Christmas is around the corner. The calendar and pocketbook are being tugged at from every corner. Cookie exchanges, Christmas performances and holiday get togethers vy for time. Every time I enter a store or turn on the computer, some new item that no one on my Christmas list needs, but would be so fun to get anyway, shows up. On sale of course.
The temptation to over-commit and over-spend is strong.
We must learn to say “no!”
Even to some of those incredibly delightful sounding parties or tempting books on sale for $5.50. Not so that we can play Scrooge, but so that we make room for the best, with no regrets come January.
We must make room to treasure the true Meaning of Christmas.
photo by Benjamin Earwicker
Choose what is best
I hate saying “no” to events. Partly because I don’t want to miss out on any of the fun, partly because I don’t want to offend a friend. After numerous times of reaping the consequences of over extending myself, I’m slowly getting better.
As Crystal from Money Saving Mom points out, the purpose of learning to say “no” is so that we can say “yes” to the best.
Prioritize: Choose what is most important for your family, at this season of life, and let go of the rest.
Know your limits: Some women can bounce from activity to activity without letting it affect their home, their family life or their attitude. I can’t. Just because another woman/family is hostessing or attending fifty activities doesn’t mean it would be wise for me to.
Likewise, each of our Christmas budgets are different. We’re working intensely on paying off school loans. In the long run that’s a much better gift to our children than a large play set (that probably wouldn’t even fit in their room!)
Don’t commit to a new activity immediately. It’s not an earth-shattering idea or anything, but it has been so helpful since I read about it a few months ago (I wish I could remember where!) Graciously say you need to check your schedule and/or talk to you husband first. This helps avoid an impulse decision that you’ll regret or, even worse, have to back out of later. (Don’t ask me how I know!)
Clear out the clutter: De-cluttering in December is weird. It’s also a very strong motivator to avoid impulse purchases. Many of those “50% off TODAY ONLY!” items will end up in the donation pile within a few months.
Simplify other areas of your life. The schedule is almost always more full at Christmas, so simplify other areas if you can. Unless you are forced by budget constraints or pressing health needs, lighten up a bit on yourself. As my dear husband reminds me, “It’s not a sin to use paper plates!”
Most importantly, give thanks! We’re celebrating the greatest Gift ever given to mortals: God Himself as our Redeemer! No celebration can come close to being more lavish than that Gift. Yet don’t let the celebration cloud the Cause!
What about you? How do you balance Christmas celebrations?