It seems like everywhere I look these days, there are heavy debates, discouraging stories, and depressing news. Does anyone else feel exhausted just thinking about it all?? I wanted to make sure I kept this post lighthearted. So, I have a question for you all…
Are you an early-starter, after-Thanksgivinger, or last minuter?
I’m an early-starter. My Christmas shopping began months ago, just a little at a time. I’d like to share my 4 top reasons for my early-starter approach to Christmas shopping.
1. It’s easier on the budget. One of the most common sources of arguments in a marriage is money. While it’s possible that some of you readers may not need to worry about how much you spend on Christmas presents, most of us do. It’s easier to budget a little each month than it is to wait until the last minute and try to pull together the extra money (but if you don’t do your shopping early, you can still begin saving a little each month for Christmas!). Besides, last minute purchases often cost much more than planned ones!
2. It allows me to spend more time thinking of gifts that will (hopefully) really fit the recipients, rather than just buying something “good enough” to meet the gift-giving requirement of the season. WHY do you really buy gifts for Christmas, anyway? If you wait until the last minute and just try to get it in, it can be easy to forget the purpose! We are celebrating the gift of Love to earth in the form of a sweet baby named Jesus who grew up to save the world!
3. It’s less stressful than putting it off. The holiday stress of planning and errands can easily put a lot of stress on a marriage and family relationships. Starting early and spreading it out can reduce stress potential.
4. I just enjoy it! I love Christmas, and I enjoy looking for or making gifts for other people. Starting early lets me have time to do that, and can be a welcome distraction when I’m needing one. It’s refreshing to think about others when I’m stressed!
To go a step further, I’d like to discuss some Christmas gifting/shopping ideas!
2. Check out www.1saleaday.com … they have a new sale each day (but I guess the website address kinda tells you that, right?)
3. Mix up the dry ingredients for the BEST brownie recipe I’ve ever tried and gift it to your neighbors with the recipe!
4. Search www.pinterest.com for fun, new DIY Christmas ideas.
5. Start a tradition to buy or make an ornament for family members each year.
6. If you’re crafty, check out www.craftgawker.com for lots of creative ideas!
7. Make an audio book cd with free stories from www.storynory.com
8. Make ice candles! It’s fun and they’re pretty.
9. The Canvas People usually have a free 8×10 photo canvas (pay s/h only) or discount on larger sizes (I’ve purchased 2 from them and have been very pleased).
10. Try starting a hand-made only tradition or $10 limit on gift exchanges with family/friends. My family and I decided on hand-made gifts only some years and really enjoyed it. It encourages creativity and can help with the budget (see #s 4, 6, 7, 8…).
What ideas do you all have for reducing holiday stress on your marriage and family this year??
Keri Kitchen is a devoted wife and mother, blogger, licensed mental health counselor, and founder of The Carys Rainn Foundation. To read more about what God is doing in her life, visit her blog at www.aftertherainn.com