Christmas is coming soon and we are getting excited about it at our house. Thank-fully we are not getting stressed nor are we going into debt. We have a very simple Christmas here. I am sure our way is not for everybody, and it would be silly if everybody did everything the same way, but I thought that I would share our way as an encouragement to anybody that is wanting to have fun without spending a lot and for those who would like to simplify.
We have an interesting background as far a Christmas goes. I grew up not celebrating Christmas. My mom also grew up not celebrating Christmas. We are Christians but realized that the Christmas holiday was not something that was from the Bible but originated later. We didn't like how materialistic the holiday can often be and also didn't like the idea of telling kids a lie about Santa Claus. That being said I grew up with a rather negative view of Christmas. Ken grew up celebrating Christmas fairly traditionally. Before we got married we discussed it and since I was uncomfortable with celebrating Ken said it would be fine if we didn't. In the last few years I realized that he was missing it and did some serious thinking and came to realize that we could celebrate the holiday without having to do the things that bothered me.
So here is what we do: Ken loves Christmas lights, so he decorates the outside all over with lights. I love decorating but don't like spending a lot of money so I enjoy figuring out ways to frugally decorate the inside of our house to look festive. Both of these things the kids have loved to help us with. Some of our other fun holiday things we do is go to the holiday parade in our town, I have a Christmas recital for my music students. When we are getting ready for that we have a lot of Christmas carols being played at our house. We also enjoy writing a Christmas letter to send out to friends and family. This year I was able to get cheap pictures developed so we are planning on sending a family photo out as well. We enjoy being able to share our news with our friends and enjoy getting letters from them too, to learn what has been going on with them.
We do exchange gifts but we limit them. We have chosen to hang up stockings and everything is required to fit inside. That has been a fun challenge for us. I like to make a lot of homemade stuff and we also shop sales, so the amount we spend is very little. I encourage the kids to make homemade gifts as well and give assistance as needed. They have loved making things for each other and for Ken and I as well. It is fun for all of us to think about what the other would like and what we can do for them. I have been very pleased because the kids rarely speak of what they might get, they just like to hold whispered conferences about what they might make for someone else.
We don't exchange gifts beyond our immediate family. With our extended families we give gifts throughout the year and we feel under no pressure at Christmas time. Likewise they do not give us gifts at this time.
We enjoy this day quietly as a family. Usually we will eat a main meal with my family and often some international students. We enjoy playing games or working puzzles. I am still looking for other simple, fun, family oriented traditions that we might add to our holiday. If anybody has ones that they love I would enjoy hearing them.
I hope you too have a wonderful Christmas time (however you celebrate it), without any debt or stress and just lots of love!!