Alright. It’s here. The Christmas holiday season. If you haven’t already been jamming out to Christmas music and decorating, then you’re behind. 😉
Just Kidding. You are perfectly fine to celebrate your holidays one at a time like we all used to do… but let’s not judge the rest of us who needed Christmas spirit a little early… mmkay?
So if you’re not ready to talk Christmas, it’s perfectly fine to come back and read this later, but you all know – I’m a planner. Christmas has been on my mind for months. Christmas shopping began MONTHS ago. I’m not completely finished, but let me just say that I’m so glad I do it this way.
Here are some things that have changed the past few years of doing Christmas purposefully for us…
Two years ago was the first Christmas we actually set a Christmas Budget… Well, actually it was less of a budget and more of just tracking what we actually spent on things. That’s always a good first step anyway. We’ve always had a pretty minimal Christmas, just because it’s what our income allows. So, for that year, we just cash flowed our Christmas in with our regular budget and made it work somehow. I’m pretty sure we still had a credit card bill to pay off in January.
Last year, we actually did have a Christmas Budget. We sold a vehicle, so Justin gave me the $1,000 to use for Christmas. It was so freeing to know that I could spend money on gifts and things we needed and it wasn’t digging in to our household budget. And we didn’t have a credit card bill to pay off in January this year. Praise the Lord.
This is the year we got smart. Having an actual Christmas Budget was NICE! I knew I wanted to repeat that experience…. but we had to have a plan to make it happen.
I’ve been learning about Sinking Funds for a few years, but we didn’t have the “extra” in our budget to allow for it in the past. God has just always provided for everything we have ever needed, and we are not lacking. But this is the year we did start a Christmas Sinking Fund. Each month I set up an automatic transfer of $100, and when I started Christmas shopping a few months ago, I had a Fund to pull from. I just kept track of everything, and would transfer the amount spent back into our checking account so it was simple enough to do.
Just like last year, I’ll share with you what our kids are getting for Christmas, if you promise not to tell them.
We want it to be a surprise for them, of course. 😉
Lawson, age 8
Linkin, age 6
Tobots Integration Toys – paid $30 and $50
Wild Kratts Game $15
Layten, age 4
Lyndon, age 2
Roller Coaster Ride-On Toy – Paid $99 at Sam’s Club
Finley, our Aussie-Doodle (He’ll be 9 months at Christmas)
He’ll also get some of his favorite, filled bones… but I couldn’t find them on Amazon to share with you.
Stocking Stuffer Ideas
I haven’t bought these things yet, but these are some of the ideas that I have. This year we do have a few little things I’m adding in that go along with our Little House on the Prairie Read Aloud this year… so each child will get a peppermint stick, a heart shaped cake (I might make these myself), a tin cup (We’ll do a new water bottle instead since my kids need these anyway), and a penny and maybe a quarter or a dollar if we’re feeling generous ;).
I also like to do a few small fun things, something that feels like a small “present”, a book from their current series, something they need (toothbrushes), and they’ll probably get new underwear too which I won’t post here. I also like to buy a couple boxes of a few of their favorite treats that we don’t always have and divide them up among each of them. It’s usually cheaper to do that instead of buying individual treats for each of them.
I’m trying to decide on a good toddler book for Lyndon if you have any recommendations for that.
How are your being purposeful with Christmas this year, and what’s on your kids’ wish lists? What’s on YOUR wish list? I’d love to know!