If you think it’s too soon to be talking about Christmas, please read the following two preamble statements.
Preamble #1 – I’ve got kids. 3 months before Christmas is a perfectly appropriate lead time to start talking about Christmas.
Preamble #2 – I live overseas. As my wife has been reminding me, it can take six weeks (or more) to send a package here, so if we want to get something for the kids, we need to start thinking about it now.
A frugal Christmas doesn’t just happen! It requires boundaries, preplanning, and forethought. Those things require TIME.
For the last five or six years, our budget has always included a line item for gifts. Each month starting in January we start putting money aside for Christmas. Over the last several years, we’ve exchanged creative homemade gifts. In fact, my daughter just used two of her gifts this week. She had a coupon for Time in Daddy’s Office so she came down for a visit (into what seems like the Most Holy Place). My daughter has a dimple, and so it’s easy to tell when she’s happy or excited. For the duration of her visit, the dimple was visible. I just saw it again a few days ago when she used an Ice Cream Date With Daddy coupon. These two experiences this week really did remind me how special homemade gifts can be.
A Note to Parents Struggling Financially
Parents, what you spend on your children need not be an indication of your love. Yes, we do all love our children and want what is best for them. But, understand that if this has been a difficult financial year, it doesn’t mean you need to skip Christmas. Your job is to set the tone. You can set the tone by being sorry and apologetic to your kids because you don’t have much to give. Yes, you’ll probably need to communicate that it’s a hard financial year, but remind them that Christmas can still be GREAT! Give them what you have (time and love) which is far more valuable than anything that could come out of your wallet. Please don’t feel defeated or unworthy as a parent if the Christmas gifts will be few and far between.
Tips For Early Frugal Christmas Planning
Even though it is early, I want to highlight a few Christmas articles I’ve written. This way you’ll have time to properly plan. Properly prepare. And properly budget.
Christmas Illuminates Our Joy and Pain – As we get ready for the holiday season over the next few months, we ought to be mindful of those to whom Christmas will bring much pain. Like so many of you this year, I’ve said goodbye to relatives, to friends, and to mentors. For some, Christmas will highlight the pain they’ve been carrying. Perhaps we could start today to pray for those to whom Christmas will be painful.
A Christmas Holiday Guide To Pre-preparing Christmas Food – I’m not the cook in our home. However, I asked a few homemakers what they do to prepare their Christmas meals. I found the advice really helpful.
An Essential Guide to Surviving the Hectic Christmas Holidays – If the holidays aren’t hectic in your home, then you can probably just skip this article. If, however, you typically feel overwhelmed in November and December, you might want to consider reading this post.
50 Christmas Gift Ideas: Make Your Own Personalized Gifts – Over the last few years, this has always been one of my most popular posts. If you want to make homemade or personalized Christmas presents then I hope this helps.
Debt-Free Christmas | It Can Be Done – If you’ve never had a debt free Christmas, now is the perfect time to start moving in that direction. The longer you wait to make the decision, the more improbable it will seem.