Christmas on a Smart Budget….

She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. Proverbs 31: 16-18
By Floralba Marrero
Author and blogger of Momsquire
Christmas is a joyous celebration of the life of Christ and the ultimate gift that has been bestowed upon us. It is a time of cheer, of gatherings, of exchanges, and a time of stress for many. I write this because the spending frenzy that goes on during the holidays leaves many crippled financially for months after. I can tend to fall into that category of spending to please others if I don’t refrain from ‘guilt’ purchases, as I call them. Guilt purchases are those that are done because you ‘should’, not because you truly want to. I have had to learn through the years after many errors and overspending, to focus on the true meaning of the season. When I lived in Puerto Rico my extended family was far away, so our friends would gather with us on Christmas morning for brunch and we had agreed beforehand that we would only give to the children – adults would not exchange. This worked extremely well. Now that I live in South Florida my sisters and I made the same agreement – gifts for the children; a money saver. Think about it, at this stage of our lives, what else do we truly need?
This is only one tactic that I use for Christmas gifting. Another one is gifting jewelry that I myself create. I am a beader, so I have supplies and semiprecious gemstones already in stock. I gift jewelry to some, and this is very meaningful for those on the receiving end because it was made with them in mind. I gift books to some, homemade cookies to others, and have food gatherings to celebrate. The gatherings are pot lucks, each is assigned a dish or dessert; these strategies make life easier for everyone and keeps stress to a minimum. 
At work I like to cook and bring in dishes to share, give away wonderful books that my colleagues will appreciate (from my own library), and just spend some time with the special people that have made my life and work at the university a fruitful experience.
So there you have it, my own strategies for saving money during the holidays. There is also another special thing we do at our home, we don’t overspend with our own children and this helps them to understand that Christmas is about Christ, not about them. We try to give them a gift that is useful to them and provides benefit in one way or another. We involve them in the process (yes, I’m a bad mommy and told them that Santa is not real – I’ll never live this down and yes they don’t ruin it for anyone else so don’t worry) and this for us becomes a win win. I hope this helps!
Have a blessed holiday and remember to keep Christ at the center of it all and always remember to Just Breathe!
Reflection Corner:
  1. Have you ever overspent at Christmas time.  Why do you think that is?
  2. Evaluate your Christmas gift list and set some spending limits that are comfortable to your budget.
  3. Look for someone that has less than you and consider doing something special for them.  It doesn’t have to be costly, just thoughtful.

One thought on “Christmas on a Smart Budget….

  1. NORosario

    Aye Flor…being a mommy, what a wonderful challenge. Sofia still thinks it is Santa but was so glad when my son explained to Maya that it was not about that at all!!!! We too keep it simple, focusing on the gifts they have been given from God and how they can give it back to them. We gave them a decorated box once and we told them it was a present for Jesus and in it we would put what we wanted to give Him. Each one of our family members became creative in putting down a talent or a desire. My daughter said she wanted to dance more before God so she would give Him her legs to dance. It was a special moment indeed. Thanks for sharing your personal side of your Christmas traditions. I am blessed to have add you to my list of friends this year, it is I consider, a gift!

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