This time of year is wonderful.  I love seeing the decorated houses and streets, watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate.  It’s also the time of year when you might be expected to decorate your own home and buy gifts for your loved ones.  While enjoying all that the holidays bring I often end up forgetting about our budget and end up going for the “quantity over quality” approach for gift giving.  I’m also guilty of creating a very long Christmas list for myself with plenty of items that I don’t really need.

My husband and I took some time to reflect on these habits of ours that come out at this time of year, and think about things we could do differently to make Christmas more meaningful for us.  Here are some things that we came up with:

  • Put a limit on how much you spend on gifts for each other.
  • Make one gift for each other (this should be entertaining).
  • Pick out more thoughtful gifts for family and friends (quality over quantity).
  • Shop early and take advantage of online deals.
  • Make a shopping list for gifts and stick to it (I find it’s easier to stick to my list when I shop online).
  • When making a Christmas list for yourself, only include things that will really add value to your life.
  • Only put out Christmas decorations that you absolutely love.
  • If you want new decorations, wait to buy them until after Christmas, when they go on sale.

As far as decorating our home this year, we have stuck to only putting out the decorations that we really enjoy, and this has really made a difference!  I no longer feel like our home is being taken over by decorations, and I find it comforting that everything we have put out around the house has meaning to us.  Not to mention that with using less, also comes less stress!  Taking everything out and putting it away is an easy process.

Some people might think that setting these kinds of expectations for the holidays is ridiculous, or makes Christmas less exciting.  And to each their own.  But for us I believe it’s only brought positive results: we have had more free time on the weeknights and weekends, we’re spending more time thinking about giving, and we’re not stressing out about finances.