We are about two and half weeks away from Thanksgiving, and six weeks from Christmas. I’ve started making a list, and started baking. Every year, I give home-made goodies to a lot of people on my list. This year I’m sticking to that plan, because I think people appreciate it, and it also is a more economical approach.
I read the Sunday Tribune yesterday (as I do every Sunday) and noticed how many articles there are on ways to save money in a tight economy. I am always glad to find a bargain, but I often talk to people who think that if they curtail their spending, they’re going to have a less enjoyable Christmas. But I think a simpler Christmas is often the more meaningful Christmas. Not to mention, spending less now will make your January, when that credit card bill comes in, much more enjoyable.
But how do you keep spending in check, while still making the holidays special? What are you doing to simplify your Christmas plans? How do you keep the focus on what the celebration is supposed to be about, remembering the birth of Christ?
Let’s discuss this. Leave a comment, and offer suggestions, ask questions.
Keri, our Christmas season involves daily activities for us to enjoy together. I have a calendar with little rings on it where I roll up a piece of paper with an activity for every day. It takes a little thinking to come up with 24 activities, but it’s so worth it that the presents on Christmas morning aren’t the only thing my boys enjoy about Christmas. We do small but meaningful activities, with some revolving around Jesus’ birth and his story, and others focusing on family togetherness. We have s’more’s in the fireplace one night, read Christmas books in front of the fire another night, give each other massages (yes, with a 2 and 4 year old!), have a scavenger hunt around the house (this one can be done twice…they love it!), make gingerbread houses another day. I simplify by having all presents bought and wrapped before Thanksgiving, and by not planning any outside activities beyond the usual Christmas parties so that the Christmas season doesn’t involve fighting crowds and consumerism, just moments of joy and family being together. When I’m peaceful and not stressed, I’m able to talk more with the boys about Jesus, rather than run through a list of errands to finish. It’s my favorite time of the year…I can’t wait! I’m interested to see how others simplify, too.
Last year was the simplest, best holiday season I’ve had as an adult. I’d started simplifying my life shortly before the holidays, and those few steps helped me to keep everything in perspective. The house was cleaner, so entertaining didn’t throw me into panic mode. Actually, we entertained quite a bit, but because I purposely chose simple recipes (many in the crock-pot), even that was less stressful.
This year, we aren’t buying presents for any adults. Instead, we’re giving that money to a church mission team spending Christmas at a children’s home in Peru…so they can buy toys & necessities for the children once they get there. Not only are we able to bless those in need, I should be able to get my Christmas shopping done in one trip this weekend! Unlike Linn, I won’t have it all wrapped…but it will be bought & I can avoid the mall. PRAISE JESUS!
We also give to Samaritan’s Purse through Operation Christmas Child & the Christmas catalog. These things keep us focused on helping others, and realizing how much we are blessed.
Being intentional about how we spend our holiday season is the best gift I can give my family, as well as the friends we spend time with. No one likes a grumpy and stressed mom/hostess!