There's nothing thrifty about December here, that's for sure. With property taxes, car license, driver's license, and even the dog is taxed, money is out the door as soon as it arrives. And then there's all the parties and presents. One fun way to exchange gifts is to have a good old-fashioned Yankee swap. Here's how it works:
Each guests brings a inexpensive wrapped gift based on a chosen theme. I think a fun girls night out theme would be Christmas brooches. Number pieces of paper for the total number of guests and put them in a bowl or hat. Pass the bowl or hat around and each person draws one number. The person that draws #1 gets to choose and open any gift. Person #2 chooses and opens a gift and then decides if they want to keep it or exchange it for the gift #1 has opened. Proceed on opening and trading until you come to the last person to open a present. That person has the choice of all the opened gifts. I think this would work well for a large family, provided they could all agree on a theme. Board games, specialty foods, gift certificates to fast food places, and dollar store gag gifts, are some of the themes I have come up with. Books for a book club might be fun.
A thrifty way to decorate your porch to greet your guests is to put those inexpensive battery operated candles in various mason and glass jars. Looks so pretty, especially with the snow falling.
This is the season that we have goodie days at work and clubs. I like to bring something savory to counteract all the sweets.
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. pineapple juice
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. mustard
1/3 C. white vinegar
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 lbs. miniature smoked sausages
Combine the brown sugar, mustard and flour. Gradually stir in the liquids. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sauce begins to thicken. Add sausages and heat through. These are good to keep hot in a crock pot and can be made ahead of time.