December 25, 2010

Free Christmas & I love my S.I.L.

My sister-in-law and I have nothing in common.  Really, if we hadn't married into the same family, we never ever ever would have met.  She's from Los Angeles.  I grew up in Southeast Texas.  She went to college in NYC.  I went to college in podunk East Texas.  She's a dancer.  I'm a runner.  (I used to be a runner anyway.)  She is several years younger than me.  I am several years older than her.  Just seeing if you're paying attention.  We're different.  On a lot of things we are very different.  And yet, we get each other.  And we disagree with each other.  And we tell each other the truth and there is no judgement.  I love my sister-in-law!  

So when Christmas was approaching and we were very honestly discussing the struggles and frustration that come with Christmas she said in exasperation "I think we should only get each other gifts that are free!".  I laughed.  I mean, come on?  Free?!?!  For Christmas?!?  Then I remembered all the free things I've gotten over the past year or so:  Yarn.  Lipstick.  Eye shadow.  Candles.  Cough Drops.  Sample sizes of anything and everything.  And then I did the unthinkable:  "OK!  Let's do it!!".  And I have to say Free Christmas has been a ton of fun!!!  I had to think outside the box and be creative.  And the stress level was minimal because I could focus on the gifts she might love rather than on spending enough to equate my love.  Because I don't have enough money for that!!  So here's what she got....

Pink Purse:  This summer there was a $5 off Merona Handbag coupon to Target.  And Target just happened to have on clearance for $4.99.  FREE!

I wrapped this before I took a picture.  I just couldn't bring myself to unwrap it for a picture.  It's a journal.  You''ll just have to take my word for it.  It was $4.95 at Hallmark.  And Hallmark had a $5 off coupon.  FREE!

Remember when I made handwarmers?  This is a bigger rice bag made from some of those leftovers.  I didn't buy any of this solely for her so...FREE!

Chinese food box, melted snowman ornament, fortune cookies and a flower bobby pin.  Ok, so obviously I got the chinese food box and fortune cookies after dinner one night.  The box is clean!  I showed you the snowman ornament already.  And the bobby pin gets it's own comment next.  I was going to make hair sticks out of the chop sticks that I got, but they weren't looking good, so I scrapped 'em.

Believe it or not, this is a bobby pin.  I have a bunch of bobby pins still hooked to the cardboard sheet they came on.  To make this, I made a squished circle flower (directions), glued felt to the back.  Then I put another circle of felt inside the bobby pin.  I glued the two felt circles together with the top of the bobby pin sandwiched in between.  I had the pins, the felt and the wool that made the flower.  FREE!  

Sadly, these didn't make it into the box.  They're too big.  You can't tell from the picture, but they are huge pinecones from Louisiana.  My S.I.L. lived there for a brief time and of it!  I thought these would be funny.  I put them in ziplock bags with spices for several weeks to make them smell pretty too.  But, alas, they had to stay here.  :(  But FREE!
Ok, I cheated.  My S.I.L has a little obsession with the Gosselins.  Don't we all?  It's kind of like watching a train wreck.  I saw this book and the other Gosselin book at the Dollar Tree for a dollar.  I called the S.I.L. to discuss cheating with her.  She didn't give me carte blanche to spend money, but she did say she would love the Gosselin books!!  So I hightailed it back to the Dollar Tree (several days later) and they only had one left.  So sad.  FREE! $1.

I also added some bath salts that I bought for another project and chocolate that I took from The Medium One's advent calendar to her gift box too.  There were many options for free music and printables, but I didn't have a CD to burn to (and would have to spend money to buy some) and my printer has been out of ink for months now.

People looked at me like I was crazy when I excitedly told them about our Free Christmas.  But honestly, this has been the most fun gift-giving experience ever.  For me, the fun of coming up with this stuff has been priceless.

Love ya, Lyd!!  Merry Christmas!!


  1. You are so creative Brandy. What a wonderful set of gifts. Take a picture of her face for us! He he.

  2. Wish I could. She's in California. :( As for creative....I'm actually more compulsive!!! I get in my head to try to make something and can't rest until I do. Once it's done I'm over it and moving on to the next one.... :D

  3. Brandy,

    I love love love you! We are so totally different but we are the perfect pair! Like chocolate and bananas, peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots (okay, last two not soooo different but you get the idea). I am so lucky to have you! AND I HEART free Christmas as much as I HEART NYC and LA (Los Angeles NOT Louisiana; no offense readers. Great state just not for me) I think that free Christmas just may need to be a new Brandy and Lydia tradition! Thanks for the post. :) Love you sister!


  4. Oh, AND I love my gifts!!! You know me so well. :)Thanks so much. It made my Christmas morning. :)

  5. This is a GREAT idea! Might have to try it out. BTW, I totally took advantage of that same Target coupon but I kept the bag for myself :)

  6. Kendra, I printed 2 coupons! :D