Frugal Holidays 2008 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I am starting this because last year there was a HUGE thread on what everyone was spending/saving/making for the holidays. It had the BEST ideas and I am hoping everyone will start thinking about it and bringing ideas to the table!

For us: We go home to MN from TX for Xmas, so unless my parents buy one or two of the tickets, there will not be a lot of extra gift money.

Last year, I was pretty creative, but still in the end, I was rushing around and spent A LOT of money.

I could really use some good ideas!
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#2 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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Well I have made candy for the holidays for years, so that's what DH's family all get. They all insist on getting presents for everyone, so it is just crazy chaos. Personally this year I would love to have a mellow at home Christmas eve, we'll see.

Anyway, I start making/freezing candy in late Nov., this year all supplies will be bought from Costco(i already have some in my stock pile). I am hoping to convince DH to make DD a doll house that I could easily decorate with bargain stuff. Adult family members are getting gift baskets with a pic of DD(or family) and either coffee stuff, or stuff for movie night. I can easily make one of these for 10 bucks with stuff from the dollar store. I think I'll get my Grandma a gc to the movies(she loves them). That about it, we need to start saving.

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#3 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 04:52 PM
 
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I bought up some white and chocolate bark to put in the freezer. That will become gifts (coated coffee spoons, candy, pretzels) in December. I'm also thinking about crocheting some string bags for the little girls in the family.

Looking forward to some great ideas. It's hard to believe that it's almost June.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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#4 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 04:58 PM
 
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I'm making huckleberry jam (a Montana speciality) for all of my siblings who have moved away from Montana.

We draw names in my immediate family, so, in addition to the jam, which ever sibling I draw is getting a basket filled with the following:

*homemade chai mix
*homemade oil/balsamic vinegar mix for dipping bread (like at Great Harvest bakery, but for waaaaay less than the $$$ they want for theirs )
*homemade granola in a reusable cereal dispenser
*a tin of homemade molasses cookies (that I am famous for, and for which I refuse to divulge the recipe - keeps them grateful! )
*homemade buffalo jerky (I know a place locally where I can get buffalo meat for less than beef. I only need a pound to make the jerky, and using buffalo adds to the "Montana-ness" of the gift basket.)

My children's teachers are getting the gifts I received from people at my office last year and didn't want. :

My children are a little harder. They're really past the age when homemade toys are good gifts, and they really don't need anything.

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#5 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 05:03 PM
 
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I'm going to knit DD a blanket because she watns a "big girl" one. I may try to knit hats/mittens for my sisters and SILs. Knitting is the only "crafty" thing I know how to do. I'm looking forward to reading what others are doing/making.

One thing I am going to do is plan and not go overboard. We're doing three gifts for each child and just one for adults. Last year we did the three gift rule, but one "gift" was toy cars and a road "carpet" - all the gifts were like that - one idea with 18 things to it! Also, much of our holiday money is spent on last minute gifts because we don't think we did "enough."

I would love to make (if I knew how to sew - I should learn!) is a quillow. I wanted one for DS last year with one side of it being a town with roads that he could drive his toy cars on. Fold it up, use it in the car as a pillow, unfold it at Gramma's for instant fun.
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#6 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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Ooo, I like the homemade granola idea, because I make tasty granola.

Last year, I read about making homemade hot cocoa mix. I am going to do that this year for my sis, because she's a nut about hot chocolate in the winter.

I wanted to knit a blanket for someone last year and did not find that saved me money. The yarn was really expensive.

My parents and ILs don't need much at this point in their lives, so we often give them photos of the DD. Last year, we had a professional photographer take pics of us and I put some of them in frames. I was happy to see that these photos had been placed on the wall at my IL's home.
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#7 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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I'm having babe #4 right around Christmas, so presents this year are going to be VERY easy and laid back.

For most of the people on our list, they'll be getting homemade beeswax candles, a set of votives and a set of hand dipped tapers. They'll be wrapped in a pretty ribbon and that's about it.

My kiddos are still pretty small so homemade toys and such are still a big hit, same w/ my best friend's kids who are the same age as mine.

Not really sure what I'm doing for DH yet.

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#8 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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kathirynne- your gift baskets sound AWESOME!!!!

I love all of the "gourmet" foods you make...I bet people think those are awesome!!

I love the holidays, hence the name, and it's fun to plan and think about them from about June on!
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#9 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I love the holidays, too. Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I start saying "Its time to think about Christmas"...in May.

I am going to do homemade gifts - jam, candy or beeswax candles - for family and friends. (I will probably also get my nieces and nephew a nice holiday themed book.)

With the kids, we do the Twelve Days of Christmas, with 12 different activities each day. (Used to be activities and/or gifts.) Like, one day we'll drive around looking at lights drinking hot chocolate while listening to holiday music, another day we'll bake cookies, another build gingerbread houses, another make ornaments for the tree, etc. Basically turning all the traditions into an "event" in and of themselves - helps us not focus on just that ONE day.

As far as gifts go, we usually do three gifts for all the kids, but I'm hoping we can transition to one Christmas gift for each. (That might not happen until next year, though.)
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#10 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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We're having a baby in September and flying to a family wedding in December... so yeah, holiday $$ is going to be rather slim.

Most of my friends and family have specific dietary issues, so the food and candy ideas often don't work for us. I can knit, but that can be pretty expensive.

I'm rather stumped.

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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#11 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 09:53 PM
 
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I really only buy for one family - my goddaughter, her younger sister, and parents. Kids will get a Christmas ornament for St. Nicholas Day and a book for Christmas. Parents will get a pound of coffee. They're great coffee buffs, and will be moving away for the husband's grad school for a year - so money will be VERY tight. The coffee will be much appreciated. I always search around for interesting looking ones, preferrably fair trade.

I might get my boss a $10 gift card for Subway. Might exchange with another friend or two, but not sure. I've got lots of cards bought on sale in previous years. Will try to do more e-cards.

I can usually do Christmas for $100 total or less.

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#12 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 11:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
I can usually do Christmas for $100 total or less.
What does that include? Just curious, do you mean $100 just in gifts? Or everything (food, tree - if you do that, etc.)
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#13 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 11:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post
I'm making huckleberry jam (a Montana speciality) for all of my siblings who have moved away from Montana.

We draw names in my immediate family, so, in addition to the jam, which ever sibling I draw is getting a basket filled with the following:

*homemade chai mix
*homemade oil/balsamic vinegar mix for dipping bread (like at Great Harvest bakery, but for waaaaay less than the $$$ they want for theirs )
*homemade granola in a reusable cereal dispenser
*a tin of homemade molasses cookies (that I am famous for, and for which I refuse to divulge the recipe - keeps them grateful! )
*homemade buffalo jerky (I know a place locally where I can get buffalo meat for less than beef. I only need a pound to make the jerky, and using buffalo adds to the "Montana-ness" of the gift basket.)

My children's teachers are getting the gifts I received from people at my office last year and didn't want. :

My children are a little harder. They're really past the age when homemade toys are good gifts, and they really don't need anything.
is the chai mix to make chai Lattes?? Like the Tazo stuff?? Would you share the recipe???

And ..... I see nothing wrong with regifting!!

Catholic homeschooling mom of 5 - a teenager, a kindergartener, twin boys and a tiny princess. Follow the Adventures! 

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#14 of 389 Old 05-28-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess View Post
I love the holidays, too. Everyone thinks I'm crazy when I start saying "Its time to think about Christmas"...in May.

I am going to do homemade gifts - jam, candy or beeswax candles - for family and friends. (I will probably also get my nieces and nephew a nice holiday themed book.)

With the kids, we do the Twelve Days of Christmas, with 12 different activities each day. (Used to be activities and/or gifts.) Like, one day we'll drive around looking at lights drinking hot chocolate while listening to holiday music, another day we'll bake cookies, another build gingerbread houses, another make ornaments for the tree, etc. Basically turning all the traditions into an "event" in and of themselves - helps us not focus on just that ONE day.

As far as gifts go, we usually do three gifts for all the kids, but I'm hoping we can transition to one Christmas gift for each. (That might not happen until next year, though.)
with the candles ... how time consuming/expensive/messy/user friendly is this?? This may be something I'd like to try for gifts ...

Love the 12 Days ideas ....

Catholic homeschooling mom of 5 - a teenager, a kindergartener, twin boys and a tiny princess. Follow the Adventures! 

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#15 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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subbing
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#16 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 12:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess View Post
What does that include? Just curious, do you mean $100 just in gifts? Or everything (food, tree - if you do that, etc.)
Mind you, I'm single. But that includes gifts, stamps (don't do a lot of cards), cards and wrapping left over from previous years, the pie or two I'll make/buy to take where I'm having Christmas dinner.

I don't DO a tree - no space. I have some wooden folk art-ish trees I put around the apt (3 - they were made for me about 18" high), and have a string of LED lights I hang in the front window. I'm minimal. I want lights and so I get that.

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#17 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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Need Feedback....
I was looking around at crochet/crafty type things...
What do you think of crocheted aprons for your bottle of dish detergent on the sink


http://www.crochetnmore.com/dishsoapapron.htm
http://blujay.com/item/New-Hand-Croc...110400-1633824

LOAF PAN TOTE- THIS LOOKS REALLY UNIQUE
http://www.crochetnmore.com/loafpantote.htm

**I have tubs and tubs of yarn, small skeins, left over yarn etc: so there is no real cost involved

Ok... would you like to recieve something like the above for the holidays?
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#18 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 09:53 AM
 
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1growingsprout - I'm not sure how well the dish soap apron would go over but the loaf pan holder is very cute.

Could you make any hotpads or those towels that you crochet the top so they can be hung on the fridge or oven without falling? I LOVED those towels when we got them as wedding gifts. You could start shopping for clearance towels throughout the year and maybe pick up a bunch of holiday ones so they have towels for different seasons/holidays.

Or what about some sort of cloth bag for shopping? I'd certainly use it! That way you could use lots of scraps to have cool multicolor bags. ETA: Maybe like this one http://www.crochetmemories.com/archive/misc15.html

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#19 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 10:06 AM
 
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I agree, I"d love hotpads or dishcloths made with leftover yarn rather than a dishsoap dress. I don't usually use much dishsoap because of the dishwasher.

Like one of these http://www.sugarncream.com/pattern.php?PID=144
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#20 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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ohhhhhh it's time to get started!!! The holidays are coming!!!!

~ Kim

mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C

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#21 of 389 Old 05-29-2008, 04:54 PM
 
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Im going to give that loaf pan holder a try.
dishcloths are easy to make,
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#22 of 389 Old 05-30-2008, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was thinking about making potholders, placemats and table runners out of pretty fabric.
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#23 of 389 Old 05-30-2008, 06:13 PM
 
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This year, assuming I can get hubby to agree, I want to have a holiday party and call it done. I am going to ask that if anyone INSISTS on getting the boys stuff they give them gift certs to Amazon. Other than that I am going to suggest a gift free holiday!
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#24 of 389 Old 05-30-2008, 08:44 PM
 
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Im glad Im not the only one that starts planning for the holidays early! This year is going to be very low key (last year we did a lot and I hated every moment of it since Im not a fan of huge get togethers, especially in my house). Im due in November and we are trying to fly back to the states in February so money is going to be really tight..
My in-laws know that us coming back will be all of theirs presents since its so expensive to go back there. Im going to try to make scripture totes for my sis-in-law and mil. My bro-in-law is suppose to be going to Iraq over the holidays so Ill be sending him a care package. My father and brother will probably just get a card and maybe a framed picture if I think about it and we having pictures with the new baby in them. My grandma will get a picture since thats what she asks for every year and maybe a book or something else relating to Japan.
DD will probably get some homemade crafting stuff and clothes. Our new baby will probably get a toy or two since he will be a little over a month old and won't care one way or another. Ill also get him/her an outfit or make one. Someone was telling me that they give three presents at christmas symbolizing the three wisemen and I thought that was a neat idea.
DH will probably get some camping gear or something similar depending on what I can get on sale. I might make him PJs since he can't find any in stores that he likes. Everyone else gets a card.

I want to stick to under 500 for all of Christmas. I might wait to give my inlaws their gifts till we go out there since last year we spent over 200 on shipping alone (the problem with living in another country). I already put notice out that I wasn't doing another Christmas Dinner this year (people are already asking) so either we will go over to someone elses or have a small dinner at home.

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#25 of 389 Old 05-31-2008, 12:24 AM
 
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Thanks for starting this thread! I should have started thinking about this *months* ago.

First of all, we're doing something different with our kids this year. We're buying each of them:

1. something they want
2. something they need
3. something to wear
4. something to read

I know the something to wear is probably going to be their winter coat, winter hat, mittens, and scarf. It really doesn't get cold here until late December (if even then), and I'm hoping the winter wear will be on sale by then. We'd be having to buy that stuff anyway, so it seems practical.

Last year after Christmas I bought a bunch of colorful snowman tins at $1/each to put homemade cookies or brownies in. We'll do that for the kids' teachers, DD's dance teacher, and probably a couple of other people I'm forgetting.

For the great-grandmothers (DH's grandmas), I'm going to try to find some really cheap aprons and have the kids do painted handprints on them. Then I'll paint their names and the date.

That's as far as I've gotten. Looking forward to reading (and stealing!) all of your ideas!
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#26 of 389 Old 05-31-2008, 01:33 AM
 
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First of all, we're doing something different with our kids this year. We're buying each of them:

1. something they want
2. something they need
3. something to wear
4. something to read


Im going to steal that... hoping to implement that starting with the twins b'day...
1. they 'want' nothing but will get swimsuits
2. they "need" more feeding supplies (spoons bowls etc)
3. to wear new high quality bibs (table food is messy)
4. to read board books

My July B'day kiddies
1. wants: ride on toys
2 need: personalized cups
3. wear: new high quality bibs
4. read: i may change this to outside art supplies
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#27 of 389 Old 05-31-2008, 01:56 AM
 
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this year we'll opt out of the il's crazy gift exchange. it usually costs us more than 150$ and we just don't have that. i'll be knitting and canning up a storm and we'll give everyone something small and homemade. jam or salsa and a homemade dishcloth or reusable shopping bag should do it.

in our family the boys are too small to care what they get, but the families will swamp them with toys anyways. so i've decided that we'll celebrate solstice as the family-friendly holiday. we'll have a homemade feast, handmade gifts, a walk in the snow, all that. then on christmas we can open all the presents from family and have a stupid-exhausting consumeristic day. can you tell which i'm looking forward to more?

subscribing so i can steal ideas from you folk.
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#28 of 389 Old 05-31-2008, 06:10 AM
 
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I'm thinking homemade gifts are the way to go this year, so I need to start planning early. Fortunately our immediate family is tiny. My mother-in-law has been joking about bringing the empty basket from last year's gift basket I made them back for a refill, so I'll work with that.

The relatives who cook are easy: My red wine vinegar is kicking over nicely and it should be ready just in time for the holidays. Not sure about the white one, though, that might not be ready. There's also some extracts, presently vanilla and lemon. I might start an orange one and a peppermint one, too, if I can get more jars. If I make up a couple of packets of 'instant' soup mixes for my MIL to eat when FIL is out, that should about do it.

I think I'll make some chocolates or something for the rest of the lot. There's a couple of truffle recipes I've been meaning to try out. I like that homemade jam idea from up the list there. That's a good option, too.

The toddler will be quite happy with some new homemade toys (she thinks Maman makes the best toys, with the possibly exception of legos). I bought a stack of vintage patterns to make some new stuff, and some of it will be holiday presents.

The husband will most likely not be getting a homemade gift since we usually give each other hobby supplies. He's about due to crash the current rc plane ...

2 happy kids makes for a happy mother.

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#29 of 389 Old 05-31-2008, 09:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess View Post
With the kids, we do the Twelve Days of Christmas, with 12 different activities each day. (Used to be activities and/or gifts.) Like, one day we'll drive around looking at lights drinking hot chocolate while listening to holiday music, another day we'll bake cookies, another build gingerbread houses, another make ornaments for the tree, etc. Basically turning all the traditions into an "event" in and of themselves - helps us not focus on just that ONE day.
This is a great idea!! I think I am going to steal it!!
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#30 of 389 Old 05-31-2008, 09:21 AM
 
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Yeah! I'm in. I had every intention to do this last year, and things got hectic and I just ended up running out and buying a bunch of stuff anyway.

Here is my to buy for list:

DH
DD1 (who will be 3.5)
DD2 (who will be 10 months)
My mom
My dad
Sister and her hubby
MIL
FIL
BIL
Aunt
Aunt and Uncle
Female cousin (30)

With our friends, we just get things for the kids, so:

*(with their ages at Christmas time)*

Elizabeth (5)
Nolan (5)
Bella (7)
Sarah (3.5)
Lindsey (7)
Addison (10 months)

For DH, he's hard to buy for. I'll probably just give him a GC to the Apple store. He likes computer stuff and I wouldn't know what on earth to buy in there. I can put away $5 per week, and have a nice amount by Christmas.

For dd1, I have some stuff put away that I'll give her. I got it on major clearance, and I think she will be old enough to play with it by Christmas. DD2, eh, she wont really care...maybe some cloth balls? Or a cloth dolly?

I'm thinking for the adults, making cloth grocery bags, vs. paper to wrap. What to put in them, I have no clue! My BIL loves gourmet food, so perhaps some oil/vinegar jars or salsa jars? My mom is buying her first place (recently divorced from my dad) in a month, so maybe something for her house? My IL's probably nice picture frames with the girls? Or an apron (stolen idea from above) with the girls hand prints? My sister and her dh, I have no clue....well he likes to EAT, so maybe some gourmet food items as well?

For the kids, the little ones are easy, but I am having trouble with the 5 and 7 year olds. They are not into waldorf-y type things, things I could make.
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