Saturday, October 4, 2008

Christmas Decisions

This morning I had breakfast with 2 other good friends, and we got on the topic of Christmas shopping.  We all expressed how stressful it is to spend money (when money is really tight right now), and to have to go buy gifts for people when you are not sure what they would like or need. All of us confessed that we are going into the holiday season this year with dread.  Each of us wishes we did not have to do "gifts" so that we could focus on family and just being with the people we love.  While we all LOVE giving gifts to others, we wish there was a way that it could be easier (or free, for that matter).  (For a matter of perspective, we have 11 immediate family members to buy for, plus extended family and friends totaling about 20 people)

However, we also know that the idea of not exchanging gifts may not go over well with those in our families.  After all, it is "tradition" and Christmas would just not be the same without the annual exchanging of the gifts.  Just the thought of having to make phone calls to certain members of our families with this idea causes each of us some stress.

I came home and shared with Martin what we had been talking about and he said "Let's do it. Let's make the call and ask that we not exchange gifts this year."  I went back and forth about it, because gift giving, after all, is my #1 love language.  It is how I express my love and care for others, and also how I  best receive it! :)  But I know that Christmas should not be about the gifts, so I agreed.

Tonight I called my mom just to talk through the idea, knowing that she would be supportive, and she was. She is not the one we're worried about.  She said she still wants to give us some gifts but not to feel the pressure to give any.  One weight lifted off of my shoulders.  I explained to her that in doing our budget, we realize that we can afford for me to stay home with the boys until about January of next year, and at that time, if we don't get some additional income, I may need to get a job.  Spending money on Christmas is the equivalent of me getting to stay home for 1 month or work for 1 month.  Staying at home with the boys is my highest priority right now.

So this Christmas may be very different for us.  I am fighting the urge to feel guilty about all of this.  It makes me sad not to go hit the sales and buy a ton of gifts for those I love, and part of me worries about what the others will think of us.  But at the same time, it would take a huge load of stress off, both financially and emotionally.  

One phone call down, four more to go.....


  1. These decisions are hard, but I applaud your ability to stand up for what is best for your family. Doing the right thing usually isn't easy - bummer! I hope the rest of your phone calls go/have gone well :)

  2. I think we are going to do something similar this year. We've put "christmas money" towards dental work and car repairs in order to not use credit. Hopefully some members of your family will be relieved to have the pressure lifted.

  3. We are so there!
    We did photo books for the grandparents (thanks to a 50% off coupon) and are going "gently used" for our kids and that's it. It's been well received thus far - a lot of people are in the same boat.
    I hope it goes well for you too!

    (see, now I'm a blog-stalker.)