Normally by now, I’d be in a frenzy of activity. Baking, menu planning, creating lists of gifts I’ve already purchased, and more lists of gifts I need to buy, preparing Christmas cards, and shopping like a mad woman to try and finish up before being crammed into the malls along with the rest of those last-minute shoppers.
As I mentioned in my last post, however (Check it out, then come right back!), we’ve had to suddenly and severely curb our spending. But I’ve discovered that not having discretionary income can actually be kind of liberating and stress-reducing around this holiday time.
Christmas cards: Ordinarily I either hand make, or painstakingly assemble a collage of photographs collected from throughout the year in order to create a unique Christmas card to send out to almost 100 of our closest friends, family members and work colleagues. But not this year. Uh-uh. With the cost of mailing those cards being close to $40, (not to mention the cost of the cards and envelopes themselves) we’re simply taking a year off. I thought I’d feel sad about this, but surprisingly, I’m feeling relieved. One less thing to do.
Those dreaded home parties: It seems like every year around this time I get inundated with home party invitations--jewelry, candles, scrapbooking, home products, food, you name it. Really, I love any excuse to get together with my girlfriends; but I always feel obligated to buy something at these shindigs. Not today!
Tonight I’m headed to a friend’s home where I’ll socialize to my heart’s content. But she knows I’m not whipping out my checkbook, no matter what. She is completely aware of our situation, so no guilt!
Gifts for Extended Family: Every year we put a lot of planning into creating unique one-of-a-kind homemade Christmas gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends. This year we’re just going to bake some cookies to share. Voila! Check that off the list.
Gifts for the Kids: No overloading our two kids with the latest IPods, newest game systems or other technological wonders. My oldest daughter has suggested that we share only three gifts this year, just like Jesus received on his “birth” day. Gee, focusing on Jesus as the reason for the season. What a novel idea.
Despite our lack of income, and the fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m actually feeling…calm. Relaxed. Able to focus on the simpler things that make this season so magical. We’re K.I.S.S.-ing (Keeping It Simple Sweetheart) Christmas this year, and it feels great.