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A Frugal (and cheap) Holiday Season

November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving is next week.  Oh boy.  Usually that means a lot of hustle and bustle, driving all over the place trying to get the “just right” item for whatever perfect image of the family gathering is running through your head.  Not this year.  This year, I’m not doing anything.  I’m driving over to my mother in law’s, spouse, and three kids in tow with only napkin rings and placemats in hand.  What?  Napkin rings and placemats?  Really?

Yes.  That’s it.  As part of our homeschooling program, we’re learning about the Thanksgiving holiday, and guess what, those Pilgrims were broke and barely surviving like so many families today.  When I thought about the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner this year and the associated hassle, I decided that my sanity and my newborn’s happiness and ability to nurse as needed were more important.  Sure, I could try to impress the extended family with a lovely sit down dinner, but why?  Now, onto those napkin rings and placemats.  The children really enjoyed making them.  They are turkeys!  I cut a 1 inch band off of a paper towel tube  and the kids made and glued turkeys on them.  Same goes for the placemats.

For so many families, this Christmas will be very difficult to persevere through let alone thoroughly enjoy given people’s high expectations of a lavishly decorated home with a tree overflowing with gifts.  This year, as we did last year, we are focusing on the truly meaningful activities that we can do and enjoy as a family (and with extended family) that bring the most glory to God and warmth to our spirits.

  1. We’re opting out of the spending cycle.  This is a painful one.  So many people equate gift cost with how much we love them that it is extraordinarily difficult to hand them a lovingly made or thought out gift only to be made to feel guilty for our efforts.  This year, I have a case of fruit tea samplers, printed small recipe books of my own favorite recipes,  and will be making mini loaves of my quick bread and pans of cinnamon rolls to give.  Please remember that when faced with an ungracious recipient of your lovingly made or not as costly as expected gifts that the cost of a gift should never be a burden to the giver (You should not incur debts you cannot afford to make others happy!).  As our families are so very generous with the children, we’re buying each child one gift that they really want (our eldest chose a ballet bag to carry her ballet stuff to and from performances and classes, our middle child will probably choose a Matchbox car).  We aren’t exchanging gifts between husband and wife.
  2. We’re continuing on our path of finding spiritually meaningful traditions to share with our children.  Last year, our eldest chose an Advent wreath and we nightly recited the prayers and lit the wreath.  We also instituted a stocking for Jesus, filled with slips of paper with the children’s good deeds written on them.  This year though I think we will write the good deeds on slips of paper that will fill the cradle of the nativity scene so that Jesus can rest as comfortably as possible on the children’s good deeds.  The Jesse tree is also an excellent activity and the children can color and attach the various symbols to a branch they find in the yard.  Our parish offers a family advent morning, which we will be attending.
  3. Christmas cards.  I found Christmas cards at the Dollar Store months ago.  These Christmas cards allow you to place a picture in the front and then the inside is blank to allow you to write your own message.  I am fortunate in having received a tripod for Christmas last year which allows me to take our own family portraits.  I then print our pictures through Snapfish and pick them up at our local Walgreen’s.  Snapfish is a Upromise partner, so we receive a rebate in our kids’ college fund account for printing pictures with them.  (Win!)
  4. We’re trying to scrape together extra cash to give at the holiday offeratory.
  5. We’ll be gathering together all of the items in the house we’re not using or that are forlorn and donating them to Saint Vincent de Paul’s charity store which assists those that are in need.

Advent is coming!  Prepare!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 6:21 am

    hello I was luck to look for your blog in wordpress
    your Topics is outstanding
    I get a lot in your theme really thank your very much
    btw the theme of you blog is really quality
    where can find it

    • dachshundqueen permalink*
      November 22, 2010 8:30 am

      Vigilance by The Theme Foundry

  2. November 29, 2010 3:21 pm

    one can argue that it can go both ways

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