Christmas Eve is tomorrow! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s also one of the most chaotic times of the year. My biggest stressor has been budgeting the expenses of gifts and of visiting family. Spending is an inevitable part of the holidays (and I LOVE giving gifts, so it’s always worth it to me), but I do try my best to shop and spend “smart.”
For me, “smart” means hunting for steals and deals (something y’all know I’m obsessed with) and using credit cards that offer great rewards. As someone who was very reluctant to have a credit card post college (we’ve all heard the debt horror stories), I’ve found them to be incredibly helpful when used responsibly.
It was actually Molly who convinced me that it would be a smart way to spend money. Since she’s such a shrewd spender, I was kind of skeptical. That is, until she told me unlike using a debit card or cash, certain cards come with amazing rewards that either give you money back and/or points credited for purchases. Of course I had seen rewards marketed online and on credit card commercials, but hearing it from Mol - who I trust with all things finance - is what finally made me consider adopting a card (or two) for myself.
This time of year, there is no better card than the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase for your ho-ho-holiday shopping!
There are several things we really like about the card. For one, my family can earn points on every purchase we make, which can go towards free night stays at Marriott properties worldwide. They have a super diverse selection of hotel brands too – with over 5,700 hotels around the world! We have some out of town weddings and a few trips on the calendar for 2017, so being able to sock away points to put towards hotel stays makes travel that much more affordable.
I won’t lie, budgeting and tracking my spending does not come easy to me. Using a bank account or separate credit card for all utilities/reoccurring monthly expenses and then another credit card for my other purchases has helped me. For others, however, it’s using coupons. A survey from Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase found that 47% of Americans have shopped at stores where they had a coupon or there were discounts in order to save money to spend on holiday shopping. Now that’s one way to shop “smart”! Regardless of your choice or methods, budgeting is always key – especially during the holidays.
Once I’ve done my shopping (and I’m just waiting on a few last minute buys!) it’s time for my favorite part: wrapping. Beautifully wrapped gifts are a hallmark of Christmas for my family and my mom has passed down her flair of choosing festive, colorful papers and hand-tying color coordinating bows. Whether you have many gifts under the tree or a few special items, seeing them done-up in these bows makes opening what’s inside even more special.
It’s taken me years of practice to be as good at bow tying as my mom and Molly but I thought I would show you how it’s done in case anyone wants to take a stab at it! We use “satin ribbon” for making the bows because the loops keep their shape. And, after a little Googling (trying to find some help in writing out directions), I learned that these types of bows are called “pom pom bows.” Who knew?!
Here are the steps:
- Take a piece if ribbon and loop it around the middle of your wrapped box (your choice if you want it to wrap the long or short width!) – make it so there is enough to tie in the center with about 6-10” extra length on each side of the tie.
- You can knot the ribbon wrapped around the body of the box in a knot but we (my mom, Molly and I) prefer to just do a single tie and not a true knot. If you wiggle the satin ribbon a bit back and forth it should hold in this spot once you release
- Start pulling ribbon off your spool, pinch* a spot ~4-6” from the end cut, make a loop that measures about 4” in length (that’s ~8” of ribbon length) and pinch it at the same spot you were holding. *the pinch should be gathering the width of the ribbon
- Do another loop, going the opposite direction of the first (you’re basically just folding the ribbon but pinching in the center) and pinch it again. At this point you will have two loops, being pinched between your fingers.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 so you have four loops total, all pinched in one area.
- Position the pinched section above the tie you have made on your wrapped box. Keep a hold on the pinch section and press firmly down on the tie!
- This is where things get tricky, you need to use your free hand to take the loose edges of the tie and use them to tie around the pinched loops. Practice!
- Once you get your tie made, pull it firmly. You should have your four loops all secured and be able to fluff them up.
- Now just trim the four loose ends – two from the box and two from the pinched loops – in diagonal cuts, leaving about 3-5” depending on the size of your box.
- 10. Voila!
Like I said, it took me years to perfect the bow-making method. But now I can’t tie up wrapped packages any other way. Now excuse me, while I finish up the remainder of my buying and wrapping (making a list, checking it twice…)