It’s hard to have a debt-free or frugal Christmas.
Even for our family we find it sometimes difficult not to get caught up in all the commercialism of the holiday season.
When I think about all the unexpected expenses, some of which we feel obligated to participate in despite all my protests, it upsets me…
Do these things even add value to the holiday?
These holiday things are so expected, but I wonder about the worth and expense.
I recently saw a post from a mom complaining that parents shouldn’t allow “Santa” to provide extravagant gifts for kids because some kids don’t understand why Santa doesn’t give them what they want. The comments ranged from vicious to understanding, admonishing parents to teach kids to be grateful for whatever they get or not do Santa at all.
I think they missed the point. And it got me thinking.
If I followed social media suggestions, I would be sorely depressed that my tree didn’t have a theme with matching glittery ribbon flowing through it like a river. We didn’t bake, decorate, or give artistically iced cookies with chemical-free dye. We didn’t offer handmade painted wrapping paper.
I’m tired of making excuses because I don’t give in to the expectations.
Don’t even get me started.
I ignored social media the last couple months so I wouldn’t feel guilty.
We have very simple holiday decorations – some thrift store candle holders and a kid-decorated tree with a handmade tree skirt. Electricity is expensive here, so we have only a minimum of lights. Seeing extravagant online home tours and fancy craft tutorials don’t make me feel good about myself.
I don’t need more kitschy crafts to keep my kids busy or to clutter up my house.
Craft items are expensive and I can’t find many of the items here.
I don’t want to see the flashing eyes of a betrayed child ever again as I admit that I tossed that gluey, glittery, sequiny creation.
Rolls of colored paper, ribbons, bows, gift bags, tissue paper, tags, labels, cards…
These consumable items are so expensive just to end up in the trash!
We don’t have storage space anymore to go to the after-Christmas sales to stock up for the next year.
Work pot luck lunches, parties, cookie exchanges, church hospitality duties, treats for neighbors…
I often don’t consider these items in our monthly food budget and they sure add up!
My daughter has attended a couple events where she wouldn’t eat because the food was so unhealthy. Her friends don’t understand why she won’t eat greasy pizza or fluorescent cupcakes.
We don’t give tangible gifts anymore.
Our kids know there won’t be a gazillion presents under the tree from us or Santa on Christmas morning. We don’t even do stockings.
We were accused of being “like weird Jehovah’s Witnesses” at church for our values. Nice.
Since we homeschool, I don’t think much about teacher gifts, but my kids want to give a little something to the music teachers and gymnastics instructor. I love their hearts. They picked out greeting cards to hold gift cards and wrote out a note for their teachers.
Since we’re far from family, we’ve found it easier for years just to send gift cards. I never know what they want, anyway.
But, man, those gift cards add up – and some even have activation fees! And greeting cards are $4-$5 or more!
We don’t send out Christmas cards anymore. We don’t purchase boxed holiday cards or send away for photo collage cards. It’s just a waste. We keep in touch with friends and family on Facebook and I sent out a greeting there.
I continue to look for ways to reduce my overwhelm.