My husband and I love Christmas, it’s always been our favorite holiday. How could you not love Christmastime? It’s just a feel-good holiday with pretty lights and decorations everywhere and the Santa hats (I just love them). We always decorate way too early and love to fill the space under our tree with tons of beautifully wrapped presents.
The last few years, since I’ve really gotten on track financially, I have been stressed out every single Christmas. My husband loves getting massive amounts of presents and our daughter has become the same way.
What about me? Do I still enjoy getting tons of gifts on Christmas? No sir. The last few Christmas’s I haven’t really wanted anything (well nothing we could afford at least like a car, vacation, etc.) and it drives my honey nuts. He wants me to have presents to open too, so he usually makes me go out a buy myself a few things the week before Christmas.
Of course I use this an excuse to buy and wrap items I know that I’ll be needing, like: household items, beauty items, office supplies and so on. I really don’t need anything for Christmas and would be just fine watching them open their presents.
Aside from the financial side of things, I have also been trying to go a little minimalist. Going minimalist is really difficult when your husband and daughter aren’t on board, but what can you do. I’m happy with the things I have and I still have way more than I need.
How we normally do Christmas:
Normally, we just start buying lots of presents with the 2 paychecks (bi-weekly) before Christmas. I use all that money to get the two of them tons of gifts because I know that’s what they really want.
Then, my parents usually give us a couple hundred dollars for our Christmas present. I then use this money to buy them even more gifts because I worry they will be sad because there might not be enough. So there goes that money too.
On top of that, my honey’s mom usually sends money for Christmas. Can you guess what we do with that money? Yep, even more presents—this time I usually spend this all on my husband because I know how he is. Great guy, but very materialistic—many people are.
After all that spending, my husband still makes me pick out a few things. I usually use my own savings (for luxury spending), gift cards I earned online and sometimes our debit card.
Christmas is a very expensive time for our family and I’m sick of wasting money that we could be saving or investing. Plus, I’m sick of all the extra stuff; everything keeps adding up and then it creates more hassle for me.
Last year, I tried to convince my husband that it would be so much fun to go another route. Instead of buying lots of presents for our family, we could help others (lots of others). I could use my savvy couponing skills to get a crapload of food, health and beauty products, toys and other items to donate to those in need. Even if I only spent $500 doing this, it would equal at least $5,000 worth of items and help so many people. He said no, he wanted presents.
Changing our Christmas Ways:
I had a talk with my honey the other day and begged that I could just spent half (or less) than we normally do on Christmas presents. I explained that we have so many large projects and things we need to be saving for and that money could be put toward them. He saw reason…he is a smart guy.
So this year I will not go overboard with buying the two of them Christmas presents and I will save the rest of the money toward our upcoming financial needs. I will not feel bad that they only have X amount of gifts under the tree because many people have way less than we do and would love to have this problem.
I will not be stressed out and financially purge our budget. I will not try to make my family happy with material things and instead try to spend some quality time with them (internet free).
Wanting to buy less Christmas presents for my family does not make me a selfish or cheap person. They are already spoiled enough and it would do them good to appreciate all the wonderful things we have and a few new things.
Do I just have issues or do others struggle with this stuff too?
How much do you usually spend on Christmas presents?
Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/8214892981/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/sankey/4176143875/, http://www.flickr.com/photos/remembertobreathe/8252562908/