It's the most wonderful time of the year! Truly it is! I love Christmas!
We get to celebrate the birth of the Savior!
But, somehow, the Lord Jesus (Who is the real gift!) gets overshadowed by stacks of presents. :(
Followed by stacks of bills in January...
But, it doesn't have to be that way. (Debt is a choice!)
I just wanted to pass along a few holiday tips for you-to help you
stay debt free!
#1-KEEP CHRIST AS THE FOCUS OF CHRISTMAS!
A few ideas for doing this:
- Read the Christmas Story
- Set up a Nativity Scene (I had one especially for my kids when they were little also)
- Bake goods for some lonely neighbors (esp. elderly or single parents)
- Go caroling (either in your neighborhood or a nursing home-choose godly carols)
- Sing carols around the house
- Have kids do secret good deeds for family members (draw names)
- Attend church (esp. the Nativity play and the Contada)
- Make or buy Christmas cards with a spiritual message to send out
- Use and light an advent wreath
#2 KEEP TO A BUDGET
A few ideas:
- Have your plan in writing. Find out how much money you have to spend
- Write down the names of who you need to buy for-allot amounts for each
- Use a small expandable folder for your holiday money (think dollar store)
(Label each section with the person's name-and put the money for that person in it. Only take this with you when you shop-no credit cards. When the money is gone--you stop!) Oh-and put the receipts back in filed by person in case you have a return
#3 GIFT IDEAS
- Play kits-choose a theme such as: Dress-Up, Doctor, Chef, Grocer, Workman etc... Then, go
"shopping" in your closets, garage, thrift store etc.. and round up accessories to make the kit. Depending on your theme, bandanas, jewelry, shoes, boa, painter's cap, tupperware etc...
- Books or books on CD (check amazon.com or auctions as well as the store)
- Piggy Bank (put a few dollars in to start them out)
- Homemade Play Dough and cookie cutters
- Crochet Kit
- Christmas Tree ornament you make or buy (help them start a collection)
- Movie Tickets
- Picture Frame (perhaps filled with a photo you took of the recipient)
- Cell Phone Minutes
- Journal and pen
- Scrapbook supplies
- Board Game
For Adults or a Family:
- Popcorn Bucket filled with movie and candy
- Coupon for Babysitting or Petsitting
- Magazine Subscription
- Basket with pancake mix, syrup (or brownies, muffins etc...)
- Make a Gift in a Jar (instructions are easily found online)
- Make a photobook, calendar, or collage with meaningful pics
- Book (or a basket full of books from a thrift store)
- Gas Gift Card
- Photo Album
- Homemade Cookies or other Baked Goods (best gift ever!)
#4 DECORATING IDEAS
- One of the prettiest and inexpensive items I use for decorating is napkins!
I find red, green, or gold and use them on end tables, under decorations, at the dinner table etc...
- Use your own tree branches (lovely with glitter!) or pine/holly branches
- Dress up dinner napkins with a ribbon tied in a bow and holly or bells
- Have the children make place cards with a Bible verse
- Use Christmas colors in your food -as decorations!
Such as red cherry tomatoes and green broccoli on your veggie plate
- I buy floral bunches at the Dollar Store and cut them up and tuck the flowers on picture frames, mirrors, etc...
- USE WHAT YOU HAVE! If you have red balls of yarn-place them in a basket on a table
- Fill a green mug with candy canes tied with curling ribbon in red and/or green
- I use lots of pinecones (we have pine trees) they look great in baskets-and you can glitter them too!
- Candles always warm up the room (Walmart has great inexpensive candles in holiday scents)
PLAN AHEAD FOR NEXT YEAR!
Start in January-looking for ways all year to save up cash for Christmas...
- Start a Christmas fund in a Mason Jar with your spare change
- Put aside all the money you save with coupons
- Put $5 or $10 a week in your Expandable Coupon file
- Use the money you get back for Rebates
- Pay yourself when you resist an impulse buy
- Use food from your pantry and freezer -put the money you would have spent on groceries
in your Christmas Fund
A great resource is the book Debt-Proof Your Christmas by Mary Hunt
You can get lots of ideas there.
I hope that you and yours have a lovely, debt-free, Christ-centered Christmas!