Yikes! Christmas is Coming….

So I was walking around the store yesterday and discovered that we are not even through Halloween and our retailers are gearing up for Christmas already…..What??  How can this be, now we are selling 3 holidays in advance….   But then I thought about it, retailers are going to have to extend their holiday season with the shortage of credit available for shoppers.   What this means, lay away is coming back full steam ahead, you may or may not have noticed that for a couple of years that was not an option.  But retailers are throwing every chance for consumers to dump more cash into the holiday so they can at least make it to Black Friday, if you have heard this but didn’t quite know what it means, it means most retailers are in the “red” until the day after Thanksgiving and then through the end of the year will be the only time it will actually see a profit.  With the current economic environment they may never see “black” anything this year.   But I digress, the important issue is that we get through the holiday season without using credit.  Yes that is my challenge.  Sit down with the family, figure out a “budget” for the holiday.  I know it sort of takes the fun out of it but in these times of lay-offs and increasing prices and high outstanding household debt people are carrying it is time to get back to the basics.  Now there are several options to do and can put a fun twist to the holidays for the family.  Here are some ideas that can make a cheaper but more fun holiday for you and your family.  For extended family gatherings, you can draw names, or to make an even livlier gathering do a “white elephant”, meaning use recycled gifts, pull out of the closet those things that just never found a place in your home, but be careful so people’s feelings aren’t hurt, make sure you take a gift that was not already given by a person that will be in attendance.  Another something for extended family, just get gifts for the kids and put a limit to that or even stocking stuffers and each child gets an overstuffed stocking.  Now for immediate family, drawing names can be totally appropriate, so everyone gets a really nice gift and no one goes broke or takes unwanted gifts home.  Or if you are a talented family, it could be more creative, Secret Santas, with notes, clues, fun small things that don’t add up to a bundle.  Or homemade gifts only.  Another one is “service coupons” given to family members, this can be really fun and creative; ie, homemade dinners, free babysitting, yard being mowed, raking leaves, cleaning house, lots of things can be used.  Again, make the gatherings more meaningful and no one will miss all the gift exchanging and I guarentee it will be more memorable.  Another something to do is to write special notes to each family member that they open during the gathering.  This can be a little emotional but aging parents and grandparents would take those over money spent any day!  Some fun activities to plan during your holiday gatherings, what your most memorable moment of all Christmas gatherings was.  Ironically, mine had nothing to do with gifts, it had to do with the extended family gatherings and what the all the cousins would get into trying to entertain ourselves as the adults talked, oh the stories we have.  If you are in charge of the meal for the gathering, how about assign different dishes to other extended family members, don’t take all the burden and I am sure others will be happy to pitch in and make that “specialty” dish they love to make.   Now onto our kids, we all want our kids to see presents under the tree and rip the wrapping and get that ultimate toy.  Okay, there are different ways to handle this.  If children are older, this is a great time to make it a teaching tool, have them sit down and make their list.  Then prioritize.  Then give them a cash limit and re-prioritize based on that.  Some may go with more inexpensive gifts others may just want one gift.  Now if children are smaller and still believe in Santa, they don’t understand money and probably don’t know the difference between a $3 gift and a $50 gift.   Be careful here, you are creating your own situation for future years.  Make Christmas about family and not gifts.  Remember the reason for the season.  Traditions of Chistmas Eve church service/or morning.  Getting the milk and cookies ready for Santa.  Filling Stockings with candy and trinkets (Dollar Store is perfect for this).  Spending time with family, sharing stories, playing games, hot chocolate, big dinners, Christmas Cookies, football, maybe caroling.  So start the planning now, what the heck, the stores are why shouldn’t we.  There are lots of things that make Christmas besides spending money on gifts make this the best Christmas ever and be able to sleep come January with no credit card bills to pay.  If you do something for Christmas, share your ideas, use the comments section.

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~ by debt2dreams on October 28, 2008.

One Response to “Yikes! Christmas is Coming….”

  1. I just read about a website that can help you put together a more creative Christmas, the website is as follows, the link I tried didn’t connect but I typed it in and I got to it, check it out. nochristmasgiftsthisyear.com. Cute website and good ideas. This is from the 30 day challenge guy that I had referenced previously.

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