Yeah, I know.Â It’s September and here I am thinking about Christmas. Â About re-evaluating it. I thought now would be a good time to begin thinking about entering into the holiday season with a new mindset this year.
Let’s face it.Â Times are tough.Â Jobs are being lost.Â Savings spent.
I’m trying to look at this re-evaluation thing as an opportunity .Â A chance to focus on the true meaning of the season and to create memories that can last a life time.
Here’s how I’m going to go about it:
1. Visit with Reed.Â Talk about the years we thought Christmas went great, and why. Share the ideas I have for re-evaluating Christmas this year.Â I’m actually pretty lucky.Â Reed is more thrilled the less we spend.Â You may have a harder time if you are married to someone who loves to totally go all out each year…..regardless of the consequences come January.
2. Meet as a family and discuss what MY KIDS think are the most important activities for the Christmas season. My friend was really surprised to discover what her kids thought were important verses what SHE thought they would think were important.
Some questions to discuss:
- What is the most important thing we, as a family, can do this year to truly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ?
- What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
- What is missing that you would like to include?
- What do you wish we could do away with altogether?
The (new) Family Plan
Put our plan on paper.Â Calendar all holiday activities in advance. If it is something that costs money start putting a bit by NOW rather than waiting until December when money is already stretched.Â The stuff for making gingerbread houses can be pricey if you don’t take the time to plan ahead.
Call family and let them know of any impeding changes in gift giving or family plans.Â It may take a minute for others to get used to our new plan.Â But they will.Â I just need to take the time to explain why we are choosing to make this new plan.
But…..what about gifts?
Take a minute and think of how much was spent last year for Christmas.
Too little? Too much? Just right?
What’s our budget this year?
I’ll be the first to admit that for years my Christmas gift lists for my kids were strongly rooted in……guilt and worry.
I found myself worrying whether my kids’ gifts would be as much as their friends. I had a neighbor who wrapped so many presents for her kids that they would flow from her family room, down the hallway, and all the way up her staircase as well as around her living room. I wanted my kids to be proud to tell their friends of all the things they received for Christmas too.
Each year for the last 6 years the gifts under our tree have become less and less.
We are cutting our budget back even more this year.Â We have to.
You know what? It has been…..and will continue to be……wonderful.
There has yet to be a Christmas in the last 6 years where I have missed the frantic unwrapping of gifts and the immediate wind down of disappointment once those 20 minutes are done.
That’s it!Â Christmas is over!Â Â Nobody leaves until you’ve stuffed all your wrapping paper into the garbage bag.
Somehow celebrating the birth of our Savior has turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, shopping lists and guilt.
Maybe this year could be the year of less presents and more presence….more memories….more family…..more love…..more gratitude for the gift of our Savior’s birth.
I’m absolutely convinced that it is possible to spend less while giving more.
How about you?