Have you noticed that the holiday marketing comes earlier and earlier each year? I stopped to pick up some thumbtacks the end of August and spotted not only back-to-school aisles, but also Halloween and Christmas displays up for sale.
So I thought today was a good time to reflect on the upcoming holidays and how I plan to stay out of the biggest mind-numbing spending and advertising of the year.
Last year about the time I started this blog and I wrote about the Black Friday excess and why people feel the need to put themselves through it. The gist of the article questioned whether people were trying to buy love through gifts. You can read it here for yourself.
My brother, informed us that he no longer goes to the store on Black Friday. It’s not because he no longer buys, but he found that starting at midnight he can purchase anything online for the sale prices in the stores. Darn, I thought I finally had something in common with one of my siblings
Growing up my presents were simple. One year I wanted an alarm clock with radio so I could listen to music in my room and get myself up for school. That was my only present and I was happy.
As an adult, my grandmother, knowing my love for horses, bought me a horse ornament for my Christmas tree. She usually found these at discount stores and laughed because she never spent more than $3-4 on me each year.
Those ornaments were something I eagerly looked forward to each year, they were some of my most cherished belongings, unfortunately I lost them the year she died in a house fire, but I still have the memories and know she understood me enough to know I needed nothing else.
I found things my children really liked and bought them little things most years. For example, my youngest loves eagles (the animal not the sports team, he’s a Cowboys fan ) So I would search all year when I was out for an interesting and different eagle to give him. He looked forward to this just like I did the horse ornaments. I would pick him up hand carved eagles from clay, a poster for his room, nothing expensive, but they were important to him.
One gift I gave each child every year was a book. I believe reading is important and love books and wanted to foster that love in my children. I still buy books for gifts (yep already have them picked out for this year).
I also give hand made gifts. This year the grand kids need scarves so I’ve crocheted them each one.
As you can guess, I already know what gifts I will be giving this year, I don’t wait for the last week to buy just anything I can find on sale, and I don’t wait for the sale flyers to come out.
This years gifts will include books, music (keyboard for the youngest child), skates for the oldest two children, and gift baskets of home made food for each family.
I set a limit of money to spend several years ago and stick to that amount, and I don’t use credit cards, as I own none.
Here’s how I break down what I spend on the yearly holidays:
For the adults:
- Birthdays: $5
- Easter: nothing except I bring a dish with me to dinner
- Christmas: $25 (this year was an exception, I helped redo a kitchen for one son and his family, and gifted the other son and his wife with babysitting and refurbished furniture I found when they bought their house)
For the children (grand kids):
- Birthdays: $10
- Easter: $5
- Birthdays: $10
- Halloween: $5
- Christmas: $40
My decorating is very simple as well.
I decorate with things found in nature.
- For Easter, I decorate with forced bulbs, and usually pull out the lighter colored blankets giving my home a spring feeling
- For Fall, I combine Halloween and Thanksgiving together and use pine cones, pressed leaves and use darker colors around the house to make it feel cozier. I use a fallen tree branch I painted lightly to hang pine cones from.
- For Christmas, I no longer put up a tree or use electrical items that drain electricity. I keep the tree branch and pine cones and add a few ornaments. I have a couple of Santas I set out, and then use food like a basket of fruit to make it fell festive.
So how do you avoid the craziness of the holidays? Do you wait till the last minute? Do you stand in line on Black Friday? How do you try to put meaning into your gifts?
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