The holiday season is such an exciting time!
For most this means cookies, cakes, and pies, amazing meals with family and friends, time off work to celebrate, and of course presents!
Little miss has just recently discovered how amazing presents are because of our non-traditional advent calendar.
Maybe you’ve seen it floating around on Facebook, but that principle is that instead of chocolates, or an ornament each day, we’re doing 25 days of books, all wrapped up for her to open one each day!
These books aren’t new – we actually just wrapped up 25 books that were already on her bookshelf – but her excitement at opening a present each day is amazing to watch!
Come Christmas, she might think that the only thing that lies behind the wrapping paper on her gifts are books, but that’s ok with me, because everyone knows how important it is to teach your children to love reading!
The 25 Days of Books tradition is one that we started with out daughter becuase we wanted to take the emphasis off of receiving presents and spending money. Instead, we wanted to move the focus towards spending quality time with family, making memories, and giving of our time and talents not just during the holidays, but year round.
As she gets older, we’ll teach her the principles we’ve decided to abide by for Christmas, but for now, I’m sharing them with you, so that Christmas can stay on budget and on topic for my family and yours!
Kids Won’t Remember The Gifts. They Will Remember You
We’ve been adhering to this cute little saying that I found a couple of year ago when it comes to gifts:
“One Thing They Want
One Things They Need
One Thing to Wear
One Thing to Read.”
I’m all for giving presents – frivolous presents, even – but there is nothing wrong with giving kids gifts that are practical, or that will stir up a love of reading, which will benefit them much futher down the road.
In 10 years, possibly even by next Christmas, your kids will have forgotten what gifts you got them.
What they will remember is how they felt, if you had meaningful traditions, and if you spent quality time with them.
It’s ok to scale back on gifts – that doesn’t mean you love them any less.
A Strict Budget is Ok
Spending thousands on Christmas doesn’t equal love, and therefore, by extension, setting a budget for Christmas gifts doesn’t mean that you love your kids less.
Your kids will never know (or care) what exactly you paid for gifts, so if your budget is running tight, it is better to buy one great gift that they will use for years, then to blow it on a gift that they thought they “had to have” but will forget about after a week or two.
Or, you might be in that delightful stage where the kids are more interested in the boxes the gifts came in than the gifts themselves, so remind yourself of that when setting a budget and shopping.
Save Year Round
By far the best way I’ve found to save smartly during Christmas is to actually save year round.
Personally, I love having savings accounts for tons of different categories through Capital One 360’s flexible savings accounts, which have no fees, no minimums, and great interest rates. I use the Automatic Saving Plan to save in each of our holiday savings categories every month:
- Matt’s Gifts
- Gretchen’s Gifts
- Jessica’s Gifts
- Family Gifts
- Holiday Travel
- Holiday Meal
Then, I use the “My Savings Goals” tool to track my progress and stay motivated to save consistently year round as well as any “found” money.
Money builds up year round, so we can shop year round an stick to that strict budget!
Shop Year Round
The best way to save and spend smartly during Christmas is to ….. not.
That’s right, the best way is to snap up the best deals year round as you happen upon them.
Keep a running list of wants/needs and if something on that list pops up at an unbeatable price, then you’ll have a slush fund of money to use for Christmas presents.
You can spend this money without feeling guilty or taking from another budget line because it is already there, ready and waiting, allocated for Christmas gifts.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a budget buster.
We firmly believe in giving, especially to friends and family during the holidays, but in order to reach our financial goals, we have to do so on a budget, which is why I love using Capital One 360’s savings accounts year round to use Christmas as an opportunity to save smartly!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
*This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosures for more information.
Very Erin says
Saving all year is the BEST tip! Dave and I have a savings account that automatically has $50 deposited from our checking account every two weeks. It’s a small enough amount that we don’t notice it leaving our checking account, but adds up enough that by the end of the year, we have MORE than enough for Christmas shopping! And it seems like we get a free Christmas!
Yes! I’ve been known to breath a sigh of relief come January, thankful that the crazy buying season is over. But, when I put on my “big girl panties” and start saving for the next Christmas we’re setting ourselves up for success!
Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada says
I think the most important thing is making and sticking to a strict budget and not going overboard on giving gifts. I think you’re totally right that buying tons of stuff for kids does not equal your love for them!
I love your idea of wrapping 25 books you already own and then having your little one unwrap one a day. What a really fun and sweet way to celebrate Advent and count down until Christmas