Saturday, December 17, 2011

How do you $pend Christmas?

Recently my husband shared with me how his coworker was saying how she didn't know how she was going to afford all the many things her kids were picking out for Christmas... she felt an obligation to buy them all of these things because that's what you do at Christmas, right? My husband reminded her that there is no reason to spend outside of their means to meet a socially imposed Christmas quota. She was empowered by his words and set a reasonable Christmas budget for her family.

Its interesting to see and hear about how different families celebrate Christmas. I have noticed a stark contrast between my own family and my husband's. My family keeps it fairly frugal while my mother-in-law spends more on our three kids than my husband and I do on Christmas as a whole. According to a Gallup Poll from October 2011 the average US spending on Christmas will be something like $700…. but the truth is in the numbers….
  • 25% around $1000
  • 25% $500 to $999
  • 30% $100 to $499
  • 14% Unsure
  • 6% Less than $100
Even with the economy being rough we are still spending ridiculous amounts of money on unimportant, frivolous trinkets and toys. I mean, would Christmas cease to be Christmas if we didn't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on gifts that will be played with or worn for a short time and then end up in the Goodwill bin? What if we could spend less and enjoy the Christmas season more?

I don't know about you but my house is cluttered enough now. There are very few things that we truly need. We are already blessed. My kids don't need to get brand new toys from a dozen different family members. I would much rather take that money and use it for something important, and meaningful. Every year I try to talk my husband into skipping gifts and using that money toward a family trip where we will build our relationships and make memories.

[AC] Promo 2011 from Advent Conspiracy on Vimeo.

How does that video make you feel? It made me feel remorseful for our relatively modest Christmas spending. How much do we waste on the unimportant? What could you do to make your family's Christmas more meaningful and less about stuff? Here are a few resources to give you some ideas: - How to Budget Holiday Spending
MoneySavingMom's Clutter-free Christmas series
Focus on The Family - Meaningful Christmas
Get Rich Slowly - A DIY Christmas
My Simpler Life - Ideas for a Less Expensive, More Meaningful Christmas - Top 5 Christmas Charities

Ultimately this is the only thing that matters during the Christmas season and all year long:
“God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (GALATIANS 4:5).

1 comment:

Julie R. said...

I just saw this, Lawana. I love that you posted it! If you were in church yesterday, you know that I've been struggling with this. If I can, I'm going to try to post that video on Facebook. I don't know if you saw the link that Tisha and I posted on Facebook about turning the tree that the gifts actually go to the lonely, hungry, poor, homeless, etc. Brad and I are totally moving in that direction. We're are too deep into it this year to abandon our gift giving plans, but we have changed our Christmas plans. We will be having people over to my mom's house who have nobody to be with on Christmas. We will then be heading to a nursing home to love on the residents, pass out homemade cards from the kids, and pass out calendars. Old people love calendars. :o) Anyway, thanks for sharing this blog and video with us!