Let the Holidays Loom Large, But Not Heavy

Let the Holidays Loom Large, But Not Heavy

by Mia Cronan

That time is getting nearer everyday. It's the time when we sit down and plan out a shopping budget for ourselves so that we stay in total control of how much we spend over the holidays. Right? When will we learn? It's never as simple as we make out to be. We over-spend, for several reasons:

1. At the last minute, you rush out because you forgot to buy a gift for Aunt Millie, who was kind enough to invite the tots to stay for a week this past summer.

2. When you weren't looking, you got "volunteered" to head up the Christmas party at school, which largely comes out of your pocket!

3. Hubby comes home and says, "We need to have a Christmas party for the people at work, but we only get reimbursed $1.75 per person."

4. You decide to ugpgrade your Christmas cards by sending foiled- lined, engraved cards with photos of the kids.

5. Your Christmas tree skirt is shot from so many years of use, so you need a new one.

You get the idea? No matter how well we plan, we end up starting in disbelief at the credit card bill, come January. How can we prevent the post-holiday let-down of having to pay the piper for more dances than we cared to dance?

1. Make sure when you write down your list of loved-ones for whom you'll buy gifts, include everyone the first time, stick to it and don't add more later, and write down a dollar amount next to each name over which you won't spend. Then stick to that, too!

2. Plan ahead for those people that you feel pressure to buy for, or that holiday party that you might be in charge of, and bake several dozen cookies and goodies well before December 1st! You can freeze most cookies, or your can freeze the dough if you'd rather they are freshly baked. Inexpensive packaging for homemake cookies makes a lovely gift. And if they're for a party, pull them out of the freezer, put them on holiday plates, and you're set!

3. Stick with inexpensive cards for Christmas. Nobody really cares how much you paid for the cards...they care about the sentiment felt when you sent them. Instead of breaking the budget on special Currier & Ives cards, take an extra moment to write a personalized note. That will mean more to the recipients.

4. Wait until well after the holidays to buy things like Christmas cards, tree skirts, holiday towels, candles, and other decorations. Most stores will mark those things down up to 75% if you can be patient enough to get through another year with a few chipped ornaments!

Just remember...Christmas isn't about how much you spend. It's about reflecting the love of the newborn Christ on His birthday. Keeping your family budget intact will help you feel the peace the holiday should bring, rather than the stress that the bills bring!

About the author

Mia Cronan is a married full-time mother of three girls, and a boy, living in Wisconsin. She owns and edits www.MainStreetMom.com, the magazine for modern mothers with traditional values. Mia can be reached at mia@mainstreetmom.com.


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