I know you want to continue to entertain through out the holidays even though we are all on tight budgets so here are a few tips to help you shine this Christmas season with out breaking the bank. Here are a few of my tips:

1. Create a simply stunning centerpiece: Fill any glass bowl or open top vase with a favorite festive item such as simple solid ornaments or candy canes. They will last all season long. For a special occasion, top your cylinder vases that are filled with goodies with a sphere of flowers. Solid red carnations from the floral department at Tom Thumb are an affordable way to make a dramatic statement with your flowers (I can get you a photo of this if you like it). 2. Set the tone with tea lights: Candles are a great way to evoke nostalgic memories during the holidays. Purchase a bag of little tea lights. Wrap 1/2 wide ribbon that will match your decor (I like the warmth of velvet ribbons during the holiday season) around the edge of the tea lights and secure with double stick tape. Scatter them around your table top for or across your mantles for maximum impact at minimum expense. 3. Cook in Batches: Make a few breakfast or lunch casseroles that you can freeze and serve when needed. It will take the stress out of feeding out of town guests in the morning. Plus, buying in bulk can really stretch a budget. Tom Thumb offers value packs on all their O Organic products etc. Imagine how easy it will be to pull out your casserole, heat it up; add coffee and juice to your table and you have a breakfast feast in three steps! Be sure you let your casseroles cool completely before putting them in the freezer. 4. Be unique with your guest book: Set a bowl or basket of simple and inexpensive solid ornaments and a few paint pens out by the door. Ask your guests to decorate and sign an ornament and then hang it on your tree. It will give them something fun to do, get them in to your home to mingle and you will have a lasting memory of their visit to hang on your tree every year. 5. Make shopping a family affair: Include your kids on your trips to the store. Tom Thumb has thousands of new everyday low prices and great weekly Reward Card specials on items across the store! Their new yellow shelf tags show the old price crossed out and the new everyday low price. It is a great feeling to see your savings right before your eyes! If your kids are along, you can turn the tags into a fun math game. 6. Save Time and Money Shopping: One Stop shopping not only saves you time and money but also your sanity during the holidays. Tom Thumb not only has every thing you need but has reduced prices all across the store- it will save you both time and money. I love the peace of mind that comes along with knowing that I am getting the best price when I see what I am saving on their yellow price tags. 7. Stock up on your shopping trip: Every busy mom needs to make the most of their shopping trip. Stock up on all the everyday items you may need. For quick on the go meals, Tom Thumb has great O Organics products and an Eating Right line. Buying private label brands at Tom Thumb is a great way to save but not skip out on quality. 8. Host a Dessert Party: Hosting a Dessert Party is a great way to keep on your budget during the holidays. Start your party at 8:30 or 9, after your guest list has already been to the office Christmas party or had a family dinner, and you can host them for dessert. One quick trip to the bakery at Tom Thumb and all of your food is taken care of! A variety of the sweet treats in the bakery, a pre-cake, cookie trays, and pastries, are tasty and easy. Serve the treats on your best trays and cake plates. Tom Thumb has all of this in a one stop shop, including wine to pair with your pastries! 9. Decorate with Rosemary: Purchase two small Rosemary trees at Tom Thumb and cover their containers in a row of Candy Canes by using a glue stick and tying a green ribbon around them. Place them on each side of the mantle for a festive look and the aroma is amazing! Sprigs or rosemary and candy canes are also great accents on a serving tray, attached to the bow on a gift or at someone’s place setting. 10. Gift wrap with ease: Wrap a few gifts every day instead of waiting until the last minute. Leave the ribbons off of the packages until you are ready to deliver or ship them. That you can stack up your gifts without messing up the bow! I love to keep the Christmas Cards that people send me. When I do my gift wrapping I use last year’s cards as gift tags by cutting out either a lovely message from the inside of the card or a pretty image from the front of the card. I punch a whole into it and tie it to my package. It is a great way to recycle last year’s cards!

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