I’ve added photos to the last Rethinking Christmas post…scroll down or click here.
SPEAKING GIFT LANGUAGE
For years I bought Christmas gifts for everyone I knew: family, friends, neighbors, Bible study members, postal carriers… I spent a ton on the ones we loved, and a small fortune on the ones we sorta-kinda liked. My “Love Language” is gifts, so to me, giving a gift says, “You’re special to me,” or, “I thought of you,” or, “Thank you.”
I’d thought of cutting back, but was afraid of hurting others’ feelings. Now this year, having to cut back out of necessity, it’s funny–I’m not worried about offending anyone. I’m more interested in finding just the perfect, nearly-free way to let them know I love them and hold them in my heart year-round.
USING WHAT WE HAVE
We will make heartfelt gifts for these folks from supplies we already have on hand. We have enough fun fabrics, notions and skill to make a few of “these” and a couple of “those,” for aunts and uncles, the lovely couple across the street, and the well-meaning people who surprise you with gifts. (You know, the ones with huge smiles across their faces who promise they’re not hurt you didn’t think of them like they thought of you.) Don’t worry, I’ll share photos of our crafts as we go along. But rather than imitating our crafts, I encourage you to go through your own stash of supplies and figure out what you can make.
CHANGING OUR EXPECTATIONS
We will still buy for our own children. This year we’ll return to our tradition of buying three gifts for each child–sort of like the gold, frankincense and myrrh Jesus recieved. I’m cutting their bottom dollar line in half. I’m rethinking where and how I buy their gifts–today I bought a $15 item for my daughter at a consignment shop for $4!
We’ll buy something for my parents (hubby’s parents have passed)–the more sentimental the better. And we’ll likely give our neices and nephews cold, hard cash (a smaller amount than usual), which they like best anyhow.
Our Christmas will cost 50% less this year over last.
REVISITING CHRISTMAS CARDS
This is a touchy topic for me. I love to brag on my family. I love to mail out gorgeous photo cards along with a completely gratuitous Christmas Letter–to everyone I know, everyone I once knew, and everyone I’d like to know. I spend over $100 each year, sending cards to over 100 people. And where do the cards end up? In their trash bin right along with the wrapping paper! This year by halving the amount of cards I send– ordering 50 beautiful photo cards (with envelopes) for $14.99 from Costco–and using stamps I already have on-hand, I’m reducing my holiday greeting card out-of-pocket cost by 85%
FOCUSING ON THE TRUTH
For years I believed the lie that the more I spent on Christmas gifts, the better daughter, mother, wife, friend, and neighbor I was. I believed that the amount of money I spent on others was how they gauged my love for them. This year, forced by financial circumstances to cut back our Christmas budget, I have begun to see the truth–I am not measured by my money. My mother will not see me as less of a daughter because I can’t afford to buy her something expensive; my husband will actually be relieved that I don’t spend a lot of money on him; my children won’t care if the gift cost $4 from a consignment shop if it’s something they like. The truth is, they love me no matter how shallow my pockets.
STAY TUNED for the next post in the series, Revisiting Christmas: More Traditions at Home