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Money-Saving Tips For The Holiday Season

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday season, with lots of events, markets, shopping lists, meals to be made, parties to attend, outfits to buy, the list goes on and on. If you’re looking to make your shopping list and check it twice to ensure you’re spending smartly, these money-saving strategies can be helpful.

Money-saving tips for the holiday season

  1. Create a Budget:
    • Establish a realistic budget for holiday spending that includes gifts, decorations, food, and any other expenses.
    • Stick to your budget to avoid overspending.
  2. Make a Gift List:
    • Create a list of people you need to buy gifts for and brainstorm thoughtful yet budget-friendly gift ideas.
    • Consider homemade gifts or experiences rather than expensive store-bought items.
  3. Compare Prices:
    • Shop around and compare prices before making any purchases. Look for deals, discounts, and promotions.
    • Online shopping platforms often offer price comparison tools that can help you find the best deals.
  4. Take Advantage of Sales:
    • Keep an eye on holiday sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other promotions to score discounts on gifts and other items.
    • Consider shopping during off-peak hours to avoid crowds and take advantage of less-known sales.
  5. Use Cash Back and Rewards Programs:
    • If you have credit cards with cash back or rewards programs, use them to earn benefits on your holiday purchases.
    • Check if your credit card offers any special promotions or discounts during the holiday season.
  6. DIY Decorations:
    • Make your own holiday decorations instead of buying expensive ones. There are many creative and cost-effective DIY decoration ideas available online.
  7. Potluck Parties:
    • If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, consider having a potluck where each guest contributes a dish. This can significantly reduce your food expenses.
  8. Secret Santa or Gift Exchanges:
    • Instead of buying gifts for everyone in a large group, suggest a Secret Santa or gift exchange. This way, each person only has to buy one gift.
  9. Limit Holiday Travel Costs:
    • If possible, limit holiday travel expenses by planning ahead, being flexible with travel dates, and looking for deals on transportation and accommodation.
  10. Avoid Impulse Buying:
    • Stick to your shopping list and avoid impulse purchases. Take the time to think about whether a particular item is truly necessary.
  11. Use Coupons and Promo Codes:
    • Look for coupons, promo codes, and discounts before making online or in-store purchases. Many retailers offer special codes during the holiday season.
  12. Consider Secondhand Gifts:
    • Explore secondhand or thrift stores for unique and affordable gifts. You might find hidden gems at a fraction of the cost.
  13. Plan Ahead for Next Year:
    • Consider purchasing holiday items (decorations, wrapping paper, etc.) after the holidays when they are on clearance for the following year.

Remember, the holidays are about spending time with loved ones and expressing gratitude, not necessarily about expensive gifts or lavish decorations. Finding meaningful ways to celebrate without breaking the bank can make the season more enjoyable and less stressful.

More holiday blogs you may be interested in

Cindy Cody Team - A Step-By-Step Guide To Hosting the Best Holiday Party Ever & unique holiday theme ideas

A step-by-step guide to help you create a fantastic holiday party, plus a list of unique holiday party themes to inspire your next event.
Read more.

Kitchener-Waterloo Local Gift Giving Guide

From foodies and movie buffs to friends who are new to KW and family with a sweet tooth, here are some great gift ideas from KW businesses for some people who might be on your nice list.
Read more.

Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like A Pro

If you’re looking for some tips to decorate your Christmas tree like a professional, this is the advice you need.
Read more.

Cindy Cody Team - Finding the Perfect Gift For The Home Decor Lover In Your Life

Looking for the ideal present for that special someone who adores home decor? Look no further! We’ve got you covered with some fantastic gift ideas that will surely make their day.
Read more.

House & Home

A Step-By-Step Guide To Hosting the Best Holiday Party Ever

Hosting the best holiday party ever requires careful planning and attention to detail to ensure your guests have a memorable and enjoyable time. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a fantastic holiday party, plus a list of unique holiday party themes to inspire your next event.

Holiday Party Planning Details

  1. Decide on the Theme: Choose a theme for your holiday party. It could be a traditional holiday theme, a winter wonderland, a costume party, or any other creative idea that suits your preferences and the preferences of your guests.
  2. Create a Guest List: Determine the number of guests you’d like to invite and create a guest list. Make sure you have enough space to accommodate everyone comfortably.
  3. Send Invitations: Send out invitations well in advance, either through traditional paper invitations or digital invitations. Request RSVPs to get an accurate headcount.
  4. Plan Your Budget: Determine a budget for your party and allocate funds for various aspects, including decorations, food and drinks, entertainment, and party favors.
  5. Decorations: Decorate your home or venue to match the chosen theme. Consider using festive colors, lights, ornaments, and other decorations to create a festive atmosphere.
  6. Food and Drinks: Plan your menu based on the number of guests and dietary restrictions. You can offer a buffet, a potluck-style meal, or hire a caterer. Make sure to have a variety of dishes and drinks, including non-alcoholic options.
  7. Entertainment: Organize activities and entertainment to keep your guests engaged. This could include games, a holiday movie screening, a photo booth, or live music. Music and dancing are often a hit at holiday parties.
  8. Party Favours: Consider providing small party favours for your guests, such as holiday-themed cookies, ornaments, or other trinkets. These can serve as keepsakes and tokens of appreciation.
  9. Dress Code: Let your guests know the dress code on the invitation. You can specify formal, semi-formal, or casual attire, depending on your party’s style.
  10. Plan for Safety: If alcohol is being served, ensure that you have designated drivers or alternative transportation options for guests who may be drinking. Encourage responsible drinking.
  11. Accommodate Dietary Restrictions: Be aware of your guests’ dietary restrictions and provide alternative options for those with food allergies or preferences. You can include a note on your invitation asking guests to let you know if they have dietary restrictions.
  12. Timing and Schedule: Plan the start and end times for your party. Be sure to provide a clear schedule for activities and refreshments to keep the party flowing smoothly.
  13. Capture Memories: Consider having a photographer or a designated friend take photos throughout the event. Create a photo wall or album for guests to enjoy afterward.
  14. Keep the Ambiance Cozy: Ensure your venue is well-heated, and consider having a cozy seating area with blankets and pillows for guests to relax and chat.
  15. Be a Gracious Host: As the host, make an effort to greet and engage with your guests, ensuring everyone feels welcome and included.
  16. Follow Up: After the party, send thank-you notes (or a simple text message) to your guests to express your appreciation for their attendance and any gifts they may have brought.

Hosting the best holiday party ever involves creating a warm and festive atmosphere, providing delicious food and drinks, and offering entertainment that suits your guests’ preferences. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can ensure that your holiday party is a memorable and enjoyable experience for all who attend.

Unique Holiday Party Themes

If you’re looking to host a unique holiday party and want to break away from the traditional themes, here are some creative and unique holiday party theme ideas to consider:

  • Ugly Sweater Karaoke Party: Combine the classic ugly sweater party with karaoke. Guests can wear their most outlandish sweaters and take turns performing their favorite holiday songs or other hits. Prizes can be awarded for the ugliest sweater and the best karaoke performance.
  • Gingerbread House Decorating Contest: Provide gingerbread house kits and an array of decorating supplies. Have a friendly competition to see who can create the most creative and visually appealing gingerbread house.
  • Winter Wonderland Masquerade Ball: Host a formal masquerade ball with a winter wonderland theme. Guests can wear elegant attire and ornate masks while enjoying a beautifully decorated venue with snowflakes, icicles, and twinkling lights.
  • Around-the-World Holiday Feast: Celebrate the diversity of holiday traditions by featuring dishes from various countries. Guests can sample international holiday foods, learn about different customs, and enjoy a global culinary experience.
  • Pajama and Pancake Brunch: Invite your guests to wear their favorite holiday-themed pajamas and enjoy a cozy morning or afternoon brunch featuring a variety of pancakes, waffles, and toppings.
  • Holiday Movie Marathon: Set up a home theater or a cozy screening area and host a holiday movie marathon. Let your guests vote on which classic holiday films to watch, and provide plenty of popcorn, hot chocolate, and blankets.
  • White Elephant Gift Exchange: Make the gift exchange more entertaining by having a “re-gift” party. Encourage guests to bring items they no longer want, and the goal is to pick the quirkiest or funniest gifts to exchange.
  • Holiday Carnival: Transform your space into a holiday carnival with games like ring toss, a pie-eating contest, and a photo booth with festive props. Provide carnival treats like cotton candy, popcorn, and mini donuts.
  • Escape Room Holiday Challenge: Team up your guests and have them solve holiday-themed puzzles and riddles in an escape room setting. This is a great way to encourage collaboration and festive competition.
  • Winter Beach Party: Create a tropical oasis inside with beach-themed decorations, a sandcastle-building contest, and summer-inspired cocktails. It’s a fun way to escape the winter chill.
  • Secret Santa Scavenger Hunt: Organize a scavenger hunt where participants have to solve riddles and clues to find their Secret Santa gifts hidden throughout the venue.
  • Holiday Art and Craft Workshop: Provide art supplies and crafting materials for guests to create their own holiday-themed crafts, ornaments, or decorations. It’s a great way to spark creativity and take home unique souvenirs.
  • Vintage Christmas: Host a party with a nostalgic twist by recreating a vintage Christmas from a particular era, such as the 1950s or 1980s. Encourage guests to dress in period-appropriate attire and play music from that time.

Choose a theme that resonates with your personality and the preferences of your guests, and don’t forget to incorporate unique decorations, food, and activities to make your holiday party truly unforgettable.

Community Events Local Events

2023 Holiday Markets & Events in Waterloo Region

The holiday season is almost upon us, and what better way to celebrate than by attending some of the most exciting events of the year? From festive markets to dazzling light displays, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. We’re sharing all the details on the best holiday events happening in Waterloo Region (and surrounding area). So grab a cup of hot cocoa, put on your favorite holiday sweater, and get ready to make some unforgettable memories!

🔔Holiday Parades

  • November 18 | KW Santa Claus Parade | Bring your letters to Santa for Canada Post to deliver, donate to the Food Bank of Waterloo, and help local Firefighters collecting for the Nights of Columbus Toy Drive.
  • November 18 | Cambridge Santa Claus Parade | Starting at 6:00pm, the parade will most onto Hespeler Road from Dunbar Road and will turn off Hespeler Road at Langs Drive.
  • November 25 | Elora Santa Claus Parade | Annual parade of lights.
  • December 2 | Elmira Santa Claus Parade | Downtown Elmira

🎁Festive Markets

🎄Light Displays

🕎The More the Merrier🎵

  • November 18 | Santa Pur-suit | Starts at 9:15, right before the KW Santa Claus Parade
  • November 23-December 31 | Cambridge Winterfest | A month long festival that features many great events the community has come to know and love.
  • November 24, 25, 30 & December 1, 2 | The Sounds of Christmas | A multi-performer musical journey through the many styles of Christmas music in support of Kidsability.
  • December 22 | Stars on Ice: A Special Holiday Performance | Elvis Stojko is hosting a holiday celebration with a guest lists that includes the best and most popular figure skaters in the world.
House & Home

Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like A Pro

As holiday content starts to hit our screens, you’ll likely be seeing lots of new holiday decorating trends popping up. Food and decorating shows are all over TV with lots of tips to get your home ready for the holiday season, and creators are posting their festive photos and videos across social media.

Don’t let their perfectly curated holiday scenes send you into a panic. Here’s a spoiler: their houses have been decorated for the holidays for months already.

But if you’re looking for some tips to decorate your Christmas tree like a professional, we’ve pulled some tips to give you a hand.

Christmas Tree Decorating Tips

The Order of Events

  1. Grab your family
  2. Put on your favourite holiday soundtrack or movie
  3. Mix everyone a hot chocolate, eggnog or festive cocktail
  4. Find the perfect spot and position your tree (anchor it if necessary) Tip: If you’re using a tree collar, now is the time! Some collars are difficult to use after your tree is all done.
  5. Hang your lights first. Before you move on, step bake to make sure you haven’t missed any spots. Tip: If you squint your eyes you can see the general distribution of lights and see if there are any areas that need some more attention!
  6. Wrap the garland around the tree. Tip: If you’re going for a less busy look, consider a thinner garland, or someting beaded.
  7. Hang your ornaments. This is a great activity for the whole family. Everyone can put their favourite ornaments in prime positions. Tip: If you’ve positioned your tree in front of a window, don’t forget the back!
  8. Add your tree skirt (or tree collar)
  9. Put the topper on… well, the top!
  10. Sit back and admire your hard work.

Give Your Artificial Tree A Fresh Dusting Of Snow

If you have a beloved fake tree that you use every year, maybe you’re looking to add a dusting of “fresh” snow to your tree. Flocking, is when you add synthetic snow (or a material that creates the illusion) to create a winter wonderland on your tree.

Pick A Theme For Your Tree

Some people love to re-create the same Christmas tree year after year. The holidays are all about tradition after all! But if you want to switch things us, choose a new theme to try this year. You can work with the ornaments and decorations you already have, and even make some of your own.

Can You Ever Have Too Many Lights?

It’s all about being Merry & Bright, right? The lights are what make any Christmas tree glow (literally), so use these tips to ensure your tree is lit up in all its glory. Here’s a guide to help you choose the best lights, plus steps to help you light an artificial tree and a real tree.

Create A Balanced Look

If you’re really aiming for a designer look this year, there are a few things you can do. Once you have your theme, gather all your ornaments in advice. Choose colours and materials that will bring your vision to life. Here are a few pieces of advice from House Beautiful:

Balance the decor

Given the many Christmas tree decorations you’re likely to have, you have to ensure that everything is well-balanced and spread out to your liking. Arrange embellishments from the top of the tree and then work towards the bottom. This way, you can easily check your design as you dress up your tree.

Cluster your baubles

Balsam Hill’s design consultant, Brad Schmidt, recommends clustering three baubles of different sizes to add flair and visual appeal. You can either put the same pieces together or choose contrasting ones.

Use tree picks

Tree picks and floral sprays come in many forms, such as decorated branches, twigs, berries, or even pine cones – use them as subtle accents to complement the entire look of your tree. Grouping picks together using floral wire is a creative way to elevate the visual appeal of your tree without overpowering other decorations.

Read more: 12 Secrets to Decorating your Christmas tree like a professional

Happy Decorating!


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2016 Kitchener Santa Claus Parade

Cindy Cody Team

Happy Holidays 2015