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10 Holiday Tips to Save Time and Money

Shopping, cooking, gift-wrapping, entertaining. The tasks and expenses that pile up each December can feel never-ending. Use these tried-and-true tips, from members of our social network Momster.com, to take some stress out of the season.

By Jillian Olsen

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Chocolate-Walnut Cookie Mix
Ann Stratton
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Get Crafty

During these tough economic times, many Momster users are rolling up their sleeves and going D.I.Y. "People love homemade gifts and it's fun making them with your kids," says HoopieMom, pointing out that you can create a whole lot of items for a fraction of what you'd spend buying one new. Mel_dawn uses simple, inexpensive ingredients to make perfumes, body powders, ornaments, and treats for family, friends, and schoolteachers. (See her recipes for body powder and perfume below.) Go the extra distance with the wrapping to make the gift extra special.

Homemade Body Powder

Ingredients
1 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon essential oil of your choice, such as vanilla or lavender

Here's how: Combine cornstarch and essential oil in a zip-top bag; shake well to distribute the oil. Package in a small, decorative box.

Homemade Perfume (do this without children or else heavily supervise them)

Ingredients
5-6 drops sandalwood oil
10 drops bergamot oil
3-4 tablespoons vodka
2-3 cups water

Here's how: Mix essential oils with vodka in a dark glass bottle, shake and set aside. After three weeks, mix the vodka mixture with water and let sit again for a week. Store the perfume in dark bottles to keep the scent fresher. (Alternative scent: instead of sandalwood and bergamot oils, use six drops lavender oil and 10 drops of chamomile oil.)

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