Keeping things simple over the Christmas rush is easier said than done! Most of us want simplicity, but it's the how to fit simple in among expectations of our kids, family, our friends and ourselves!
Tip 1 Conversation
Let the family know you would like to simplify the Christmas hustle. Invite their thoughts on what that looks like as a family. Bring the ideas in gently. If your kids are used to getting tons of pressies, start the shift towards simple bit by bit each year. Our purpose here is not it freak everyone out! I remember well the petition that the kids all signed when I decided no more Christmas Stockings. P.s, their petition did not bring back the stockings.
Once you have come up with a plan, let your extended family and your friends know. Share the joy!
Tip 2 Imagination
Have fun planning what a less consumerist Christmas might look like. It is awesome what kids come up with if given a chance. We can still give presents and share the love without crashing the budget each year. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, Christmas day is just one day in a longer summer break. How can the budget stretch to cover the whole summer break? It is okay to include our children in budget discussions.
Tip 3 Inclusion
Now you have got everyone on board, come up with some ideas around how family traditions could look a little different this year. Release our hold on what the media tell us Christmas should look and know each of our families are unique. Use the quirks unique to you and yours to put your own spin on the big day.
Tip 4: Time
Change takes time. It might take a while for everyone to get on board with the new Christmas look at your house. That's okay. Be open for adjustments to occur as the years go by. It did not go too well with the kids at first, when we first bought in one secret Santa present instead of pressies for everyone at the big family gathering. But now they all get into it and it's a lot of fun seeing who can come up with the best gift within the given price range.
Tip 5: Be gentle
Our self can really get in the way. We might feel a need to replicate or better the Christmas we had as children. We might get caught up in all the Christmas hype, again. If we can make some moves away from the crazy consumerism the day has become it will put less strain on the rest of the financials. It is a day to create memories and traditions, let's show our children how to be less stressed and more creative.
Create a price limit for gifts, say not to plastic toys, remove Christmas stockings, have a shared Christmas meal with everyone bringing an assigned dish, invite non family members, bring a gift of a song, poem, piece of music or skit to share, bring one secret Santa gift rather than presents for everyone.
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