Checklist for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Do you want to know my secret for a stress-free Thanksgiving? (or any big family meal for that matter…)  Yeah? Okay. Just have your Dad, who loves to cook, prepare all the main dishes and Turkey, then all you have to do is bring along the dessert. ;)

While this is a realistic scenario for our Thanksgiving and special occasions, (my dad is the best!) I’m sure it’s not for most families.  We can get away with this because we usually have a maximum of 8 people to serve.

Since I know big family meals can be hectic (I’ve experienced many of my husband’s extended family get-togethers), I thought creating a checklist would be really helpful to those of you that want to cut back on some chaos.

This checklist doesn’t tell you what to cook (I trust you have your family favourites) but I’m hoping it will give you a guideline for when things can be completed.  Also, I realize that Canadian Thanksgiving is only a week away, but I think this checklist can be used for any holiday dinner. Simply click on the image below or click here to download your free Checklist for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving.

Checklist for a stress-free thanksgiving

How to you lessen the stress of big family meals?  Also, I’d love to hear what goes on your Thanksgiving menu in the comments!

Calling all Small Canadian Owned Businesses! (2014 Holiday Gift Guides)

2014 holiday gift guide

I am once again in the midst of compiling the fifth Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guide!  Woo hoo!  It has been wildly popular in year’s past with both Simply Frugal readers and business owners alike, so I imagine it will be this year as well!

This year (take a look at a previous gift guide here), I will have four gift guides:

  • gift guide for women
  • gift guide for men
  • gift guide for children
  • gift guide for Etsy shops

If you’re a small, Canadian owned and operated business (including Etsy shop owners!), and can see yourself under one of the gift guide categories, I’d love to feature your business and products in the Holiday gift guide!  I’d also really love to give away a product(s) of yours to lucky Simply Frugal readers to correspond with the gift guide.  (Here’s a link to one of the giveaways so you can get an idea of how it’ll work.)

Like last year, I’ll have to set a limit on how many businesses I can feature as I was a bit run off my feet!  The limit will be 10 businesses per category and I’ll also be setting a minimum $40 prize donation to make the stakes pretty great!

The gift guides and giveaways will happen the week of November 18 – 21, 2014.  Following that, the gift guide will remain available for readers to see from November 21 through to January 15, 2015 (to allow for after-Christmas sales).  If you’re interested in this idea, I think it could work out to be a great promotion for your company as it will be seen by thousands of people everyday.  Just in time for Christmas shopping season!

Please fill out this form if you would like to be a part of making this year’s gift guides the best yet! :) Or contact us if you have any questions by using this contact form.

Merry Christmas!

family November 2013

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

We also want to send you big ole mushy Thank You for being a loyal (or new!) Simply Frugal reader!   It means to much to have so many of you that stop by daily to support our little business!

Many blessings to each and every one of you!

A Homemade Christmas Gift – Elastic Hair Ties


We’re running out of time to make anything too time consuming so I thought these elastic hair ties from would be a perfect last-minute gift to make!  Try looking for elastic at your local fabric store.

homemade christmas gifts

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Bay Rum Aftershave Balm

aftershave balm

If you’ve got a man on your Christmas list that appreciates a nice aftershave, you’ll want to whip up a batch up this Bay Rum Aftershave Balm from Abundance on a Dime!  I can smell the deliciousness through the computer!

homemade christmas gifts

Frugal Stocking Stuffers

frugal stocking stuffers

Stocking stuffers can be so much fun!  My husband and I really only exchange stockings each year.  I like to fill  his up with practical things and a few goodies.  But it’s quite easy to get carried away buying all sorts of little things to add to the stockings so I’ve compiled a list of frugal stocking stuffers that you might enjoy!

  • Christmas is the only time of the year when I have fun with a Scratch Ticket or two!
  • Toothpaste  (get some cheap with coupons!)
  • Toothbrush
  • Candy/Chocolate
  • Homemade CD
  • Homemade cookies
  • Travel sized toiletries
  • Gift cards (give a $10 Starbucks card you’ve earned free with Swagbucks!)
  • Flash drive
  • Deck of cards
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Hot Wheels
  • Gum
  • Crayons, Pencils, Felt pens
  • Notebooks
  • Nail polish
  • Socks
  • Hair accessories
  • Tea or coffee (those Starbucks VIA or Nescafe individual packages might be great!)
  • Maybe some of the freebies you’ve found on Simply Frugal? :)

Have you got any other ideas?  What do you normally add to stockings?

A Homemade Christmas Gift: You’ve Been Snowed On


I love this simple neighbour gift idea from DimplePrints!  You’ll find the instructions and the free printables needed for this “You’ve Been Snowed” on Kit over at Tatertots & Jello!  I don’t think there’s a neighbour out there that wouldn’t be happy to find this at their door!

homemade christmas gifts

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Slippers with Fabric Flowers


I think this is such a cute idea!  I even think it’s simple/quick enough for me to pull off for a couple of girlfriends!  Head over to to learn ho to make these DIY slippers with interchangeable fabric flowers.

homemade christmas gifts

A Homemade Christmas Gift: Toddler Clipping Toy


This gift idea is something I’m actually thinking of making for Sienna!  One of her favourite things to do right now is to clip buckles!

Visit Kids Activities Blog for instructions on how to make this DIY Clipping Toy.

homemade christmas gifts

DIY Christmas Card Display

Gather your supplies and give this simple DIY Christmas Card Display a try. It is a project you are sure to enjoy, as it is festive, frugal, AND functional!

Are you tired of figuring out how to display your Christmas cards year after year? They seem to fall down when you tape them up, and the store bought displays can be quite pricey and don’t provide much room. This year, why don’t you make your own instead? In about an hour, and with some common materials, you can make your own Christmas card display that looks like something sold at a specialty boutique. Take a peek at how easy it is!

DIY Christmas Card Display

supplies for card display

Supplies needed:

  • Large wooden picture frame
  • Spray paint
  • Clothesline
  • Staple gun
  • Mini or regular clothespins

I was able to find a large frame at a local thrift store for just a few dollars. Any large wooden frame will do, and since you don’t need the glass, the condition of the glass and frame backing do not matter. Clothesline like the kind I used in the sample picture can be found at your local dollar store, as can regular sized clothespins. If you want the mini pins, check your local craft store when you go shopping for your spray paint.


  1. Begin by cleaning your frame well. Apply a coat of spray paint so the frame is covered. Allow it to dry before adding a second coat, if needed. I chose a fun minty color, but you pick a color that suits you!
  2. When the frame is dry, flip it over so the back is exposed. Cut lengths of clothesline that are about 4 inches longer than the width of the frame.
  3. Use your staple gun to secure the clothesline into horizontal strips across the frame. Pull the clothesline tightly before stapling so it is not sagging. Repeat until you have 3 to 4 (more if your frame is larger and allows it) rows for hanging.

That’s all there is to it! Now take your clothespins and start securing those Christmas cards as they arrive in the mail. When the season is over, you can still use this frame to hang photos, birthday cards, recipe cards, or any paper items of your choosing. It is a great way to showcase your cards and photos in a way that really makes them look like a piece of art.

So gather your supplies and give this simple DIY Christmas Card Display a try. It is a project you are sure to enjoy, as it is festive, frugal, AND functional!

DIY christmas card display