Sorry, this isn’t a deep, pensive blog post about the holiday season and all the peace that comes on December 25th.
I’m sure if I tried real hard I could squeeze out some elegant words about Christmas peace, but honestly right now I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.
That is to say, the floodgates have been opened and between the beautiful, glittering displays at stores and the red cups at Starbucks and the lists of who we buy presents for adding up and so many meaningful places to send our cash tugging at our heartstrings and the Pandora station already on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”; all these glorious things are threatening to pull Christmas peace out of my finger tips and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.
One of the best ways to experience Peace this season is to be at peace with my finances. So while I am sure I will have some emotional stuff to spew later on as I begin celebrating Thanksgiving and then Advent and then Christmas, right now I need something practical. Stat.
I stumbled upon this gem awhile ago. A downloadable Christmas Budget for moms. First off, don’t be confused. This is NOT that kind of mommy blog. I think I have made myself clear in the past, I am not the organized, craft-pinning, kids’ chore chart kind of mom.
Well, I am in my dreams but not in reality.
So lest you think I made this myself, visit here.
My Christmas Budget sheet. I like that it includes everything from gifts down to baking ingredients, as I am the kind of person that needs everything detailed to help me stay on track, mostly because I lack self discipline.
Money is a big deal for me. Money is a big deal for people who don’t have any. Money is a big deal for people who have a lot of it. Money is a big deal in the bible. Money is a big deal in my heart as I often times believe the lie that more of it will make me happier.
Yet, it doesn’t make me happier. Sometimes, though, the things money can buy make me happy, but isn’t it funny how something that makes me happy can actually lead me away from Peace?
So I put on my Organized Hat and make budgets, specifically a Christmas one. Maybe it will be helpful for you, too.
As I am budgeting, here are some of the decisions I am making (with Jon of course) to guide me and help me stick to what I truly value in the midst of all those beautiful decorations, expensive toy shops, and delicious cookie recipes.
I am always looking for ways to value celebration, without valuing materialism and consumerism and any other such harmful ‘ism’.
1) Our kids get three presents each. Kinda like Jesus. Simple, inexpensive, fun, meaningful – but only three.
2) This year I am only baking two sets of cookies. Gingerbread for ginger bread houses to decorate at home with some friends and my favorite peppermint molasses ones that I hope to share with others so that I don’t gain a million pounds before the New Year. These are so yummy, you should bake them.
3) We can’t make everyone’s Christmas special. Tear. But we can make some difference. I have a hard time saying no to helping others and even though generosity and giving are pretty darn high on the list, we can’t go into debt. This year we didn’t do Angel Tree, but we did do Operation Christmas Child. We will continue talking about where else we want to give and can give as the season continues.
4) Celebrating the season for free (or pretty darn cheap). Advent readings and prayers as a family and individually, lights to celebrate The Light coming into Darkness (that means Winterhaven for you Tucsonans!), singing Christmas Carols, snuggling by fires, attending church, reading the Christmas story from scripture, bringing cookies to neighbors. I’d love other suggestions and traditions!
5) Being thankful. A thankful heart brings far more Christmas cheer than the biggest turkey, the fattest Santa, the most delicious peppermint mocha, the glitziest tree, or the most money spent on presents. Just ask Tiny Tim. This is something I have to decide to do, it doesn’t just happen organically.
6) Enjoy the Extravagance of it all. Alright, so we probably won’t splurge on anything this season, although those Black Friday deals are tempting, but I have been the recipient of The Most Extravagant Gift Ever and I am looking forward to celebrating THAT in excess this year! With you. And cookies.
Happy Holidays, officilaly. 37 more shopping days until Christmas 🙂