Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I absolutely adore it. I start counting down the days again as soon as it’s over.
Just ask my ex co-workers. They would groan whenever I would randomly spout off how many days were left until Christmas. I don’t really understand why they groaned but they did. (They were just as excited about it as I was I’m sure). I’ve also heard some rumors that since I left the little bakery nest to spread my wings as a full time homesteader they occasionally will try to figure out really how many days are left. See, they totally loved it.
But I digress.
I was asked once why I loved Christmas so much. Was it just for the presents? I actually had to think for a moment on that one ( a rarity with me. I tend to just spout off anything without thinking before I speak. At least with writing you can change your mind before anyone actually reads it).
So here it is:
I love Christmas because it is a time to reflect on the Perfect Gift that was given – the Lord and Savior Jesus. I love Christmas because I like to give gifts to others and yes I do love to receive them also. I love Christmas because it is a time to spend with family and loved ones (be they there in body or in spirit). I love Christmas because I love food – both cooking it and eating (let’s be real, girlfriend can pack it away!). I love Christmas because I am a child at heart – I want to remember the wonder, and the magic. I love Christmas because I love me some Christmas carols. I love Christmas because for a small moment in time the world is quiet.
But not everyone has this joyous outlook on Christmas. I have discovered that people view Christmas as a financial catastrophe instead of a joyous time.
And I totally get that! Being a giver comes with a price, and sometimes enormous sacrifice comes with buying the best present. There is no better feeling than knowing you got the best gift for someone. The look of joy on their face when they unwrap it, their eyes widen as they attempt to take it all in. That’s the best part, but when you can’t afford that “perfect” present where does that leave you? Many people turn to credit cards. They intend to deal with it later, which really means that they either finally pay it off just before next Christmas in time to do it all over again, or they don’t get it paid off and continue the downward struggle into debt.
My friends this year do not let that be you!
Instead plan for Christmas before Christmas. Start putting money away starting January 1st for Christmas shopping. The 52 week money saving challenge is a good one, and one that I have participated in myself.
Don’t get lost in the mind set of having the best. We focus so much on things during the Christmas season. We have to have the best of everything. The best lights, the best tree, the best ornaments, the best decorations, the best cookies, the best turkey, the best the best the best. Stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff. My goodness stop the madness!
No wonder the magic of Christmas has been lost.
Here’s a few things we do to make the holidays easier:
Know Your Limit.
If you’re financially strapped be true to that. A lot of people simply don’t have the extra money (especially at the end of the year) to buy a bunch of gifts. Be straight up with people, and be creative. Sometimes you have to leave that “Perfect” gift behind and go for something more affordable. We don’t have a lot of money this year to spend on Christmas gifts. My Hubby and I have both agreed that this year will be minimal. I was able to save enough from my grocery money (through smart shopping and coupons) to buy him a small something for Christmas, but that’s all. Nothing fancy. Instead this year the best gifts are that my Hubby is on the road to healing, we have a small homestead, and our own home. That’s enough. The blessings are abounding here, we need no more than that.
Draw Names/Secret Santa.
In my family there is 6 children. 6 of us! That’s a lot to buy for when you’re living on a tight budget. So instead of buying a present for everybody we draw names. Every year you get someone different, and you only have to buy one gift. My hubby’s side of the family does this also, which helps a ton on the budget.
Homemade gifts are underrated. I would much prefer something homemade, and not made in some factory overseas. If it is homemade it means that someone truly put time and love into that present. Cherish it. And don’t be afraid to give homemade gifts. Cookies, brownies, hats, socks (I once got a pair of knitted socks for Christmas, and they were the absolute best socks I’ve ever worn in my life! I envy anyone who can knit!), body lotion, bath salts, sugar body scrub. Pinterest has a million ideas for things like this and it costs very little to put it together yourself.
Be a smart shopper.
If you are going to buy try to buy local. Support small businesses who do need your money to keep food on their table. Support second hand shops who donate to the needy and the homeless. If you must spend, spend wisely. Make your money go the farthest it can for both you and others.
Christmas can also bring up all sorts of hurtful emotions as well. Lost loved ones, family feuds, past hurts that have not been forgiven. No amount of my words can heal this hurt or anger. Just know that you are not alone. This year will be the first year we will have Christmas without my Hubby’s grandmother. The empty place is real, but instead of hiding away our family has decided to keep moving forward. Do we forget? No. We remember, we reminisce, we celebrate together, we keep family traditions alive, and her memory through it all.
Don’t loose yourself this Christmas. Don’t get caught up in the madness. Christmas is a time for joy! The Savior was born to save us all from our sins. That was the perfect gift. No amount of stuff can change that, or fill the empty hole in your life. Only Jesus can.
Spend time with your family. Cherish the memories. Sing carols. Give thanks. Eat food – be that a feast or a box of mac and cheese. And believe.
Shared with The Homestead Barn Hop