1. Buy gifts before Thanksgiving. Unfortunately there is so much holiday hype around Christmas, that I begin to lose the Christmas Spirit quick. I try to avoid that by shopping early and intentionally, purchasing gifts that are unique to the recipients.
2. Avoid Credit Card Purchases. Ask yourself when you are considering using a credit card: "Will I be able to pay this off when I get my next paycheck?" If the answer is no, don't purchase the item. It has taken me three years once to pay off Christmas credit card purchases. That's just wrong! Creating a budget and shopping early and carefully to stay in that budget makes Christmas morning and the whole next year more enjoyable.
3. Avoid overkill. Have you ever bought your kids too much for Christmas? I have and I learned that at a certain point, the WOW! factor begins to fizzle out. It's best to take purchases back before Christmas if you realized you might have over-bought. Especially if you factor in what relatives are planning to give your children. Children should be excited about those gifts as well so that relatives can experience your child's joy.
3. Limit expectations ahead of time. When deciding to have a Christmas where we remember the reason for the season, scaling back the commercialism might be hard for some family members and helping children (and spouses!) prepare for the cutting back requires a little planning. Begin by planning and emphasizing all the traditions that cost little money but create lovely memories. Number five has great ideas to help family members appreciate Christmas more and Santa less.
4. It really is "The thought that counts." Remember less is more--think of tasteful, timeless gifts. Knowing that someone actually spent time thinking about you and what would truly be meaningful to you is a gift in itself. It encourages empathy for others--a trait sorely lacking in today's world.
5. Simplify by
- Helping out the less fortunate
- Restoring meaning to the ritual of gift giving
- Make your own traditions. Identify which are really important. 8 Traditions To Add To Your Bucket List identifies traditions that are more on the "spiritual" side including having a birthday party for Jesus. It is His birthday for Heaven's sake!