Talk About it Tuesday

Christmas

The Art of Christmas Prep

Yes, August is ending and we haven’t reached Fall quite yet but guess what…Christmas is coming!! Firstly, I am very forgetful and thankful for social media because dates tend to run together for me (brain fog is super real). However, there are certain days/dates that just stay on the radar such as the major holidays. With that being said, Christmas makes the list. Because we know that’s the 25th of December every single year, I get confused when people speak in terms as if it sneaked up somehow. I haven’t been in a ton of retails stores, but I’m almost certain that I’ve seen Christmas decor already in at least one. Knowing all of this information is why I do something to avoid the stress of shopping close to the holidays. I start now and in previous years even earlier! I know that our HOA fees are due in December for our current neighborhood as well as our timeshare. Those two things are a consistent bill that could take away from my ability to buy presents and proper planning means that I don’t put unnecessary purchases on the credit card as well as create debt just so my kids can have presents to open. I can admit that our children are spoiled by family during Christmas so we don’t have to, but we also don’t spend a mortgage on our kids. I’m not knocking anyone that can, but if you have to create debt in order to do so….you may want to consider another option. Here’s what I do:

Shop early online: Zulily already has their Christmas shop up and running. I like visiting often (I don’t always purchase) and most of the gifts I get from here are small and tend to become stocking stuffers or I add several of them together to make one big present. 

Buy one or two presents each month: Having 3 children means costs go up as they age. It is much easier to swallow spending $50-100 a month on a few things here and there versus $500-1000 at one time. We know that we intend on getting the girls Nintendo Switch games this year so we will be buying 2-3 games each month (there were NO games around Christmas last year) to avoid the rush as well as overspending. I’m not in everyone’s pocketbook, but if this isn’t something that’s affordable to do then just check out the used game section of gaming stores, EBay, Facebook market, etc. to see if there are options that will suffice and fit into the budget. Set your expectations alongside your budget and do the best you can. We tend to buy one big gift and then do a ton of small gifts (we’ve learned our kids just really enjoy opening presents).

Teach gratitude: One lesson we have stressed to our children over the past few years is learning to be grateful (this takes time and we are still pushing for them to “get it”). If we are honest, most of us do way more for our children than they deserve. Sometimes it’s overcompensation and other times it just getting kids things that they don’t necessarily need, but that they may want. Children who learn gratitude recognize that it’s not the amount of something they receive, but that they receive anything at all. When this is pushed as foundational, it makes it easier to avoid major upset when Christmas comes and certain things aren’t under the tree. Notice I didn’t say disappointment…of course that will happen (and it’s important that it does and teaching is done to learn how to appropriately deal with the emotion), but being disappointed doesn’t mean you throw away the entire day. This is by far one of the most valuable things that can be done at a young age to avoid foolishness in the older years. 

Push the family activities as the main attraction over gifts: My children love the decorations, our family pjs, the pictures, and the spirt of Christmas. I know this isn’t something everyone loves doing or even wants to do, but it is much cheaper than splurging on a ton of gifts. Kids value time and I promise there is no amount of money that can replace that. I purchase a lot of craft supplies from the Dollar Tree and find great crafting options on YouTube. While I have a general theme for the house, I let the kids be more hands on with the decor for their Christmas tree and playroom. Watching Christmas movies also is a favorite of ours while crafting. Kids don’t always remember every gift, but memories of good times created together can stand out for a lifetime.

Are you like me and get an early start or is this something you struggle with until the last minute?

 

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