Friday, October 16, 2009

10 weeks till Christmas...

April writing...

I know what your saying...WHAAAAA???? Already?? But not me...yep...no sweat here.

This will be our 3rd year not celebrating Christmas the 'normal' way.

Going into debt crazy buying gifts for everyone and their momma...when it ain't even THEIR birthday! I mean truly...it is the birth of Jesus Christ. We should be doing good in his name...you know, since we can't send Jesus a pair of slippers with puppies on them up to heaven for him to open on his birthday.

So...there has been so much LESS stress.

Granted, we still buy gifts for the little ones in our life...or a special little something for friends and family if we see it and it makes us think of them.

But no more are the times of saying, we can afford $75 for Uncle Johnny and $45 for Aunt Sarah and we can spend $200 on each other...and blah blah blah.

It's quite simple...
Cory's side of the family...the couples (three of us; his parents, Cory and I and Jo and Tamm) we draw names and get that persons stocking. We spend the year filling it with little things that the person NEEDS or things we find that just scream THEIR names. And there's even a spending limit, that we stick pretty close to.
My side of the family...a family trip to do something together...One year it was Medieval Times...last year it was to the Movies on Christmas Day to see "Marley and Me."
The kiddos...they get gifts of course...but we have even limited our amounts...as it has been shown that spoiling kids with such loads and loads of gifts tends to spur greed and ungratefulness in the years to come.
Friends...we use the rule...only if they can USE it or it's just too PERFECT to pass up.

I believe that this year, Cory and I are going super easy on us...and buying a gift for US...we have wanted a laptop...well basically since we sent ours smashing to the ground, shattering the screen broke ours. :( So we will do that this year, but ONLY if we find a GREAT deal!

With all these changes...can I tell ya...it's just been SUCH a huge weight off. There's no added debt, no added stress and more time for FAMILY and less time devoted to wrapping and shopping with all the crazies out there!!

Just focusing on family, friends and making wonderful memories!!

Half the time I can remember what I got for whom and got from whom...but I remember the fun times exchanging gag gifts at Friends houses and making cookies with family and rejoicing in the birth of our Savior with my church family with no worries of having to run out after church and get those final needed gifts.

For those of you who are thinking...this is such a FOREIGN concept...here are a few simple ideas to make Christmas easier and less stressful. Take them as baby steps.

taken from SimpleMom.net

It’s not too early to start Christmas shopping. In fact, some of you might already be done shopping for the holidays. Starting earlier means spending less money, finding gifts people really want or need, and seriously cutting the stress during the holiday height.

Christmas is not about the gifts, and it’s much easier to avoid the “I wants” and the feeling of needing more and more if you don’t go shopping much during the season. There’s something about the stores that tempts well-meaning parents into feeling guilty for not getting the latest toy for their child, or enticing the innocent husband into blowing the budget on his wife.

You don’t necessarily need to go on a single-minded mission to the stores, but keep Christmas gifts in the back of your head when you’re already there. If you can finish your list before the stores start playing holiday music, then you’ve done a great job.

Here are a few tips to make Christmas gift shopping less stressful.

1. Make a List

Don’t ever go gift shopping without a list. Ever, ever, ever. You will more than likely buy more than you intended. List the people for whom you’re buying, jot down a few gift ideas next to their name, and cross them off when their gift is purchased.

Keep this list with you at all times. That way, it’s readily available when an unexpected gift idea pops into your head.

2. Set Limits on People

This is a touchy subject. At what point do you stop buying presents for your extended family? Or is it an eternal tradition in your clan?

Because Christmas isn’t about the gifts, at some point families need to just put a stop to the stuff. It’s definitely easier said than done in some families, because there inevitably will be a sister-in-law or a dad who doesn’t want to stop the gift exchange.

If your family is like this, are you up for being the one to call a hiatus on the tradition? If so, here are a few ideas for broaching the subject tactfully:

Do it gradually.

Maybe instead of stopping a gift exchange all together, suggest a reasonable cost limit for this year. After a few years of this, perhaps the adults might be more open to ending completely.

Exchange names.

Suggest drawing names over Thanksgiving, so that each person only needs to buy for one other person. This doesn’t always help that much, however. On one side of our family’s case, if my husband and I each drew a name, we’d be buying two gifts instead of four. A little better, for sure, but we’re still spending.

Go homemade.

A homemade gift created specifically for someone is more treasurable than a big box store purchase. We’ll share homemade gift ideas in this series soon, but for now, think sewing, an mp3 playlist, or a task like babysitting.

3. Set Limits on Quantity

Decide in advance how many gifts to buy each person in your family, and stick with it. In our family, the children receive three from Mom and Dad because Jesus received three. Well, that’s debatable, and it doesn’t really matter that much, but it’s our way of curbing the overflow under the tree. And it works for our kids, because it’s all they’ve ever known.

For the adults, the amount changes from year to year, but we do mutually agree in advance. Last year, my husband and I got each other one larger gift each (iPods). This year, we’re going with one small gift per person, probably a book or a DVD. We’re going on a family vacation in November, so we decided that’s the bulk of our gift to each other.

4. Shop Online

When you shop online, you avoid the crowds, it’s easier to stick within your budget (no enticing last-minute purchases made at the register), and you have endless options. I love supporting cottage industries and the handmade community, so my preference is most definitely online. Plus, a one-stop shipping option means no waiting in line at the post office.

My favorite places to shop are Etsy and Amazon. I know Amazon isn’t a small business by any means, but it sure is handy — they’ve got everything, and they’ve got a good return policy. Plus, shipping if often free when you spend more than $25. And I could spend hours browsing at Etsy — I love the fact that each gift bought is unique, thoughtfully crafted, and quite often made from quality, non-toxic materials.

(April's sidenote - when shopping online, always remember to check for added savings at retailmenot.com...you could save on your order or possible get free shipping!)

-------------------

So there...it's that easy!!! How you make changes this Holiday season?!
Make it more about tradition and family then debt and presents!

1 comment:

Brittany said...

Can I admit that I am kinda excited about staying here for Christmas....?

Related Posts with Thumbnails