Don’t we just love Christmas? With friends and family around, food and fun and parties to go to, how could you not love Christmas?
Sadly to say, Christmas becomes a season of stress for moms because they put too much pressure on themselves. They go broke trying to outdo last holiday season, or decorate better than their neighbors and heavens forbid if they don’t buy hundreds of new toys for the children who have been receiving toys all year long anyway.
Many have forgotten that a few years back kids receiving toys was a rare treat, so showering them on Christmas day was truly special. The same as watching cartoons; it was rare to see a cartoon so on Saturdays it was a special treat to lay around all morning and watch cartoons. Now you can see cartoons 24/7/365 but parents still allow their children to lie around like it’s special (in the process creating kids with mushy brains).
Instead of buying more toys and expensive Christmas gifts that causes you to go broke, the best thing we can do for ourselves and our children is to create special memories. Just think about your fondest childhood Christmas memory. What was it? Well I’ve got to be honest it was ripping open toys, playing with my Baby Alive one year and my roller derby roller skates, with the metal wheels another year; but that was because we were poor and didn’t receive toys throughout the year.
However, I also remember making Christmas cards for my siblings out of our school notebook paper and getting frustrated that it wouldn’t stand stiff like the store-bought cards. I remember one year I stole one of my big sister’s shoe and my baby sister’s favorite jeans. I wrapped them and put them under the tree. Every morning I giggled like crazy as they both searched high & low looking for their things. I took particular delight in watching my oldest sister hobbling around with one shoe on looking for the other shoe with hot, angry tears streaming down her face! LOL! Yeah…she wasn’t too happy when she opened her Christmas gift and saw that it was the shoe that she cried about for weeks. The memory of her face still makes me ROFLOL!
For most of us, our fondest Christmas memories didn’t cost money; so when you are planning your family’s holiday season, take time to plan memories can be made that will last a lifetime and wont cause you to go broke. Here’s how:
- Make Christmas cookies as a family. This is a well-loved and age-old tradition that all kids LOVE. It will require some organization on your part but if you invite grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles or cousins it will be something the kids will never forget! Personally I like home-made cookies but if you want to cut down on the messiness use the refrigerated cookie dough; it’s great for the really young ones. Don’t forget the icing and sprinkles.
- Make gifts. As a family, you can each make gifts for each other. Instead of spending tons of money, encourage everyone to get creative. Your children can make artwork, crafts; even sing a song as a gift.
- Help others. There are always ways to participate in food drives and other charitable activities around the holidays. Show your kids that it’s not only nice to help others, but it can be fun, too.
- Tell/read holiday stories. Gather everyone together and read or tell stories that are a part of your holiday tradition. Purchase a storybook, for example, The Night Before Christmas, with wonderful illustrations and read it to your kids with real excitement. They’ll love it!
- Make a big deal out of decorating. When we decorate we turn on the Christmas music make cookies & drink egg nog. We do NOT start decorating until all of those are in place. You can even let the kids have their own area to decorate – like the holiday tree, or the front entrance or the mantle. Don’t forget to take photos.
- Go shopping 2 days after Christmas! Whatever you want to buy for your family it will be 50% off just a few days later. If you can resist the cultural pressure you can have a very inexpensive Christmas by waiting just a few days.
I decided years ago that I would not spend Christmas like most. When it’s over you don’t want to be broke and tired and frustrated with ungrateful kids who have broken up half the toys before the week was out. Most gifts aren’t remembered through the years, although of course, some very special ones might be. More often, it’s the time spent with family and friends, the laughter and the togetherness. Don’t go broke this Christmas create memories instead. Your kids will remember family holidays as some of the very best times of their lives, and so will you.