My mom was the most thoughtful gift giver. Christmas was no exception. It was as if she could read my mind (well into my adulthood) and buy me the exact thing I had been wanting or needing. I never even had to ask for things and she’d continuously amaze me with her ability to just know.
I can guarantee she never paid full price for anything and I can also assure you she didn’t swipe a credit card at the time of purchase.
It’s easy to go overboard and indulge our kids during Christmas time. It is the season of giving after all and adding the fact that we’re moms can equal a big fat credit card bill. One that you cringe to even open at the beginning of the new year.
Amazingly, year after year, my sisters and I would be fascinated by the gifts spilling out from under the tree. It was an event. Our house would overflow with excitement and happiness. And my mom would sit back and take in all the grins and giggles, giving Santa all the credit. She wasn’t gulping at the thought of the debt she piled up. She wasn’t worried about when she’d pay off the bill. It was already paid for… and likely purchased months and months in advance.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that if you’re in debt, it’s because you’re spending outside of your means. Debt carries stress and stress will wreak havoc. Avoid it at all costs.
If you haven’t shopped year long, do it next year. Make a special place in your home and dedicate it to gift giving. A closet, a box in the basement, whatever will do. Don’t wait for last minute scrambling purchases, you’ll end up paying more.
Set a budget and stick to it. Credit cards shouldn’t even be a consideration. Pay for all your holiday gifts with money you’ve put away and planned to spend exclusively on presents. Make a list for everyone on your list with ideas. It’s so much more fun to buy gifts with money you already have set aside. Perfectly stress free.
If you can’t afford to purchase gifts without going into debt you need to get creative. From actually making crafty gifts (Here are hundreds of ideas) to offering your time and everything in between… there are no excuses to put your family in debt.
My fondest memories of the holiday season aren’t at all the presents, but the time I spent with my family.
I couldn’t tell you what I got each Christmas or even a handful of gifts I’ve received as a child.
Sitting in the back seat as my mom spun donuts in the snowy Shopko parking lot after hours, that I remember. The popcorn string we’d make for the tree, and sliding down the hills at the baseball diamond – the kind of hills I would caution any kid or adult to chance, these are the memories I hold deep in my heart.