Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Thoughts, Michaels, and Inexpensive Personalized Ornaments

I asked Donny the other day if I could turn on some Christmas music, and he promptly replied: "No. It's too early." Not too early for me, though. :) I get flutters every time I think about Christmas approaching...for many reasons. I love the lights, the decorations, the music...the spectacle. I know that many would blame all the spectacle on the commercialization of Christmas, but it still stirs my heart. Thankfully, it stirs my heart to worship Jesus, the babe and Savior of the world who was born on Christmas. He didn't get a lot of earthly spectacle when he was born. The heavenly Anyway, I figure if the earthly spectacle of Christmas stirs my heart to the Lord, then BRING IT ON!!!

Honestly, one of the other things that stirs my heart is a good deal...and there are plenty to be found this time of year. I am going to try to post more over the next few months (before my own babe comes) to keep you up with what I think the best deals are. This pregnancy has made me more picky about what a good deal is, so when I post you can know that it is a good deal...cause I just don't have the time and energy to post everything that comes along the way these days.

Anyway...back to why I am posting this morning. I LOVE personalized ornaments. My mom got my sister and I one every year from when we were three through our elementary school years. As a kid I loved hanging "my ornaments" up every year and finding just the right spot for them. Mom passed them on to me after I got married. Most of the ornaments have the year on them, but they are all different. Most of them have our names on them (except for the one that has our picture on it). BTW, remember that I am a twin, so I rarely talk about anything in my childhood (especially holidays) without referring to "us" or "our," because we did everything together.

Can you tell my kids are playing well together this morning? That's why I have the time to go all over the place in this post.

Back to the point...I have continued the ornament tradition with my kids. With each year that we had a new baby, I got a new family ornament at the mall personalized to show our new family with our new addition. I also did a personalized ornament at the mall one year for Hunter. When I went to pick it up, there was a mistake on it. I asked them to redo it. The lady asked me to wait for just a minute. I watched her scrape off the mistake and take a sharpie to fix it. "What???!!! You mean you just write the name on there with a sharpie? That's all???!!!" I don't know what I thought I was getting, but for $7-$10 per ornament, I thought it was something more than a lady with a Sharpie. If you have 2 or more kids that you are getting an ornament for, it becomes a very expensive endeavor to have them personalized.

After my "all you need is a Sharpie or a paint pen" realization, my ornament strategy changed. The next year, I went to Target and bought a Cars ornament for Hunter (age 3) and a Princess ornament for Millie (age 8 months), bought a white paint pen at Michaels, and I personalized their own little ornaments just how I wanted them. When I made a mistake guess what I did? I scraped it off and started over. my kids have a personalized ornament in Mommy's handwriting. I like that.

The next year I bought an ornament in which I could put a recent picture of them. I still took a Sharpie and put the year on the ornament. Last year, we bought ornaments for them at Disney, because it was our last year to have annual passes. So no personalization last year, but they each got an ornament, and I will always remember those ornaments from our last Disney year (2009).

Well, this year I haven't quite decided what I am going to do, but I saw something in Michaels yesterday that totally sparked my interest. They had "ready to personalize" ornaments that are just like the ones at the mall for $1.99!!! could totally use one of the 40% off coupons that comes in the paper or email (You can sign up for coupons on

Random - Did you know you can also use Joann's or AC Moore coupons at Michaels too? Michaels and Joann's will take one of each type of coupon in a single transaction, so in one transaction you could use:
  • one Michaels newspaper coupon
  • one Joann's newspaper coupon
  • one Michaels email/printable coupon
  • one Joann's email/printable coupon
  • any other different form of coupon (receipts sometimes print coupons or if you have a coupon from AC Moore, etc).
It's another way to make your dollar stretch further at those stores. Sometimes those stores sell Crayola sets or Melissa and Doug, Thomas the train, or other things that are expensive at most toy or book stores. Check at your local craft store and see if you can use your 40% off coupon on those items. Remember that those coupons often have exclusions and are almost always on regular price items only.

Soooo...if you bought one of those $1.99 ready-to-personalize ornaments with a 40% off coupons, you could get an ornament for your child for $1.20! All you would need is a paint pen or Sharpie. Let me confess - I don't have good handwriting, and I am a perfectionist when it comes to stuff like this, but I still like doing it for them.

One other idea - Michaels also had nice 2"x3" photo frame ornaments that have "2010" on them for $3.99 (regular price). These ornaments with a family photo or a photo of all the kids in it would be a great way to do a personalized family ornament for your own family or for grandparents or other family members.

Wow...I wrote a lot longer than I thought...and my kids are getting restless. I was inspired yesterday by the ornaments at Michaels and wanted to pass along the idea.

Merry Christmas!!! (42 days early)

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