For the past few years, I've been quite the grinch about Christmas. The decorations have seemed like a hassle, and the baking a chore - but this year is different. We're throwing two parties, and I have a looong list of cookies to try. I'm shopping to be sure (mostly online) but I'm mostly thinking more about things to make and do to enjoy the holiday that don't involve parting with large sums of money.
A few ideas:
Pop some popcorn and whip up a batch of hot chocolate, and catch one (or more) of these holiday classics on TV! (Props to Pittsy for putting this together!)
Check out the free and ever popular December Nights tonight and tomorrow in Balboa Park, or just stroll around the park on your own one evening and enjoy the holiday lights.
Open a bottle of good champagne just for two (or even one) - Piper Sonoma is a favorite budget find at around 12 bucks a bottle - and even a bottle of Veuve can be bought for $30-40 around the holidays. Our "house brand" is Taittinger Domaine Carneros - which is around $25-30. a bottle.
Throw a smaller dinner party, or just do cocktails or tea instead of a big blowout celebration. Casual is always ok - especially in this economy.
Make or bake gifts instead of buying - I'm doing cookies and candies and wrapping them in packaging from Sugarcraft and Papertrey. If you're not a cook, try chocolates from Eclipse, a bag of biscotti from Bread and Cie, or a jar of Jackie's Jams from the Farmers Market.
Speaking of the Farmers Market, I had great luck Christmas shopping at the Hillcrest Market last year (Sundays in the DMV parking lot from 9-1.) I found an amazing hand blown glass artisan, paper books and photo albums, handmade market baskets and tooled leather goods. Another great local source for handmade items is the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park, a little colony of working studios and boutiques you can stroll amongst and browse. There's a pottery shop and sometimes a glass blower - I haven't been in a while, so it might be time to check it out again.
Enjoy the weekend!
photo via Sycamore Press on Etsy - one of three designs I ordered for our holiday cards this year!