my secret to the best Christmas gift EVER

Christmas is on the way!! Yes, I know it isn’t even October yet, but the early bird catches the worm right? And if you’re  anything like our family used to be, it is usually a last minute rush to get a few more gifts because you really don’t think you have enough for each kid. Running around last minute, late night trips to Target (which are usually the most enjoyable thing) are rushed and frustrating because the store is usually packed with others doing the same. And of course, the worst case, the person in front of you grabs the last item off the shelf that was at the top of your child’s list.


On top of the physical and emotional stress of holiday stopping, there is the financial stress. The holidays are NOT CHEAP. Our first Christmas with the MadMan, he was just about one and that boy got every damn present under the sun (some of the advantages to being the first born or an old child). Fast forward a few years to TJ’s second Christmas, we finally got our act together. MadMan was just about to turn 4 and TJ was 18 months. We cut way back on toys. The boys got one major gift (a tepee for their room) and then they each got a few smaller individual gifts. Now fast forward to this year. The boys are getting one big gift to share (which if you keep reading is really the point of this post) and the Little Miss is getting a few things and the same treatment as TJ a few years back (which is a few of the toys we already own with fresh wrapping paper on them ready for her to crinkle). I’ll be opening up this box of Taggies to be exact and wrapping each one individually. To get to my point, Christmas is expensive, whether you have 1, 2 or 12 kids – you just have to find that balance. We have.

I was chatting with a person the other day about this and they asked why I was “depriving the little miss of joy on her first Christmas” and not showering her with gifts. Before I went all Mama Bear  and punched them in the face, while shouting profanities at the Chick-fil-a play place, I collected myself (so proud) and explained this.

Christmas isn’t about the number of gifts and we don’t want to raise our children to think that is all it is about. We want them to be grateful for what they have other than material items (family, friends, good health, etc) first. Our kids get one big kid gift (to share) and then a few smaller things each. That is it. So I am not ‘depriving’ her, the gift the boys are getting (I’ll get to it, I promise) will be around for a long time and something she’ll enjoy as she gets older as well and her Taggies, well those are for now. And second she is SIX MONTHS OLD as long as she can crinkle some paper and be with everyone she’ll have the biggest smile. And THAT is what is important. Oh and, she has two set of grandparents who enjoy spoiling her AND she is the only girl grandchild for one of those sets, so there are also all those gifts. Go report me if you think I am still depriving her of holiday joy…

Alright, enough of that minor tangent, I now present you with the best gift (in both quality and cost)

A Dress up Chest!

Really Katie, A dress up chest? Please keep reading – I swear you’ll thank me next year.

Yes a dress up chest, but you know why it’s the best, because we got all of this, for under $80. And trust me that’s a steal, I added everything up while taking tags off, and this haul is priced at around $600. (Except the LEGOs- those slipped into the picture, sorry about that. BUT I did get that set for 50% off – thank you cartwheel app!)


When we first started looking for dress up/pretend play I could believe how expensive these damn ‘pretend play’ costumes were. We were looking at spending damn near $300 to build a mediocre collection made up of two costumes and one toy gun. Then my husband had a spark of genius. Yes y’all I am giving him credit for this idea. What better time to stock up on dress up items when Halloween passes by and all the Halloween costumes are about 90% off at target?!

A two dollar LEGO mask?- Yep need that.

Three dollars for a banana costume? – YEP!

Six cents for a sheet of fake mustaches?! Give me fifteen!

We bought that place out.

Adding to the pretend play set up, we are searching for a large toy chest to put the clothes in and a tri-fold privacy wall thing to make the setup complete. Craigslist and the marketplace part of facebook have been a daily go to to check for things on the cheap.

So remember this post for next year. When you walk into Target to grab your 75% off, day after Halloween candy to hide in the back of the freezer, grab every Yoda mask and unicorn costume you can fit in your cart. Your kids will thank you.



About katie

just your rotten mouthed guide through life, reviews, organization and some parenting tips- cause you know, I am a parent x3 :)


  1. Janice

    Awesome idea! Dress up is the best way for kids to use their imagination. Lots of manufactured toys don’t give them that opportunity.

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