11 Last minute holiday survival tips for the stressed


The malls are a mess and I find myself in the precarious position of needing a few more presents for under the tree. Translation: I’m a little freaked out.

Now, I normally have all my holiday gift shopping planned and done by early fall thanks to my handy Holiday Expense Tracking Spreadsheet and a little thoughtful pre-planning. But after getting married, packing my suitcase, and heading off to Europe on a honeymoon (with Carl), I’m seriously behind this year.

Maybe you are too. So I’m going through my holiday archives and sharing the most popular posts for those facing a last minute dash to get to the holiday finish line. Don’t let a little holiday stress cost you.

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

These are silly, helpful, mostly useful, and fun.


Yes, you can do a little holiday giving for a buck or two.

dog gifts toys

The S’mores in a Jar are my personal favorite.

gifts in a jar

Stocking stuffers, gifts for friends, gifts for teachers, and family gifts don’t have to cost a lot.

gifts in a jar

Sneaky Santas can turn Christmas into a holiday hunt.

gifts for men

Tiny tarts make the perfect hostess gift!

pie in a jar

Christmas Decorations

Skip the costly kitsch and decorate your table with the stuff you already own.

christmas table decorations

Making homemade crackers is a snap with these step-by-step instructions.

christmas crackers

Spruce up your home without the pine needles.

softie sewing patterns christmas trees

softie christmas tree printable sewing patterns

It’s a Wrap!

You don’t need to spend a cent on wrapping paper.

gift wrapping

Top your gift with a cheerful homemade gift tag. Add a little paint, use a colorful marker, or get the kids to crayon outside the lines.

gift card thank you card

Finally, don’t stress over any of this holiday stuff. Your family (probably) still loves you. And it’s OK if the cat topples the tree (again) this year — it’s only a dang tree. Love, Kerry


  1. Valerie Palmer December 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Love your web site.

    I have not bought wrapping paper or boxes for over 20 years. I save boxes that other things come in, I reuse gift bags and tissue paper. I can find bundles of gift bags at garage sale and thrift stores for pennies.

    When I bought my house 27 years ago I lived on a very strict budget and started to find other ways to have the things I wanted for my home at prices far less than at the stores. Times have changed and my house is paid for but I still continue to shop at consignment stores for clothes, sell things on Kjiji, and hunt at garage sales. It’s fun and I meet interesting people.

  2. Rachel December 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I get butterflies in my stomach with all the wonderful ideas.This my little one got thirty nine costly gifts, it just happens some years, so many people give to her. As awesome as these gifts are, I find her playing with the home made things as often as the most expensive which is over two hundred and fifty.
    I buy fabric all year round that is marked down but very very expensive other wise. I search for patterns that are unique, multi sized and offer so many variations and I go to work. With theleft over fabric I make purses and place mats and ringsk napkins, you name it and they are so unique and beautiful- the fabric is awesome. I cook really expensive (at least at the restaurnat) food and desserts and make pretty containers like the most expensive bakeries for a fraction of the cost. This year we had money left over which is a miracle because many needed financial help we were able to give. IT was such a joy. And I love this site. we pour over it as soon as it is in my mail box. Helped us tremendously.

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