Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas makes me want to throw up a little.

A few weeks ago, I started really thinking about Christmas. Instead of feeling excited, full of anticipation, I felt sick to my stomach. My thoughts on the issue?

- We don't have the money this year. Well, actually, we DO have money, but it really needs to go to things like new tires for the Suburban, paying off some debt, and saving for future "oh shit" moments.

- It's SO MUCH PRESSURE. Pressure to get the right gifts. Pressure to live up to the expectations. Pressure to have the best Christmas EVER. *barf*

- How do we give the kids a fantastic Christmas without the normal festival of greed? As the kids get older, they want EXPENSIVE things. Their friends are all receiving things like iPods and phones and pricey video games. We can't compete with that. And honestly, we shouldn't even try.

When I thought about my FAVORITE holiday, Thanksgiving, I tried to figure out why I love it soooo much more than Christmas. Why? Because there's no pressure. We get together with our families. We play board games and work puzzles. We eat yummy food that we look forward to all year. We cuddle and talk and laugh. There is SO MUCH LOVE when we get together for Thanksgiving. I couldn't help but wonder... how can I make Christmas more like Thanksgiving?

So, I called up my mom. Then, I called up my sister. Then, I called my mom again. We talked about making the season special without the pressure. More love. Fewer gifts. More time together, doing what makes our hearts feel good.

So, for my side of the family this year... no presents for the adults. Seriously. Instead, donations to people who really need it. Whether it's a clean water fund, adopting a family for Christmas, or something else that our hearts feel close to, we're donating instead. Because when it's all said and done, I don't need THINGS to tell me that my family loves me.

Even on Rhett's side of the family, we're cutting back. This year, we drew names for a gift exchange. Considering how big our family is, it's still a lot of money, but it's a heck of a lot better than buying every single person in the family a gift.

I still struggle with what to do for the kids, though. Big kids? Probably money, as there is no better gift than letting THEM choose what is important to them, budgeting their money, etc. Ella is more complicated, as there must be toys. But, she's just as happy with a bouncy ball from a vending machine as she is with an expensive "this year's must have" toy. So, we'll be focusing on fun stuff that will last instead of trendy toys that end up discarded in a day or two. Finger paints. A bright pink ball. New crayons. Toys that keep on giving and never get old.

So, this year for Christmas, less pressure. More love. More memories. More FUN.

Who's with me?


  1. That's awesome! I have some friends that go on a family trip each year at Christmas instead of gifts. It's the gift of Family memories made and exciting adventures for the little ones. Best thing is, sometimes you can pay those trips off throughout the year if its a cruise (sometimes not to pricey!) or something through a travel agency :) Maybe an idea for next year??? the ideas though. I try to do a Christmas family every year, because everyone one deserves a little something, especially when they have nothing.

    Chin up! Christmas will be great because its what you want to put into it...

  2. We have cut back the last 7 or 8 years. On D's side, we exchange nothing (there are no kids). We get together, eat and play games. On my side, we buy only for the kids and we actually give them money and then take them somewhere fun in January. Last year it was the local discovery museum. They ask every year where are we going this year and can't wait for the fun.

  3. I absolutely agree about loving Thanksgiving more than Christmas, and for the same reason to boot. I really don't want my son to grow up overloaded with more gifts than he can count, not even able to appreciate the thought that goes behind them because he is too overwhelmed with the sheer volume. As for the adults, we are getting to the point where we just get each other gift cards, and I wish we would do ourselves the favor of letting go of the gift giving tradition so we can alleviate this pressure.

  4. You know how craft/frugal we are, but we've even managed to get the grandparents to tone it down. It works, keep at it!

    And YAY! You're posting again!


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