Do you spend too much at Christmas? I’m talking time, money, and sanity! We definitely do. Even when we try to cut back, it never seems to work out. And while Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, it’s also the busiest. (With back-to-school cutting a close second!)
While I do love Christmas – the visiting, eating, and even the presents – I don’t love the clutter and mess, the frantic rush to get everything done, and then the let down when I didn’t get those cookies baked, or find just the right gift.
Here are a few things I’ve learned to help you save time and money at Christmas:
Buy those school photos: Every year we give out the girls school photos to all our family and friends. It’s an easy gift, and you can pair with the handmade crafts I talk about in the next point below. We also include them in Christmas cards for far away folks that we may not see often. It’s great to share new photos of the girls each year. There are still a few people out there who aren’t on Facebook!
Crafts: Grandparents love this stuff, and it gets the paper clutter down in your home. If you don’t have enough ready-made arts and crafts from school and daycare, you can also buy craft kits and have a fun Saturday afternoon. Making foam ornaments (or whatever) is fun for the kids, and then you can include with those school pictures you already have to give out. (I think I said that already in the first point above.)
Make your own photo cards: Last year I used Canva (no affiliate link, just like them!) and uploaded my own photos. We printed them at a camera store and boom, cards ready to go. We used to make them at a Walmart kiosk, but there is often a lineup and I hate queueing up for that stuff. Honestly, the outcome was not as crisp, but it was quick and easy for us.
Cut back: We are always trying to reduce our clutter, but it’s such a struggle. Then along comes Christmas and BAM! more “stuff”. While I love fun gifts like Pop! dolls and such, we have nowhere to keep them. The kids are even out of room for more toys – of any sort! This year we are going to Florida for March Break, so we told the girls there will be fewer gifts. Our trip is our big gift for everyone. And now that they’re older they understand that. But Santa still has to bring them a few things…
Be specific: When people ask you what you want for Christmas, tell them! This year I’m telling people edible gifts (snack foods, gourmet treats) and a few items of clothing. (I need new “around the house” pants because mine have all developed holes in the last few months!) It’s okay to be specific, and to say you don’t want knick knacks. Come up with a few books, a movie, something you really need around the house – that way you’re ready when some one asks what you’d like.
If possible, go no gifts: This is an amazing option for saving everyone time and money. (I don’t mean for your kids, but other grownup family members, or close friends etc.) Spend more time together. Cook some great meals. Do a cookie swap evening. Getting together over the holidays is more fun when there isn’t a stressful lead up by the need to find the “perfect gift.” My sister and I do this, and it’s great. I really wish I could convince others to go with no gifts as well. Then it would be even easier to save time and money at Christmas!
Tell me your tricks to get your holiday self together without spending your entire bank account, or going completely crazy from being way too busy! Even the tiniest tidbit about how you let the kids wrap gifts without stepping in and helping (by taking over and doing it yourself), and how that totally works for you. I’m ready to be inspired, so hit me up in the comments!
PS – Jump over to my post from last year where I talk about how I survived the holidays. I share a few things I did (and didn’t do) to keep myself sane…