This year, we’re working really hard to budget wisely (and most importantly – stick to it!). As a family, we have had our share of ups and downs, but we’re learning as we go and getting better. Planning ahead is uber-important when it comes to budgeting. Each year after the holidays come and go, I add up all the expenses- from gifts, extra food & baking, decorating, cards, wrapping, and a few holiday party outfits (how do they always find their way in there?) :). I take that number and divide it by 12 to find out the amount of $ we should be putting aside each month so that Christmas is paid for ahead of time, instead of using credit.
Here is where things get tricky- with the unexpected expenses that pop up, we find it hard to stash away the cash each month for the holidays. For some reason it is much easier to spread out some of the purchases throughout the year. A gift here and there is much easier to squeeze into the yearly budget than a whole bunch all at once. Not to mention it takes some of the stress away that can build around the holidays when it seems there is too much to do and not enough time.
When purchasing gifts ahead of time, especially several months in advance, it is really important to find items that you won’t regret purchasing and will still be a good match for your loved ones when December rolls around. Whenever possible I love to support small business owners, and help the American Dream live on.
Here are 4 Top Picks For “Christmas in July” that are sure to be a hit no matter how far in advance you purchase them:
Aly Dahl Designs: Handmade, unique pieces of jewelry and wearable art
Aly is a dear friend of mine that I met while living in Vancouver, B.C. It has been amazing watching her business grow from start-up to the big success it is today! Her incredible work and talent is second to none.
One of the Aly Dahl pieces we really adore in our family is the Dog Tag Military Style.
This dog tag features my finger print and the finger prints of our 2 children.
Before the fingerprint dog tag, my husband did not wear jewelry. Jewelry just wasn’t his thing. I know how much my husband loves and treasures this gift because he wears it every day. That says more than anything I could possible write! He keeps us close to his heart wherever he goes. And for the dog lovers out there you can even order custom nose prints of your four-legged friends!
The Plaid Cupcake: Handmade accessories to sweeten your life.
At The Plaid Cupcake you can find many beautiful handmade accessories – everything from luggage tags, coffee/tea cozies, aprons, and sleepover pillow cases, to Cases for Nook/Kindle/Sony Reader, personalized snack baggies for kids and adults, & more. In our home we have the most adorable Holiday coffee cozy, a stylish luggage tag, and my son is the proud owner of a handmade Buzz Light Year pillow case.
Patty’s work is fantastic!!
**For the rest of July if you use the code XMASJULY when checking out you’ll get Free Shipping!!!
Whimsical Creations by Melanie: polymer clay ornaments
I first found Whimsical Creations through Melanie’s popular blog. Her awesome work and incredible artistic talent keeps me going back for more. She makes many custom creations for all sorts of events- including birthdays and weddings, and Melanie regularly shares pictures of them on Facebook. Her ornaments are so reasonably priced, too!
The Picture Globe Company: Custom Photo Ornaments
The Picture Globe Company is Seattle based, and founded by a mother-daughter duo. After the birth of my son I searched for a custom photo ornament as a gift for my baby. He already had lots of toys and I wanted a special gift to enjoy now and that I would be able to give to him one day when he is grown.
Since that time we have purchased several ornaments from The Picture Globe Company. The quality is impeccable, and each ornament is adorned with a beautiful ribbon and packaged so nicely. They are some of our most treasured ornaments.
Here are 2 of The Picture Globe Ornaments that hang on our tree every year.
Happy Christmas in July, friends! If you love the work of these talented artists as much as I do, please do share with your family & friends.?
Have a lovely day ?