The pressure to spend and go crazy over the Christmas Holidays is insane. Even up here in Canada we are now made to feel the need to join in all the Black Friday madness that the US does to kick of the seasonal shopping. This year, I am resolved to staying strong and making this Holiday Season as mellow and affordable as I possibly can.
My credit card hates me. My husband and I are sick of debt and so this Christmas we are trying to avoid using credit cards at all for the Holiday Season. Unless you are one of those amazing people who can pay their credit debt off monthly, cash is probably the safest way to go to avoid the horror of January when all the bills role in. Sticking to cash purchases this year are key to our holiday saving and stress reducing. We don’t want to get ourselves in a knot over the Holidays. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Stick to that mantra and don’t feel guilty about it.
We have three children who want ‘everything.’ This makes picking one special gift or a few small one’s kind of crazy. Generally in the past, we get my mom to watch the kids while we hurtle out to the mall for one day of marathon kid shopping. This works as far as getting it all out of the way, but half the time we are in a blur about what we actually bought for who and end up getting MORE to “balance things out.” This year I am making careful notes about who wants what and which items we are going to purchase and I am sticking to it. I plan on only shopping for those specific items and only them. No getting distracted by all the sparkly madness in the stores. Sticking to a shopping plan is also key to saving and stress reduction in my books.
We are a small family so there isn’t a big deal to worry about when it comes to entertaining over the holidays. We keep it small and simple and the biggest headache is trying to decide whether we drive to Chilliwack to see our relatives there or make them come into town. When it comes to other Christmas related activities, we try to pick one or two that we think the kids will really enjoy and that is it. I really do prefer to struggle to stay as relaxed as possible over the Season rather than freaking about all the ‘we are supposed to do’ urges we get from the over hyping and marketing of Christmas. Christmas is what you want it to be and what you can make it……not what a TV show says it is.
Shop and entertain within your means. Be realistic. Teach your kids to be realistic about their expectations too. Use the season to teach about those less fortunate and teach about giving instead of getting.
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