Instead of my normal monthly challenges, I’m going to feature a Christmas in July Series. Over the course of this month, we will talk about how you can prepare for Christmas physically, financially, and spiritually. Last week, I talked about how we can prepare for Christmas spiritually. Today, we’ll talk about readying ourselves financially.
Christmas should not be stressful! It should be spent with family. It should be spent reflecting on the reason for the season. But, inevitably, we get obsessed with finding the perfect gift (remember the Tickle Me Elmo craze of the late 90s?) only to be stressed in January when the December credit card bills show up in the mailbox. Here are some ways you can alleviate some of the December gift giving stress:
5 Ways to Plan for Christmas Gift Giving Now
- Start saving now. Whether you open a Christmas club account or put some money in a piggy bank, set aside money now. You should NEVER spend money you don’t have at Christmas. That’s not teaching your children a very good lesson.
- Start buying now. If you see something in the store and you think “Johnny would love that!” buy it and save it for Christmas. Just don’t forget you have it! And, don’t end up buying more for Johnny at Christmastime. You already got him his gift! This lightens up the bills in December and January.
- Talk to your family now about gift giving. Do you really need to exchange gifts? This is the source of the greatest tension and stress during the holidays. See if your family is open to refraining from gift giving or setting a low dollar amount. You really do need to approach this topic ASAP because there’s at least one person in every family who starts their Christmas shopping really early!
- Ask your family to consider adopting a family or giving a family gift to charity in lieu of presents to each other. How many times have you heard your loved ones say, “I can’t think of anything” or “I don’t need anything” when you ask them what they want for Christmas. If this is the case in your family, you could consider all pitching in $20 and donating it to a favorite charity. Even more fun – adopt a family and go out together to buy gifts for them. Make it a fun holiday outing with a stop for hot chocolate and maybe a wrapping party afterward!
- Set boundaries now for shopping for your children. Christmas should not be a spoil-fest for your children. Let us not lose sight of the meaning of Christmas. Christmas gift giving should amount to a few gifts given and received so children learn the spirit of giving. It should not consist of parents running themselves ragged looking for the Tickle Me Elmo of 2014 and feeling inadequate if they don’t get everything on their kids’ lists.
If you reflect on these 5 suggestions and address gift giving now, you will be able to focus more on the things that truly matter at Christmas – Jesus, family, and friends.
Christmas in July Series:
- Skinny Shrimp Boil
- Using Essential Oils to Relieve Chemotherapy Side Effects