Christmas is coming and with the coming Christmas holiday shopping season, a lot of parents will make the decision to once again go into debt to get their children lots of expensive Christmas gifts. Instead of going broke or deeper in debt, why not have a frugal Christmas?
A frugal Christmas doesn’t mean buying cheap toys that won’t last a week. It simply means having a holiday on your budget, within your means, with your spending dependent on your income and budget.
The problem that many parents face is that their children have seen so much advertising for toys and games, that they want anything and everything. And frankly, as parents, many of us at one time or another think our kids need and deserve loads of expensive gifts – so much so that we will go into debt to get them what they want, even when we can’t afford it and they don’t need it anyway.
Make this the year that you break the cycle of going into debt and going broke, just to buy Christmas gifts that will probably just be shoved to the back of the closet in less than a month anyway.
The idea here is to have a nice Christmas and save money while doing it. Remember what Christmas is all about – it’s the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The wise men brought gifts to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It’s not about going in the hole financially just to buy Christmas gifts and then not be able to pay our bills.
Here are some frugal Christmas tips. Depending on your family’s finances, you can trim these ideas back or expand on them.
1. Draw names. Stop buying a gift or gifts for everyone in the family, all your friends, neighbors, and the pets to boot. Get everyone together that normally buys in this manner and put their names in a bag or bowl and have everyone (not the pets) draw one name out. That’s who they buy for, period. This works for families with lots of children also.
2. Tell the kids something to this effect: This year, instead of buying lots of Christmas gifts, we’re going to do something for someone that needs our help. This could mean making meals and taking them to someone, visiting with people who have no one for Christmas, donating their toys to kids who are less fortunate, etc.
3. Shop the sales and bargains. If you can’t find it on sale or clearance, leave it. This can be online or in the actual store.
4. Make it yourself. Homemade gifts are so much more thoughtful and caring than most store bought gifts, simply because love, care, and thought went into creating the item. Get the family together and tell them that this year you’re making gifts for each other. Use what you have (or can afford) and make something with the gift recipient in mind.
5. Have a story telling or singing. Make a new tradition of the family going out (or staying in) singing Christmas songs. Let the children create and put on a Christmas play or puppet show.
There are so many frugal ways to celebrate Christmas, without going into debt or going broke! Sadly, so many parents believe that if they don’t spend money on their kids, that they are depriving their kids. Actually, it’s quite the opposite! They are teaching their kids that Christmas is about one thing – money. It shouldn’t be that way!
There’s nothing wrong in buying Christmas gifts – to some extent. But when parents end up in debt, year after year, just to buy gifts, there is something wrong. When we go broke to get our kids loads of gifts, yes there is something wrong.
This year, make a difference! Have a frugal Christmas, and feel the difference that it makes when your kids are seeing more of what Christmas is really all about.