Monday, November 23, 2015

Scaling Back this Holiday Season

   Christmas, the season of overboard consumer consumption, going into debt, stress over buying presents for everyone and their dog, rushing form event to event and trying to make everything picture perfect.  All of the above are impractical, irresponsible, and impossible!  Yet we, as Americans especially, do this to ourselves year after year.  I have been guilty of this in the past myself.  But not this year.  Major changes are happening and I hope they stick!

   First of all, we are scaling way back on gifts.  I tend to buy gifts all year long and put them in my gift closet which works out really well budget, time and energy wise.  I also do lots of baking and candy making because homemade gifts really are special and are usually very much appreciated.  My DIL Heather suggested mainly homemade gifts this year for our family and I agree!  I'm blessed that she and my other DIL Rachel are both on the same girls that my boys married! ;)

   The holidays are hectic with trying to go to all the parties, family get togethers, church services, performances, etc..  We have learned over the years that it is all too much for hubby and me and we stop enjoying and start dreading all the busy-ness.  This year we are scaling back there too.  Christmas day will find us at 2 of our sons' homes.  We will enjoy Christmas Brunch and gift exchanges with our extended family at Chris and Heather's in the morning and the have dinner at Jaysn and Rachel's, with Rachel's mom and sister Michelle joining us and I believe my cousin Jeremy will be there too. :)  As for Christmas Eve, that one is still to be determined, but I do want to go to a Christmas Eve service again.  Last year we had an early dinner and then attended 2 services that evening, both very beautiful and meaningful.

   Last year I was very stressed by this time and feeling so much pressure.  We were dealing with some ongoing and very hurtful situations that were just magnified by the holiday season and that caused lots of tears and frustration and put a dark cloud over everything.  This year we are not going to allow those things to get in the way of enjoying this magical season of lights, laughter, family and friends.  It is what it is and some things have improved on that front, while others have deteriorated even further.  We will just be thankful for the improvements and not dwell on the rest. :)

  I do hope that this year will be one where we can just kick back a bit more and just enjoy. :)  It's not the things that matter, but rather the time spent enjoying friends and family that make it special. :)  Be blessed!




  1. Hello Debbie,

    I hopped over to your blog through Rhonda's "If you do stuff, stuff gets done" blog.
    Growing up in poverty the Christmas season has never been one of excess in my family - we just simply couldn't afford it. One gift per child from our parents and a few candies, nuts, a banana and an orange in our stockings. Our grandparents supplied tractor fuel and gardening seeds each spring for a huge vegetable garden which served as our year round birthday and Christmas gifts for everyone in our family.
    The elders of our family were fabulous and creative about teaching us that the true gift of Christmas had already been given to us by God through the birth of Jesus Christ. Thus, one inexpensive gift, often times homemade or sometimes new socks or underwear, and a Christmas feast from the summer's harvest always left me feeling happy and blessed. Likewise our Christmas outings revolved around our church and extended family. Gifts were not exchanged at these gatherings - instead the focus was on the blessing of being together and the gift of Jesus Christ.
    As I grew up and started a family of my own, we continued the very "simple" Christmas traditions I grew up with. We gift our children with one book (often times found at a resale shop for less than $2), one purchased gift (this year will be a bowling or movie theater gift cards for our adult children; a necklaces and a back saddle cinch for our youngest daughter and son who are still at home ) and one homemade gift. The homemade gifts have varied from homemade soaps when I was learning the art of soap making to homemade quilts or afghans or even very simple homemade gifts from the kitchen. The homemade gifts are determined by the amount of time and supplies we have on hand in any given year.
    Although our children have grown up in a much higher economic station than I and my siblings, they have always expressed gratitude and never expressed any feelings of deprivation at Christmas time.
    I felt especially blessed two years ago when I overheard a conversation between our daughter and one of her friends. The friend inquired about the gifts our daughter received at Christmas. Our daughter shared about her book, her new sweater and hat set and the huge tin of homemade candies. Her friend replied something like, "that's all ... what sucky gifts". I overheard my daughter reply, "Christmas isn't about a ton of gifts, it's about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, God's planned gift of salvation to mankind. My parents give me everything I need and most of what I want all year long - opening a ton of boxes on Christmas day is stupid."
    Needless to say, we've never gone into debt purchasing Christmas gifts. We don't become overwhelmed with task of having to provide expensive gifts for anyone. We don't fight crowds or fret about a sale deadlines.
    I genuinely pray your family's decision to scale back this Christmas season brings you all more peace and joy than you've ever imagined possible during this busy time of year. I pray it is the joyful season it was originally instituted to be.

    Blessings to you and yours for a very Blessed holiday season,

    1. Hello i hope you don't mind me replying..your daughters reply was lucky she is to have a mum like you.
      Your childhood sounds simple and good.
      I would rather have a homemade gift than anything else..i appreciate the fact that someone has taken the time to make it for me..i want to write so much but won't..just that you have uplifted me so much
      you take care
      bless you

  2. Mrs. B, I am so thankful that you stopped by my blog and shared so much about how you grew up and how to continued to spend Christmas in the such a wonderful way! :) We too have never been able to afford extravagant gifts, but I do tend to go overboard without going into debt, especially with the grandkids. Most of the gifts that I have bought are either deeply discounted, garage, thrift store or used booked store finds. My family all knows this and is fine with it because that is the way we have raised stretch your money as far as you can. The rest of the gifts are homemade and honestly, those are the gifts that are looked forward to the most. People in my family look forward to getting their cranberry orange bread or homemade candies each year and even request it. I love your daughter's response to her friend, what a wise, strong and appreciative young lady you have raised. :) I'm looking forward to reading your blog and getting to know you better!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas also!

  3. Hi Debbie..we too have cut back our Christmas..not just gifts but visiting as well..we want to spend time with our girls and enjoy the Season together..i have made some gifts and also bought quite a few from Ebay..but it hasn;t cost me that much as i paid for them with the sales i had made on Ebay..also a set of books from a charity shop for our daughter Fern..she will love them..
    In past years we have had debts after Christmas but now its just the 2 little ones at home it is not happening..our older girls have left home and have little families of their now they understand the pressure we were under to get them what they wanted..and we all have agreed to buy only for the children..i have 6 grandchildren and we have a set amount to spend on it will be much easier for us and them..
    I love the lady above Mrs.B..some sound solid advice and a great upbringing in my eyes..
    I love you blog by the way..its so refreshing..and honest
    take care


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