your moms house and realize she has to wash more coffee cups every time you visit. There’s an idea, a brand new set will do nicely! It will be very thoughtful, yet affordable. You notice your older brother has mismatched sock with holes in the toes, there you go, a nice package from Walmart will do the trick. It’s not the Xbox One he wanted, but he’ll appreciate it anyway; no one likes buying their own socks.

3. Get crafty.

Those old wine bottles downstairs can make an excellent set of tike torches for Grandma’s patio. Buy some wicks and citronella fluid and you’re golden. Grandmas love homemade stuff. Get on Pinterest and get to work! “It’s the thought that counts” she always says.

4. Give an experience.

You don’t know Uncle Mike very well, but you know he is a truck driver. He loves country music and coffee. Get him a CD from one of his favorite artists and a Tim Horton’s gift card. Practical, thoughtful, affordable. Your stepmom is a homebody, she would love a couple chick flicks and comedies to watch on her nights off. Get her that new one with Adam Sandler and don’t forget a package of popcorn. “How cute are you” she’ll say.

5. Buy some laughter.

Dad is going through some sort of midlife crisis. He died his hair blonde and started reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”. Buy him a package of adult diapers and one of those walkers with the horn on it. He loves a good joke. Through in a Christmas card and some of his favorite childhood candies and he will have a swell time. Maybe he will even forget about those grey hairs peeking through for a moment. Your stepdad is a gambler. Buy him a stack of lottery tickets to try his luck. Be sure to throw in a fake one or two to get him going. Don’t forget your camera to capture the moment he thought he became a millionaire.

6. Get a group gift.

Don’t forget the in laws. Maybe money is tight but you know your spouse's parents could use some time together. Grab them some scented candles, a bottle of wine, cheese, and crackers for a romantic date night at home. They will definitely appreciate the sentiment. Maybe you cannot get all six of your husband’s siblings individual gifts. Go big on one gift for the whole family. They love throwing family reunions at Tim’s camp and could really use a nice outdoor grill.

So despite your financial woes, Christmas can be affordable. A few tips and tricks can be all it takes to make shopping for loved ones fun, easy, and inexpensive. We’ve all been there. The struggle may be real, but the holidays are a time for happiness, not stress. Family and friends will be thankful for any sign of effort. Go out and show them you care. Merry Christmas everyone!

Cover Image Credit: Fanpop

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12 Gifts To Give Your Girlfriend On Valentine's Day

All of these gift ideas will for sure win over your girlfriend's heart this year!

To all the last-minute gift givers of Valentine's Day:

Don't panic. While I know how stressful it can be to get the perfect gift for your significant other, there are so many gift ideas that people always forget as an option. The best part about Valentine's day is not the gifts you get, but rather the romantic time you get to spend with your loved one. So don't worry about how expensive the gift is, just worry about how much thought you put into it. If you are still stuck on a gift to buy for your girlfriend, here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is every woman's best friend. It also can be your wallet's best friend for this Valentine's Day season. A box of chocolate can warm your girlfriend's heart for a low price.

Buy a box on Amazon.

2. Flowers

Flowers. Another common, but romantic gift for your girlfriend. Get creative with it. Throw rose pedals all over the bed, or hand her a giant bouquet all at once. Either way I am sure she will love it.

Buy them on Amazon.

3. Giant Teddy Bear

This is a gift that I always found so adorable. While it can be obnoxious to purchase and carry around, the look on your girlfriend's face when she sees it will make it all worth it. She can cuddle the bear when you're not around. ;)

Buy one on Amazon.

4. Wine

Again, another luxury that is a woman's best friend. You cannot go wrong with buying your girlfriend a bottle, or bottles, of wine. The only question you have to ask yourself when buying it is, red or white?

Buy a set of glasses to match on Amazon.

5. A Couple's Massage

Um, hello. Who wouldn't love this gift? Not only is it a gift for her, but it is one for you as well. This gift can also be surprisingly cheap. Many places offer amazing deals during the Valentine's Day season!

6. Dinner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just taking your girlfriend to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. Dinner can be expensive enough as it is, the important thing to remember is to make memories that will last a lifetime during the meal.

7. A Movie

Again, nothing wrong with just going to a movie for the night. Sometimes a movie can set the level of romance you need for Valentine's Day.

Buy an AMC gift card on Amazon.

8. A Necklace

I know what you're thinking, too expensive! Don't throw away the necklace idea just yet. There are so many stores that sell such elegant necklaces, and they are decently priced as well. Check out stores like Alex and Ani, or Pandora for great deals, or just order from Amazon!

Buy one on Amazon.

9. A Ring

While this gift may only apply to a select few, imagine how memorable this day would be for your girlfriend. Do not think it is too cliche to propose to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Who cares how many other people do it, think about the joy it will bring her.

Buy a diamond ring on Amazon.

10. Clothes

Plan and buy your girlfriend's outfit for the night! It saves her time figuring out what to wear, and you just bought her clothes that she will absolutely adore!

Buy a sweater she will love on Amazon.

11. A One Night Stay at a Hotel

I don't think I have to say anything about this gift. You all know how romantic this is.

Buy a gift card on Amazon.

12. Personalized Picture Frame

A gift that is beyond thoughtful. Taking all of your pictures of memories from before and putting them together for your girlfriend is a gift that will for sure have her in tears.

Buy one on Amazon.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Party Ideas

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Christmas Of Remembrance Series: My Last Letter

Christmas time is not about the gifts... It is about something far, far more special.


Dear Reader,

Thank you for your time.

This is a series that I have dedicated to those I have loved and lost. It was merely a thought, then an idea, and now a realized creation. Christmas time… all winter really is a hard time for me. It holds this duality in my life of being both my favorite and also my least favorite and difficult time of year. It has been that way for years now.

In a way, this series aids my closure and healing further, and it allows me to tell my story in a way that, to me, is less scary (one of the many great facets of this platform). It was never my intention to write this in order to reach people, or encourage people, or serve as an inspiration to anyone. This was for me and only me. No one else. But, if these pieces of writing do impact someone, somewhere, or make them feel encouraged or inspired in some way or another, or just simply make them feel, then I hope you have enjoyed them. If I can make someone feel, then I guess I have done my job.

The life of an artist is often an uncertain one. The life of a human is a trying one. But life is a journey, and all journeys have their trials. Their tests. Their triumphs and rewards. And they all have their losses. What matters most is what you make of all of it. What lessons you learn. What changes you make. What life you create for yourself. What art you create because of it all. It can be very, very hard. But it can all be glorious at the same time.

At the heart of this series, my words, there is this deep and valuable belief of mine: Christmas (or the Winter Holiday that you may celebrate) is so much more about presents and cooking and shopping and all that other bullshit… it is about family.

The family that is related by blood. The family that surrounds your heart. Your Mom. Your brother. Your dearest friends. The bonds that make life valuable. Worth living. These bonds are soulful bonds, ones that are far more special than any mere trivial object. So… be with them. Forgive. Forget. Heal. Mend what is broken. Reassemble what has been shattered. And stop worrying so much. Laugh together. Cry together. Heal on another. Heal together. And may your new days be better, brighter, and full of love.

Happy Holidays.


A song for you...

"Sense of Home" — Harrison Storm / YouTube

If you liked this series, I invite you to check out my previous article below…

To My Fellow 孤, The Sons Without Fathers On Father’s Day

As well as this article by a fellow creator…

What You Learn Losing A Parent So Young

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