Ok--I've been called a scrooge in the past, because I don't enjoy the commercialization of Christmas. Here are my thoughts on the whole Christmas thing...Heber and I haven't bought gifts for each other for years--In the early years of our marriage we just did stalkings for each other, now we forego all gifts and go on a couples trip every January together instead. I'd rather put $ into making memories than filling up our house with more stuff.
Christmas isn't an excuse for a free for all! Just because it's Christmas, doesn't mean you should spend $ you DON'T have on gifts.
If you don't have much $ and are feeling pressure to put gifts on credit cards, because you feel obligated. This is WRONG! It is not a NEED to give gifts! No one wants you to go into debt to give them a gift they didn't know they needed or even wanted.
To be honest in years past, we have bought the kids random trinkets and gifts and they always end up lost/broken by the end of January--we should've saved our $!
Just because it's Christmas, doesn't mean we are entitled to buying more stuff! Somehow the following answer is always accepted, "Oh, we are getting that for Christmas"--like that makes the $ magically appear that you didn't have. We need to change this upcoming generation to be more grateful than entitled. Ask them, "What are you giving for Christmas?" instead of "What do you want for Christmas?"
How many times have people asked you what you want for Christmas or a birthday? And you answer "nothing" because you really don't NEED anything. Why are we all scurrying around buying stuff that isn't needed or wanted?
I am not saying to cancel Christmas, just be more creative/frugal in the gift giving. Our kids don't need $500 worth of stuff each to feel the Christmas spirit. "If you can't find the Christmas spirit in your heart, you aren't going to find it under the tree" said one of my son's friends.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for Christmas.
Free Christmas-Name of the game for the whole family, $0 gifts. It's a fun game. Find stuff you have and "gift" it. Maybe it's a jewelry box you've had kicking around that you don't super love, but you know your niece would LOVE it. Maybe it's an old soccer jersey that you wore a ton and have outgrown, but know it would be your younger brothers new prized possession if you gave it to him.
Homemade Christmas--I love making/receiving homemade gifts, I always feel like they mean more. Baked goods, sew a purse, make a knife (my sons latest obsession), tie a quilt, repurpose stuff you have around the house, etc. There are always tons of ideas online. wallet made out of grandpa's old shirts apron made out of grandma's old table cloth
Sentimental gifts--I love these the most! I've cut up my grandma and grandpas old clothes and have made the grandkids aprons, wallets, teddy bears, etc. I've put old letters in a photo box for my mom. I've made stuff out of Heber's Grandma's old linens (turned a table cloth into an apron for his sister). Memory jars were a HUGE hit with my parents--all the kids wrote down funny memories or stories from when we were growing up and put them in a jar. My parents relished these for the whole afternoon, reading them and laughing and crying, and learning about all the naughty things us kids did. Much more heart warming than a new set of knives!
Needs--stuff you'd buy anyways! Socks, underwear, a new coat, etc.
Thrift Store christmas-- My kids and I love shopping thrift stores. Look for the good, quality brands. I can always find something anytime I stop in. Eddie Bauer Sorel boots $6. REI outdoor shirt $5. Rubbish brand jacket $6. Spider brand ski pants $20. You'd be surprised with what you find and how little you spend!
Christmas at a beach house in California
Trip--One of my favorite Christmas's was when we decided to make memories instead of give gifts. It was MAGIC, we rented a beach house in California for the week with my sister's family. We did stockings for the kids and that was it. We went for walks every morning and collected shells, watched the dolphins, went to the tide pools, made cinnamon rolls, hot tubbed 3 times/day, and had campfires. Yes, I understand this isn't cheap--but I'd rather spend $ on a trip than buy extra clutter and stuff for the kids that they don't need.
Sledding the driveway at the cabin
-Gift of time together--with extended family, plan a day to be together and eliminate the unnecessary gift giving. Sledding, movies, stories, dance party, crafts, card games, etc.