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12-10-2006, 10:22 PM #1
Scaled Back Christmas this year...
and honestly, I didn't sit down and have a big talk with the family. I just did it. Things have just fallen into place, and I feel a lot less stress than I have in years.
Our first big decision was not to give presents to everyone. We tried this last year, and half the family went ahead and bought presents for people they had agreed not to swap presents with, so there were a lot of negatives feelings. I decided that I'm only going to buy for my parents, godparents, sister, and husband. My aunts, uncles, cousins - they'll be just fine without another item under the tree from us. So far I've spent $125 on presents and guess what, I'm done spending money on presents. I am going to do some baking and make my MIL a photo collage of her new grandson, though.
Our second big decision was not to get a Christmas Tree. I am a big fan of Christmas trees - I want mine up the day after Thanksgiving and it had better be a real tree - but this year we were in the middle of moving furniture, had a party to host, can't get the car seat in the truck that we'd need to get the tree home in - so we just decided to skip it this year. I'm a little sad, and I'm sure we'll get one next year, but this makes a lot of sense for us this year.
Our final big decision was for DH and I not to exchange big gifts. I actually gave him his present early, but I bought him a book. He bought me a CD I wanted. And we're going to stop at that. I have a few small stocking stuffers I'll give him Christmas morning, but that is it. Since our son will be 3 months old, we're not buying him anything. He'll get way too much stuff from everyone else and he'll never know that we didn't buy him anything.
Here are a few things that we are doing:
*See the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. This is a family tradition for us. Tickets and parking will probably run us around $100, but I think it's money well spent, and it creates a wonderful memory instead of more stuff.
*Decorating our house. I use the same decorations every year, so I don't need to buy any more. I only keep and use ones that are personally meaningful to me (came from my grandmother's, or my mom gave them to me, etc.) so we really don't have that many.
*We will go celebrate the holidays with family - not sure yet just what all the plans are, but being with family is what's important.
And I have to say - while this is my first Christmas not working, so I could be doing tons of things - I am having a LOT less stress by not trying to do things. I don't have a cookie baking session planned or a vision of all handmade presents. And it feels really good to just relax this year.
12-10-2006, 10:50 PM #2
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Way to go.
12-10-2006, 10:56 PM #3
Sounds wonderfully simple. We cut way back in similar ways a number of years ago too. About the Christmas tree, maybe you could get one of the cute three foot table top trees that have been so popular (here anyway). They smell great and fit in the back seat of a car. Just a thought.
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12-11-2006, 12:43 AM #4
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You are one smart lady. Doesn't it feel good not to be stressed at Christmas.
12-11-2006, 03:02 AM #5
We are doing the same. We have cut back this year also. Dh has a very large family and if we were to buy for all of them well it would get pricey. Even nieces and nephews have been cut. We are buying for his mom and dad, my mom, dh's brother and wife, her daughter and granddaughter and for my nephews baby. I had bought some other gifts but brought them back..........and can't help it went quite wild on my great-niece Maniah. We have spent over $200. I will be doing my baking and giving cookie trays to others but that is it.
12-11-2006, 08:00 AM #6
Good for you!!
We only buy for for each other, our children, my sister, bil & their kids and my parents. these are the people closes to us, so that's who we buy for.
12-11-2006, 09:27 AM #7
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I'm with you! I've really scaled back this year. I bought less presents for people. I actually made quite a few instead. I didn't put up as many decorations. I didn't send out Christmas cards. This is the first time in years that I am pretty relaxed at this time of year and Christmas is less than two weeks away. It's a good feeling
12-11-2006, 10:55 AM #8
Well dh and I don't have kids but we have a 2 nieces and a nephew we only spent about $40 on each of them. We spent about $50 on his parents as a total, my parents right around $50 as a total, my brother and his wife $100 total and dh sister and her hubby right around $40 total that is because they have the 3 kids. We didn't buy for anyone else. Well I did buy for one friend but didn't spend much and then for the mail lady (about $10) and then on each other we spent about $100 and are given each other $100 cash. So this year it is way scaled down from before.
We did buy one new outside item we do this almost every year (we get rid of other things) that was about $25 he is a cute snowman. I got a few new ornaments but not many. After Christmas I plan to get some wrapping paper and boxes and tissue paper (to wrap up things when I put them away) and a few new totes to have everything all together in the same color of the holiday so it will be easier to find.
I have already started my baking and we do have Christmas here on the 25th and everyone brings something. We are having his parents and sister and her family this friday (note to self need to get cleaning LOL!!) and we are going out for pizza this was there choice and coming back here to open presents and have desserts. Then the 16th we goto the rest of his families Christmas but we don't exchange gifts so that is great (way to many people) and then we will get together with my brother and his wife next weekend sometime and do ours and eat pizza (it is a tradition) and we will give my mom and dad there presents then also since we don't buy for our aunt, uncle or granny we don't want to give presents to each other and not have anything for them to open.
My mom told us not to get them anything but they do for us and they spoil the dog and 3 cats so we decided what we get for them will be from the animals since we don't have kids and neither does my brother and his wife.
I couldn't go without a tree thou I have 2 and love them. But sounds like you have a plan I know we didn't spend nearly what we used to we just decided that we didn't need to.
Have a great Holiday!!
12-11-2006, 11:36 AM #9
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You have to do what's right for you and cutting back is NOT a bad thing, we usually only buy for our kids (2 boys, 5 girls), my mom and step-father, each other and that's it. I also got 1 gift for a my 2 good friends. I also got my neices a gift this year (My brothers (who just passed away) children).
I dont buy expensive gifts because they all know we cant afford it but it's the thought that counts, I am sure your family will be happy with whatever you give them. God Bless!
12-11-2006, 11:40 AM #10
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We have decided to only get gifts for our kids this year. I have already purchased a few small things for the parents, but it will be nothing close to what we did last year or other years. As much as I like opening gifts, I would rather just buy for the kids. My parents are getting us a meat bundle for Christmas. That is the best kind of gift that I love to get.
12-11-2006, 01:21 PM #11
Peace of mind and lasting memories are far more important than manufactured trinkets that will eventually cause headaches, clutter and find thier way to either the landfill or the thriftstore.
Our family is also having a scaled back Christmas. Dh and I are not exchanging gifts either.
As Americans, even the poorest of us are so Rich compared to many parts of the World. Sometimes we fail to realize just how blessed we are to have shelter and plumbing and food readily available for our every whim.
Take Joy in your plans, love those around you. We may just find out this could be the best Christmas ever!
12-11-2006, 01:53 PM #12
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What with dd#1 and her dh moving into our basement over the Christmas holidays, our Christmas is scaled back too. We simply don't have time to shop for and/or make gifts.
We give to two of my sisters and their families, my mom and Dad. The biggest expense is mailing the gifts. This year it cost $21 to mail dsis#3's gift. Dsis#2's will be around $12 to mail. Mom's is going to be more. It's heavy. Dad is getting a small, light gift. We just can't afford the cost of mailing right now. Mom's gift actually cost me $36 the other day. So the total of extended family gifts will be $100.
Our youngest is 19, so we've done away with stockings and Santa gifts this year at dh's request. It feels so Scrougish, but oh well, it's what we can afford, and what's the meaning of Christmas anyways?
I gave dd#1 her Christmas present early. It was an updated copy of "The Homemaker's Journal" that I had given her when she turned 18. That was over five years ago. She was stressing out over finances, etc, so I gave it to her early. She says not to bother to give her another gift. That's good, because I don't have money for another one! Her dh is getting a homemade gift too. DD#2's gift is homemade as well, and will cost me about $15. I went in on dh's gift with dd#2. It cost me $40. So that's another $100 for family gifts. A cheap Christmas for us...$200 total.
We have been debating a tree this year. The girls think we're having a big one. I'd like a small artificial one. I'm not sure we'll have room for a big one. And with so few presents, why waste time and money getting and decorating a big one? But even the small 3' ones here are costing $70!!! I can't believe it! What a ripoff! So we're wondering what to do.
Christmas will probably be spent quietly here. A pause between emptying out the basement and dd#1 and her dh moving in. I have lots of projects I can work on. We'll probably phone family across Canada, but that's it.
12-11-2006, 02:28 PM #13
[QUOTE=Canongirl;648661]Peace of mind and lasting memories are far more important than manufactured trinkets that will eventually cause headaches, clutter and find thier way to either the landfill or the thriftstore."
This is so true. The past few months I have been doing a major declutter of my house. We have live here over 20 yrs. I walked down to the basement yesterday and it was so nice to see a big empty floor. I gave away tons of Christmas decorations. I am doing Willamsburg style decorations, fresh greens, fruit and dried things. I have most of these growing in the yard and I won't have to store them after Christmas.
We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel so I won't be baking or entertaining.
(I'm kinda liking that this year!)
As for gifts my side of the family agreed about 3 yrs ago not to buy gifts for one another. Except for the children and we just buy them a little something.
I will buy a few toys for my Grandchildren. My kids will be getting gift cards for gas. DIL will be getting one from Joannes, she likes to sew.
I am making memories with my Granddaughter, I made a quilted advent calender for her and DGS. She loved sitting on my lap watching as I quilted.
I am also making a Christmas stocking for my Grandson, Olivia sat on my lap as I beaded it. Now when she comes in the house she runs up to me and says "Mom Mom, are we quilting or beading today?"
I think Christmas has become over commercialized over the last 20 or so yrs.
If we dont scale back it stresses our wallets, bodies and spirit.
12-11-2006, 08:39 PM #14
Sara-you are wise beyond your years...I hope you enjoy every moment of this holiday season.
12-12-2006, 12:15 PM #15
I didn't put up a tree either. I moved earlier this year and threw out the artificial one from last year (it was old and starting to shed). I wanted to get another one but they were all so expensive. So not only did I not put up a tree, I didn't put up any decorations either.
I only bought gifts for the people living in my house (my son and mom). My son's birthday is in November, so I don't feel that bad about not getting him alot of stuff. Plus I warned him this would be a lean Christmas.
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