November 12, 2018

Tips will help you buy items for stockings without spending a lot of money

By JESSICA MARTIN

The cost of stuffing Christmas stockings adds up faster than calories in a Christmas dinner.

But don’t get your tinsel in a tangle.

There are ways to stuff stockings on a student budget while still filling them to the brim. It might mean putting more time and creativity into the gift or working your way through dollar stores, but just because you say “hello Christmas,” doesn’t mean you have to say “goodbye money.”

Ann Tomadini, a cashier at the Dollar Store in Elmira, said buying for young kids is easy.

“Balls, beads, Beanie Babies, bubble blowers and candy can overflow a stocking,” she said. “And they’re all $1 or $2 items. Shopping for kids isn’t hard.”

It’s the big people who are more challenging.

Filling an adult’s stocking with balls and bubble blowers probably won’t have the same effect as it does on a child.

Here are some ideas to keep the cost at a reasonable price.
1. Lottery scratch cards
Who doesn’t enjoy grabbing a shiny, copper penny and eagerly scratching tickets to get potential prizes? It’s fun for everyone as long as there’s no fighting over who gets the winnings.

2. Small practical items
Spatulas, socks, cologne, toothpaste, batteries and cans of soup are all practical items that are cheap and used by everyone. Try buying items with unique patterns and bright colours to take the boring out of practicality.

3. Homemade certificates
Offer a free service. Whether it’s a massage, babysitting, washing the car or a dinner on you, they will love the gesture.

4. Photographs
Captured memories placed in a frame can sometimes mean more than an expensive gift.

5. Homemade jam
A jar of jam with a ribbon around the lid looks and tastes great. It may not have pictures of angels on the outside but it’s just as heavenly as Philadelphia cream cheese.

6. Candy and peanuts
Truffles, candy canes, peanut brittle, chocolate-covered almonds, gum drops, Toblerone and more. Too much candy is like too many Christmas lights, it’s just not possible.

7. Popcorn and popcorn seasonings
White, fluffy puffs pop into every Christmas season. Giving seasonings with the kernels will be a treat to the taste buds and the tummy.

8. Hats, mittens and scarves
There is a wide selection of winter hats and mitts at dollar stores for $2. Keep your friends and family warm this holiday season.

9. Books
You can often find used books in good condition at bookstores and a stand at St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market even allows you to trade in old books for new ones.

10. Puzzles
Sudoku, word searches and crossword books are fun and affordable.

So, get shopping.

It’s never too early to show some festive spirit. The next 55 days will fly by and before you know it Santa will be flying in for a visit.

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