The BookBandit’s Guide to Christmas: The Pre-Game


(The above image was created by me via for the purpose of this post.)

Hello Readers!

Let’s be honest … as festive and as fun-filled as the holidays are, tis the season to be both stressful and expensive. Because of this I feel that more often than not we tend to lose sight of what is important and tend to focus too much on all those stresses.

So, as part of my guide to Christmas, I am going to share some tips and tricks with you to help you stress less, enjoy the holiday season more, and keep some money in your pocket.

It is before the holiday season even approaches that the holiday planning even begins.  The most important thing, I think, is to start your gift giving with making a list of everyone you are planning on purchasing for. Once you have an idea of how many people you will be shopping for, and who you are giving to, it’s time to officially start planning the perfect gift!

During the year I listen to my friends and family for any gift ideas. I listen to see if they tell me about a new hobby they have taken up or want to take up, I listen about their newly discovered favorite things. Basically I take hints and cues from them.  This helps me put together a gift custom-made specifically for them.

Picking up hints and cues along the way truly helps me. For example, when my bestie took up knitting I made it my business to, not only support her in her new hobby, but help her grow her skills. And the way I did that was I bought her a knitting book so she could make tiny, cute things.

Besides being a big help to me, I feel that these hints and cues that I gather and store throughout the year, they help me make a perfectly customized gift.

I am a firm believer in gift giving as a whole. I absolutely love giving to my loved ones. And when I give a gift, I put a lot of thought and effort into it. I feel that a gift should be given for all the right reasons – not out of obligation or because you are looking for something in return.  Listening helps me give them something I’d be happy giving. And I feel that it tells the person I am giving to how much I love and care for them.

Once I have thought of the perfect Christmas gift, I have to think of budget. As I said before the holiday season (I think) is probably the most expensive time of year. And with so many people to buy for – from family to friends to coworkers – it all adds up.

So how do I budget?  First and foremost I set a spending amount. Yes, I set a price as if it were a grab bag. If I don’t set a budget for myself things will get out of hand. If  you are in my close circle (my BFF, my besties, etc.) I tend to spend  up to $50.00. If you are a family member I spend  about $75.00 give or take. That is, with the exception of my parents . I admit, I’m an only child – my parents have spoiled me for so long. Now that I am an adult and have money of my own, it’s my time to spoil them. After all, they deserve it.

With ideas filling my head, and a spending limit set I start researching! Yes, I research … I can’t help it, it’s the librarian in me!  I research first and foremost where I can buy the gifts I want to give. When I’ve figured that out I start to research where the most cost-effective place to buy said gift is.   It’s not about getting the cheapest gift, it’s about getting the biggest bang for my buck. Because if I find the perfect gift for a cheaper price, I can give a little more!

On the budget note, I feel it’s important to note that I DO NOT include any wrapping or gift trimmings in my budget. Reason being is because I tend to buy one (very large) role of wrapping paper and use it for everyone I’m giving a gift to.

So, the quick and dirty version:

  • Make a list of who you are giving to
  • Listen and brainstorm ideas for the perfect gift
  • Set a spending budget (one that doesn’t include wrapping/trimmings)
  • Research the best places to get the most bang for your buck.
  • Give the best gift you possibly can give!

I hope this post helps you guys. Please share with me some of your tips and tricks for your preseason, pre-game planning!


Lists Galore (#1)


(Image from My Future Listography by Lisa Nola)

Hello Readers!

Today is my first official My Future Listogrphy post! And I am so super excited! Seriously, I’ve been waiting all week to share this list with you!

Today’s topic – which I chose as random by flipping through my physical copy of this book – is:

List things You’d Love to Learn How to Make With Your Own Two Hand

(Please note, this list is in no particular order)

My grandmother’s “famous” cake.  Many, many years before I was born, my grandmother discovered a recipe in a magazine, much like many women. It was a recipe for a chocolate cake, but not just any chocolate cake. It was a recipe for a chocolate cake with a cream cheese center and topped with homemade chocolate frosting (my mouth is watering just thinking about it!) She made it for someone’s birthday and ever since then it has been my family’s go to birthday cake. And it is my favorite cake … ever!  This is a cake that, not only do I want to learn how to make, but need to learn. And not just because it’s my favorite but because it’s a part of my family and our history.

A knit scarf. I love crafting. But admittedly I am not great at it. One of the craftier things I’ve wanted to learn to do for quite some time is to learn how to knit.  I tried years ago but failed miserably (this was way before the days of YouTube). I never really attempted again. But since trying (and failing) I’ve had it stuck in my brain that one day I am going to make a chunky knit scarf (in black and white!).

A flower garden. Like knitting, gardening just isn’t my thing. I do not have a green thumb. In fact, I so much as glance at a potted plant and it practically shrivels up and dies instantaneously.  But the interest to plant, grow, and care for plant life is there. And because of this I’m convinced that one day I will be able to grow and cultivate (with my own two hands) my own little flower garden.

A book. I don’t know if this counts, but since I’d be writing said book with my two hands I figured I would include it. Yes, dear readers, if you haven’t guessed by now, I am an aspiring writer. And I can’t help be dream about the day when my work in progress is completely created.

A Thanksgiving Feast. It really isn’t a secret: I am not a domestic goddess. I’m lucky I can make an egg without setting fire to my house.  But I have dreams of moving out of my parents house and hosting my very first Thanksgiving for my friends and family and making a feast for them …. a feast from scratch. From the turkey to all the trimmings. Again, the interest is there but the ability … not so much.

I know that’s a short list. But these are seriously the things that I’d like to learn how to do at some point in my life.

What things would you like to learn to make with your hands, dear readers? Please share! I’d love to hear all about it!

The BookBandit’s Guide to Christmas


Hello Readers!

As you already know, every year I try to run my own Christmas feature here on The BookBandit Blog. Most of those features are book related, because obviously this is a book blog. This year, I decided to change things up a little bit.

This year, I decided to put a bit of a spin on my normal Christmas feature. Instead of focusing on books (okay … this feature will feature books because who would I be if I didn’t?!?) I decided to put together a guide of sorts for you, dear readers.

Yes, it’s The BookBandit’s Guide to Christmas. And during the next couple of weeks, not only will I be sharing some of my Christmas tips and tricks, but I will also be posting some gift buying guides.

So what will I be posting about? This year I’ll be offering up how I go about planning, budgeting, and choosing a wrapping paper theme. Besides that, I will also be posting gift giving guides to books, clothes, and the top beauty products. And if there is anything specific you would like to see here during this feature, please let me know! With that, I’d also love to hear your own Christmas tips and tricks!

I truly hope that you, not only enjoy, but gain some valuable tips/tricks from this feature. So, please dear readers, stay tuned from some Christmas goodness!