For our family, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We eat lots, we drink lots, and we exchange lots of gifts with all of our family. It is not a time for us to stick to a budget. It is not a time to be frugal. Sure, I watch for sales, but finding a shirt or a toy on sale just means that person will than get an extra gift! I’m not saying we go over the top, we do have a general idea of what we are getting each person, and the amount to spend on each gift, but that doesn’t mean we won’t throw in something extra if we know they will love it. It is the time of year that we spoil others, and ourselves. It seems that “no” is not in our vocabulary, and it feels great! We have extra money set aside for that larger than normal credit card bill, but most of the gifts are paid off because I did do a lot of shopping gradually over the past few months. It is so nice to have a time of year where we can go out and buy nice beer, fancy coffees, and a new shirt to wear to dinner, without thinking twice. Though those beers were the ones on sale, I had a buy one get one coupon for those coffees, and the new shirt was second hand…they are all still “extras” that we don’t normally allow ourselves to have.
This years holidays we did have some extra expenses; we bought a new artificial tree. Our old one was a tiny little guy that we bought for our tiny little apartment, and it was cheap looking (you could see right through it!), so we shelled out $40 for a super nice one from XS Cargo (thanks to my mom for spotting the sale and checking out to see if the trees were nice!), and because we bought a new, larger tree, we needed more lights (2 more strands, bought on sale!) and more ornaments (bought a pack on sale before Christmas, and another pack on sale after Christmas).
We took it easy on gifts for the little guy again this year. He’s only 15 months, and won’t remember this Christmas. Also, the kid is happier playing with a bowl and spoon than a $100 toy. I say, save money now while we have only one kid that isn’t asking for the latest video game system or hundred-dollar shoes! Plus, it’s nice to let the grandparents and aunts and uncle spoil him :). He has plenty of new toys to play with, and an entire new wardrobe for the rest of the winter and well into the spring!
But, with the holidays coming to an end, and January 1st 2011 fast approaching, this is all a reminder that after a month of spending, we are back on a budget! It’s been a perfect Christmas, but now it’s time to get back to reality.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
ps: I did not get the nativity finished in time! Mary, Joseph, and the 3 wise men are done; Jesus, 2 shepherds, a donkey, a camel, a lamb, Angel Gabriel, a palm tree, and the crèche all still need to be completed. Next, next year it should be done!