October 21, 2008

Budgeting for Christmas

I can't believe it's time to start planning for Christmas again! I know some of you are already finished, but I like doing it as part of the celebration season. One year I was finished by Thanksgiving and I felt like I was missing out!

Anyway, I struggle each year feeling like we do too much for Christmas. It supposedly isn't about the gifts, but when we're all together with my East coast family (12 adults and 10 children), that day ends up all about the gifts only because of the sheer number of people! I don't know how to change that. I also can't necessarily change it with only my children when there are a lot of us involved. And I don't want there to be fewer people involved! So many thoughts tumbling around my brain! Another issue of my own is that we usually do have the money to spend on things, so I don't stop when I should. I love to buy for my kids, b/c we don't just buy random things through the year very often.

On a message board I've seen lots of people do categories for gifts for each child, and then stop when those categories are filled. I like this concept, but am not sure how to make it fit our lifestyle. I don't like to buy them something they need as a gift. Well, new undies are essential to fill up a stocking, but other than that it seems lame to me! Anyway, this is an example of what I mean.

I'd buy each child something they -
Play with:

Things to share -
Play with:

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think it would help me make careful choices in spending. It will also help us start some traditions that steer the kids toward appropriate expectations for Christmas morning.



Matt said...

Toughie. Question: how many of the gifts your (or Jen's) kids receive are from another sister (wow...guess it's just the two of you with all the kids) teaching their kids about giving as they're excited about giving to their cousins? (Not rhetorical...I really don't know.) In that case gifts can just be a real blessing.
But Cherilyn and I definitely agree with your thought here....although I think I'll have a hard time actually stopping the purchase process when we have kids someday.
It's difficult because it's really creating a counter-culture to American, and even Christian, Christmas culture.
It's good...but so hard.
I think it would be great for the Magee/Thuen/Magee/Crabtree/Cole/Salvatore clan to practice this one year...maybe even this year. Enjoy Christmas together for the sake of Christ and our families. This is not to say that individual families couldn't do their own gift-giving, but when we're together doing something to focus on Christ together and enjoying the day for the day.

Anonymous said...


I ran across this article a couple years back. It seemed a neat concept. (The 7th Day Adventists do something similar.)

We never did it though.

We really don't get out of hand at Christmas and having no family around-they don't really get lavished upon.

We keep it very sensible.