It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

It’s BACK!  With a vengeance I may add.  Is it just me or did the holiday season just hit like a brick wall this year?  The decorations, the commercials, the sales.  This year I feel unprepared.  By now, I’ve usually done about half of my shopping and wrapping is well underway.  However, this year I’m not even close.  So far, only 2 gifts purchased and no wrapping paper in sight.  I had better kick my butt into gear!

As hectic and crazy as it can get around Christmas time, I still love it.  The best part of course, is watching my kids get excited.  Listening to them talk about their lists to Santa, bringing home holiday crafts from school, seeing their faces light up when they spot decorations appearing in the neighbourhood.  It is truly magical!

The big question in my family this year is how much do we budget for Christmas.  In past years, I just tend to buy.  If I see it and can think of someone who will like it, I buy it.  However, having just bought a house, had a wedding and now looking at some other big expenses in the new year, we really need to pinch our pennies this year.  Saying that though, I love to give gifts!  That can definitely make staying on budget difficult.

I want to hear from you – any tips on holiday budgets?  How do you determine how much to spend on your kids & other family/friends?  How about DIY gifts?

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2 thoughts on “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

  1. I think we are on the lower end when it comes to our budget, but I think Christmas is more about family than how much you spend anyways and a holidy is not worth going into debt for. Our budget goes something like this:

    Nieces & nephew (5 of them) = $50 each
    Parents and in-laws = $100 each
    Sister-in-law = $100
    Son = $100
    Daughter =$50 (we’re not cheaping out or showing favourites, but she’s only 9 months old, doesn’t need more stuff and doesn’t really care. We’re just buying a few things for her to open and call her own)
    Husband = $100-$150 depending on what I find for him.

    Even still we are spending quite a bit, but I’ve been good and have been putting money aside all year long to pay for everything.

    Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

  2. In our family, we decided a few years ago that we would focus our gift-giving on the kids in our family. I have 3 sisters and a whack of nephews/nieces – and we got clear that Christmas is really about them. We don’t really need anything. And we’d rather put our $ into making their Christmas really exciting.

    We don’t spend a specific amount on the kids in our family, even our own children. What I have done is be smart about looking for great deals. I put together a list of ideas several months ago and I’ve been to several outlet stores (one where I got Lego sets at 75% off!) and other special sales looking for gifts since September (the Samco & Miko sale is chockerblock full of deals). I think one key is to start early. If you’re stressed about shopping for gifts, you’re more likely to get what’s “easy” and could end up spending a lot more money.

    The other consideration is that I have to send some gifts to the US for family down there. I factor the cost of sending the gifts into my overall “budget” for those nephews – as otherwise it gets really expensive. I also have been smart (or at least I think so) about what I send them. This year they got the Lego sets because they are really light-weight so more cost-effective to mail. When one nephew wanted the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books, I bought them on amazon.com and had them shipped directly to my sister’s house. She’s happy to wrap them for me and it’s a lot cheaper than buying them here (Toronto) and mailing them down.

    The other thing I do is give hand-crafted gifts. This summer I made a lot of different jams. I’ll be tying some up with pretty ribbons and giving them to family friends, teachers, babysitters, and neighbours. I also have a tradition with my sister of giving each other personalized ornaments for each other’s families. This year I found a book of paper-craft ornaments and I’ve been working on doing one for each member of her family. It’s quite easy, and I think it’s lovely to have ornaments on our tree with our names on them – making the tree really feel like ours. My kids also love searching for the ones with their names.

    At the end of the day, we feel that the “Magic of Christmas” is really remarkable as a child. And we’ve found that the more magical we try to make Christmas for the kids, the more we enjoy it too!

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