I Broke Christmas

Please don’t be angry with me, but I have a confession: You know those crazies who go out shopping the day after Thanksgiving? The ones who wait in ridiculously long lines to score loot for deeply discounted prices? The ones who now go out before they’ve even finished chewing their turkey?

I’m one of them and I’m sorry.

It’s not that I have no respect for Thanksgiving. I don’t try to score a big screen TV either. It’s honestly that I love Christmas so much that I absolutely can’t wait a second longer for it to begin. For me, Black Friday (err--Thursday) shopping with my sister and friends jumpstarts my holiday in the happiest way. (But to be real, I really wish it didn’t begin until Friday like it’s supposed to.)

There is a major problem with my extreme love of Christmas though (aside from the fact that I now shop while others should be enjoying Thanksgiving). I get so excited that I overspend. Every single time. Every potential gift I see makes me imagine the recipient's face when they open it and I lose my head. I spend and spend and forget to pay attention to the totals. I broke our Christmas.

Last year, I racked up so much on my credit card that we’re STILL paying it off. Yikes. It still hurts.

I’m all about teaching my kids that Christmas isn’t about gifts and that you should be financially responsible, always. Yet, I seemed to have missed the lesson myself. So I had to get myself in check this year. I had to reel in the spending, hide the credit card, and remember what really makes Christmas magical. I needed to get back to the spirit of the holidays and teach my children the same thing. I WILL fix it.

So, this year, I’m only getting the girls four gifts each. It’s based on this idea I got from my sister-in-law who got it from Pinterest. The whole premise is this: You only get each child something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. One gift for each category. It’s genius. You can have them guess which gift is which. You can label each gift with printable tags (also on Pinterest). You can personalize it however you want. I loved it because it makes Christmas morning like a fun game in itself. But the biggest plus is that it has helped keep me in check while shopping this year. I have literally left a line to check out so I could put a toy back on the shelf when I realized that I’d already fulfilled my girl’s “Something I want” item. It’s not been easy, but our bank account is so much happier (i.e. My husband is happier). And when I think of future Christmases when our kids ask for even more expensive items, I know I’ll love the me who implemented this game plan now.

For the sake of realness though, I’ll be honest, I still felt a huge void at the thought of only buying my kids four things when I decided to take this new tradition on. In order to help curb my crazy, we’re doing a lot of fun holiday themed activities this month:

  1. Ice skating day with family
  2. Homemade advent calendar
  3. Felt christmas tree
  4. Holiday light tour
  5. Visit to see Santa
  6. Cookie making day
  7. Elf on the Shelf
  8. Christmas movies with popcorn
  9. Dance parties to Christmas music
  10. Magical trips to the Christmas section of Target (just to look)

So far, the plan is going marvelously. The girls are loving everything to do with Christmas. It’s made me realize that when I was putting most of the emphasis on Christmas morning gifts, the rest of the season lost its sparkle. Now that we’re doing things for the holidays all month long, the girls are excited everyday to see what fun thing we have planned. And I promise you, I’m not even going all out Pinterest mom on this either. Somedays we do nothing but stay in our pajamas and listen to Christmas music. Thankfully, because my littles are still easily entertained, this is enough.

Why didn’t I think of all this on my own?! And sooner?

Thank you, dear sister-in-law and the people of Pinterest. Our Christmases will now have magic before we even have to spike the egg nog.

Tagged: holidays, Christmas, Santa, parenting


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