Monday, December 16, 2013

Make Memories, Not Payments... Just sayin'

Getting ready for the holidays? Me too! It has been a long time coming, but Christmas is finally here and you have a lot to do. Decorating, shopping, wrapping, and then the meals will keep you smiling or pulling your hair out depending on how well you can handle the stress.

What if we decide to spend quality time with our families and build more memories instead of spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying things we don't need. Things that get shuffled in with the rest of the "stuff" we also don't need.

No time was so clear to me than last Christmas. When days later, the tree was packed and the wrapping paper was thrown out it hit me... everything I handpicked with care or worked overtime to buy was tucked into a nook and forgotten. I didn't make a difference with all of the money I spent. It was just an expectation that I had set that I didn't want to maintain anymore.

The thought has been around for a long-time, but I had a hard time deciding that this is something that I am going to fully embrace. Why? Because when you build an expectation, then back off... it upsets the status quo. But, this year... I did it! Here are some tips if you want to try it too:

1. Quality not Quantity: This year, I looked at the list that my kid created and decided which thing she really needed and how each gift would bring her closer to her goal of being more independent. I decided on the car. Yes! The car was the one thing that I knew she would really appreciate.

2. Gift Exchange: Instead of digging deep into my pockets for my entire extended family. I initiated a gift exchange. This way, I only had to buy a few high quality gifts instead of trying to make everyone happy. Because making everyone happy isn't possible at any price.

3. Volunteer to help others: This is a great time to volunteer to help others. Make direct donations of time like clean an elderly neighbor's home. Bake cookies for a friend. Donate a toy to Toys For Tots.

4. Plan a Trip. Make memories. Too soon, your kids will be  grown and out of the house. Find a place where you can relax and eat a nice dinner out. Take your mini tree and decorate your hotel room with a few of your cherished ornaments.

Christmas is a great time to celebrate everything you already have! That's what I am doing this year. So when you don't get a Christmas card from me this year, please know that's it's not personal. I thought of how much your friendship means to me... I promise!

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14 comments:

  1. Such wise and practical ideas. I have quit buying presents for the entire family tree. Gift exchanges are the perfect solution

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    1. It took me a while! But, I have arrived and I haven't been happier. Thanks for reading.

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  2. This is something my children and I have done for years making the holiday time we spend together so much for meaningful!

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    1. We are really looking forward to spending time with our family together. Now that one is in college. Making meaningful memories has been a real joy!

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  3. I couldn't agree more - the holidays give us chance to take a bit of time out and focus on what's important. It's much less about 'stuff' and much more about the people and connections that matter to us.

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  4. This is a great post, and I couldn't agree more. Christmas has, for many years, become so commercialized. I like what you said about getting gifts being an expectation. I always buy people gifts throughout the year if I see something I know someone will love. Buy gifts for Christmas and other holidays feels so contrived and forced to me.

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  5. Jo and Deanna... agreed! Thanks. I am not into the forced feeling brought on by the expectation of Christmas presents.

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  6. These are really such great ideas. I see the hustle bustle going on out there and wonder if they really are enjoying it because they sure don't seem to be grump and stressed.

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  7. I so agree! I have told my family that we are done and lets spend quality time together and take a trip. Love your ideas!!!

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  8. I like your ideas too. Much better than the stress.

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  9. Great ideas! Quality time with the ones you love is really the most important thing about the holiday season! :)

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  10. I like the whole gift exchange idea. It would be so much easier shopping for just one person.

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  11. Great article! With more like this out there, hopefully more of a shift will occur in thinking. We have stopped purchasing for the whole family as well as drastically reduced the number of gifts our children get because consumerism is a monster that will never fulfill what it is you want and need anyways, in my opinion. Christmas for us is about unconditional love and service to others and we don't have to go broke to take part in that.

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  12. I love this article! My sons school is totally aligned with you this year. Normally they say "buy a $5-10 boy gift to exchange" this year they are asking all families bring in a slightly used book (age appropriate) and everyone is going to exchange them. This way the kids feel like they are getting something new and the parents get to recycle books from their home! What a great idea!

    Laura
    http://lifesdaringadventure.com

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