Gifts, Gifts And More Gifts!

By Jenny Jiménez on December 17, 2018

Happy Monday!  I don’t know about you but I’ve been so busy lately, it’s crazy! I pretty much finished my Christmas shopping weeks ago but every once in a while may pick up something minor for my kids if I’m in Target or at the mall.  By the way if you haven’t checked out my post on ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS… and printed your shopping list then no worries because you can print your FREE copy of the Christmas Shopping List here.  


Christmas Shopping List

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Most parents this time of year are stressed out, overwhelmed and down right exhausted.  The holidays, although they should be a joyful time can put a lot on our plates.  We often feel like we need to have everything perfect for our loved ones or the holiday is ruined.  That is the furthest from the truth.  What we don’t usually admit is that we put the stress on ourselves. (Wait, wait, don’t leave yet, keep reading).  The truth is that if we really want to enjoy and get the most out of the holidays, we need to stop trying to control everything.  That was hard for me to say AND do considering I’m a bit of a control freak by nature but the truth is that I stepped back this year and stopped trying to do it all alone or perfect.  Nothing is perfect!  Nothing!  Plus if we’re cranky then who really wants to be around us?  

I’m just trying to keep it real here because that’s what I do.   This year I lost control of everything I thought I had control over, especially my kitchen renovation project.  Considering my living room is full of cabinets and I couldn’t put a Christmas tree up there, the only trees are the pencil trees I purchased for my kids’ rooms.  Normally I would go crazy with fancy decorating on the gifts and bows but this year I was too tired.  I deserve a pat on the back for just having wrapped everything and a week and a half early at that.  No fancy bows as you can see up top but guess what… the kids won’t care.  They are going to rip open those gifts so fast, it doesn’t matter to them how it’s wrapped.

Which brings me to my next comment.  Do not go crazy purchasing things for your kids.  I specifically say kids because too often I see parents trying to buy their child’s affection.  I’m included in that as well.  We want to give the world to our kids but this is not the way.  One thing I did learn over the years is to by my children practical gifts.  I remember one year in particular.  Elisa and Jonah were so excited to open these large gifts under the tree.  That year I purchased then each a bed in a bag and new pillows, and you got it! LOL I wrapped them all.  my kids were wondering what the large gifts were and it was the pillows they were looking at.  I did get them some things on their list also but have you noticed that the most expensive things are usually the most tiniest.  You could practically go broke and there’s this tiny little gift taking up hardly no real estate under your tree, I’m mean what’s up with that? lol 🙂 

Be creative, buy things they can use.  If they are in sports or clubs, buy them something they can use.  For example, my daughter does field hockey and my son does baseball.  Equipment can be costly so if someone gifted my son new baseball pants (usually around $30) then that is a load off of my back.  As mentioned in my previous post.  Be thoughtful and creative.  Pillows like the one I purchased that year are approx $4 each, so very inexpensive but they enjoyed new fluffy pillows.  If you have a Five Below by you then $5 blankets are always nice.  In fact the tree skirt in my daughters room is an older blanket.  They are so cheap but the kids walk around with them.  In the car when traveling in the winter or on cold days, they bring their blankets.  They walk around the house with them also instead of messing up their beds after they are made up and again all for $5.  It’s the small stuff that makes a world of difference.  

As you venture into the last few days before the bid day, remember to take deep breaths and take a moment to just enjoy life.  Enjoy your family, your friends and another year you’ve been blessed with an opportunity to spend it with them.  #RememberTheLittleThings

Also if you have preteens and live where there will be snow this winter, then don’t forget to stock up on gloves and scarfs (great cheap gifts or stocking stuffers).  You can purchase sleds or snowboards at Target or WalMart for really cheap and also don’t forget the vehicle snow and ice scrapper.  I guarantee you someone will be thanking you for those.  A Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts gift card (nothing large) for hot chocolate on those cold days or perhaps a lovely bag of coffee, because you know we ALL need that one 😉 .

Now go out and finish up that last minute shopping so you can enjoy the next few days relaxing and enjoying good company AND don’t forget your lists.  Remember I’m watching! 😉


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If you would like to recommend a specific topic for a future post or just have comments, feel free to reach out to me.  


Merry Christmas!


The post Gifts, Gifts And More Gifts! appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jiménez.

Thoughtful Giving

By Jenny Jiménez on December 10, 2018

Good Morning!  Here goes another week.  We’re down to two and a half weeks or more precise 15 days.  I know YIKES, right?  That’s not a lot of time at all.  Are you stressed yet?  You might be if you haven’t planned your gift giving yet.  If you haven’t checked out my last post and printed your shopping list then no worries because you can print your FREE copy of the Christmas Shopping List here.  

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog below and to the right before you go so you’ll be the first to know when I post!  AND follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

RELAX and take a deep breath.  I’m here to help.  We’ll get through this together. 🙂

This is the perfect time of year to see if you were listening the last 11 months.  Contrary to what most people think, a good gift isn’t dependent on the amount of money you spend but on the effort and thought put into the gift.  The flower centerpiece by the JOY sign in the image above was given to me by a dear friend two years ago.  She knew that even though I suffer from terrible allergies, I love fresh flowers (I know, I know).  This gift was accompanied by a box of chocolate covered strawberries.  Again she listened and knew that I have a severe sweet tooth.  To top it off, she and her husband were kind enough to gift my children and I a large box so we could all share without fighting over them, LOL. 😉  I so appreciated these gifts because that tells me that she listened to me and really put thought into my gift.

In 2009, I printed out  a beautiful picture of my children along with the year on photo paper that I was then able to iron on to t-shirts for the grandparents and great grandparents that year.  I also printed out calendars for them using the same photo.  They loved the gifts so much that the following year they were expecting them again.  Unfortunately I realized that a bit too late BUT the t-shirts and calendars for the grandparents did make a comeback year three.  Funny enough I had other relatives upset because they wanted the gifts also but I told them it was strictly for grandparents.  That year it actually turned out better because I had a whole year to plan for it so I was able to get the perfect photo of my kids during a snowball fight… it was just too cute!

Consider these few ideas when deciding what to gift someone…

BAKED GOODS:  As mentioned in my previous post, baked goods make fantastic gifts.  You can also tackle several people at once with that one.  Plus I love the idea of getting your children or even the whole family involved.  Those are the little moments that actually are a gift in themselves.  As a mom to teens who as everyone knows like to do their own thing, they always jump at bonding moments like these.  Trust me, take advantage of it and just enjoy the moment.  

OUTREACH:  Another simple gift may just be an outreach.  Perhaps you know someone who’s lost someone or goes through difficult times during the holidays.  Maybe this is a good time to give them a call and perhaps treat them to breakfast or lunch.  Let them know you are thinking about them and they are on your mind.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  I’m sure they’ll be more impressed with your company.

HOST A GATHERING:  I love gatherings with friends and loved ones, especially pot lucks.  I mean who doesn’t enjoy the fellowship of good friends along with food.  We all love to eat (well at least I do).  I’ve gone to several events like this over the years.  Some of my favorites were the themed ones.  A salad theme is a good one because the host can provide the various lettuce and several toppings then allow each guests to bring a topping or dressing for the salad.  Another one is a dessert party.  Bring your award winning family recipes to this one 😉 .

DON’T GIFT JUST TO GIFT:  I know this one sounds odd but what I mean is that if you buy someone a gift without thinking it through first, you may just have thrown your money away.  YUP, you heard that right, you threw your money away.  While the recipient may accept the gift, it’s a good chance that they’ll never use your gift or put it to good use.  Avoid this buy thinking it through first. 

What can I say, I love lists, ha!

Don’t go broke trying to outdo someone else’s gift or showing off.  Trust me when I tell you that often the least expensive gifts are the ones that they remember.  I still have family and friends bring up some of what I call my creative gifts.  AND if you think about it, these gifts are actually ‘worth’ more.  Perhaps not monetarily but in effort and time.  Remember your time does have value so use it wisely and gift people what you know they’d love, not necessarily what you’d love. 

I know this post was short but I didn’t feel the need to drag it out with a ton of ‘fluff’.  Yeah you know what I mean.  If you’re anything like me, I like to get to the point.  Something useful you can use today.  Now grab a large notebook and start brainstorming BUT before you do that, don’t forget to print out your FREE copy of my Christmas Shopping list.  

Next week I’ll give a few ideas on what to buy for children, both young and well… teens, lol. 


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All I Want For Christmas Is …

By Jenny Jiménez on December 3, 2018

Happy Monday Ladies!  I know the weather has been a bit dreary lately but on a good note the holiday lights and decorations already going up should bring you some cheer.  I’m a bit late posting today but I had a hard time uploading the FREE Christmas Shopping List mentioned further below… so keep reading 😉 .

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog below and to the right before you go so you’ll be the first to know when I post!  AND following me on Instagram and Facebook.

I know many of you have probably already begun your Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday… WOW that’s a lot, lol but I wanted to catch you before the end of the month.  Perhaps I should have posted this in November before the sales but hey, better late than never, right.  

I cannot stress enough how important it will be to take a few moments and draft a Christmas budget.  That’s right, you heard me correctly, Christmas budget.  You’re probably thinking that’s the last thing you want to do with all the sales going on and retail therapy BUT, those few moments you spend putting together a plan will help you from starting off 2019 in what I like to call Financial Depression.  Just like you, I have my moments and enjoy a good shopping trip but that joy that you’ll feel on Christmas Day while everyone is opening their fabulous gifts will be short lived when the bills come rolling in weeks later, or even worse when you don’t have enough to make ends meet because you failed to plan for the spending. 

I’m far from perfect when it comes to shopping however I’ve learned along the way (and being the sole provider of the family) that if I budget for these things, I’m literally enjoying life, practically stress-free in January.  Well at least not so stressed about money anyways.  We all know that something else will gladly take it’s place.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE learn from my mistakes and have a plan.  

I rarely purchase things on Black Friday and Cyber Monday but this year was a bit different.  I went out a few hours after Thanksgiving and purchased a new laptop for me, nothing fancy, and chromebooks for the the kids.  Best Buy was having an amazing deal.  On top of that I also purchased a new Dyson cordless vacuum.  Our home is all hardwood flooring and we like to use that as our broom to sweep.  This way the kids can stay on top of their rooms and it doesn’t take much effort to do a quick cleaning in the dining room and living areas.  It’s official, I’m in love with that thing. 🙂

Anyway the point here is that I failed to plan for it, so I have to revisit my budget for December.  I decided to cut out some additional ME spending and some Eating Out I had planned with the kiddos.  Instead we’ll stay home a few more days and binge watch some movies (FREE) while we eat.  We call these appetizer nights.  We prep some finger foods so that we can plop ourselves on the floor while we watch movies.  It’s always a great time and Elisa and Jonah love doing this.  From time to time I’ll freeze some of our finger foods and we’ll later use that to make a small buffet on appetizer nights.  It’s so easy to do.  No fuss and is ready in minutes.  I would highly suggest that for many of you, whether you have young kids or old kids, everyone loves it.  Or if it’s just you.  I’ve done it alone, with a glass of wine, on several occasions.  

Eliminating a few extras will help me get back on track for the month.  For you it may be eliminating that cup of coffee or perhaps packing lunch instead of buying it.  I have one cup of coffee at home in the morning while I get ready then take another one with me in a coffee mug to work.  I also pack lunch everyday.  I include two water bottles, snacks and my meal.  I may not eat it all but I’d rather have it there than splurge on something in the cafeteria at work and regret it later.  I save a ton of money doing this and often have people approaching me and say “I notice you pack a lunch everyday, I wish I did, I’d save so much money”, and my response is yes you would, I know I do!

So first things first, we need to get you back on track!

I created this easy Christmas Shopping List to simplify things for you.  It really does not have to be complicated.

Christmas Shopping List

FREE Christmas Shopping List here.
Take the following steps before doing anymore shopping:

Determine What Has Already Been Spent: If you’ve already spent a lot of money on shopping last week, go through your receipts and determine how much you have already spent.  

Write Down Who You Were Planning On Buy Gifts For: Make a list of everyone who you had plans on buying for.  Do not leave anyone out.  This includes your child’s teachers, coaches, the mailman and newspaper delivery guy… I mean everyone.  Even your hair and nail stylists if you have one.  Some people feel obligated to buy for all of these people but I generally had rules that I kept to each year when deciding who to buy for. If I had a hair or nail appointment the week of Christmas or just before then I would give a small gift to the stylist, otherwise NO.  Some may say this is cheap but it’s not.  Would you rather buy a gift and spend money you do not have just for the sake of keeping up appearances or would you like to actually enjoy your Christmas without being in debt and having no money in your wallet the weeks that follow.  Consider this when scheduling those appointments.   

Too often people get carried away with the amounts they are spending on gifts and losing sight of “it’s the thought that counts.”  I would much rather have a less expensive gift that was thoughtful than an expensive one that does not suit me at all.  Take the time to speak AND listen to people and gift giving will become easier and less expensive because you’ll know what they’ll like and appreciate.  

Set A Budget: Determine the total amount you would like to spend on ALL the people on your list.  Next begin breaking down the amount to spend on each person.  For example of an overall budget of $1,000, you may only want to spend $10-$15 each on your child’s teacher or coaches.  Again, do not feel obligated to do so.  Sometimes a handwritten note and batch of great Christmas cookies is all that’s necessary.  Remember be mindful.  Also something like this may not cost you much since you may already have the ingredients at home.  

Consider What To Buy: After determining your well thought out budget, next step is to determine what each person may like.  This is a good time for you to search for deals online and in stores.  Many online retailers are offering free shipping for the holiday without requiring a minimum spending amount.  Consider buying online if you already know what a person wants.  This way it’ll be sent directly to you and you won’t have to step foot in a store.  Help yourself avoid the stress of finding parking and feeling like a sardine in a can with others going crazy for holiday shopping.  

Remember to carry your list with you at all times and stick to the budget, no matter what!  Too often we may get carried away or tempted by other items we see at stores or online but DO NOT BUY IT!  STICK TO THE PLAN!  You’ll be so proud of yourself for doing so later on, trust me 🙂 .

If you haven’t yet printed out a FREE Christmas Shopping List above you can do so now and remember, keep this with you throughout the season so you are spending and purchasing wisely.

Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog below and to the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post!

Happy Budget Shopping!


The post All I Want For Christmas Is … appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jiménez.