Savoring the Season — & Not Blowing Your Budget
I get a little giddy around this time of year. It’s like one long season of celebrating. There are so many fun things to do during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. We have quite a list of fun traditions that take place during the months of November and December. However, one of my favorite things about celebrating the holidays is bringing my house to life by decorating. I love heading out to the garage and hauling out my holiday bins full of all the decorations and holiday books that I’ve been collecting for over 20 years.
However, these months can also be budget breaking months if I’m not careful. I love walking into stores and discovering new, beautiful items that I’d love to add to my collection. As much as I love celebrating and making the most of this time of year, I also want to be a wise steward with our money. My husband and I really try to be honoring to the Lord with all that we do with our income. Decorating is important to me to add beauty to my home, however, I’ve learned to temper my creative outlet with discipline. Over the years, I’ve found some great ways to savor this wonderful season without blowing my budget.
Wait until just after the holiday to stock up on fun decorations
I have been growing quite an impressive collection of fall and Christmas decorations through the years. However, most of my decorations come from either early seasonal sales or from patiently waiting until just after the holidays to buy items on deep discount. My husband, believe it or not, is allergic to pine trees, so our first Christmas together was a new experience for me. We couldn’t buy a real tree as my family had always done, and artificial trees were way out of our budget. A tree was important to me, so we told our family that we’d like our Christmas gift that year to be money to get an artificial tree. Then we waited until December 26th to go out and get our first official family Christmas tree — at 50% off! Our patience paid off. Now, don’t worry, we did have a “tree” for our first Christmas as a married couple. I wired some hangers together to create a cone-shaped structure, then wrapped garland around it. Viola! A table top Christmas tree. We had been given a little box of Christmas decorations as a wedding gift, so we used those on our little tree. What’s fun is that my creative first tree still stands and comes out every year for our kids to enjoy.
Decorate with what you have
It’s amazing how easy it is to use things you already have to decorate. Bring in some colorful fall leaves or greenery from outside and create a pretty centerpiece with candles you already own. My favorite decorating tip is using books. I love books. I store away our seasonal books along with all our decorations each year to keep them special. The kids get so excited when I pull them out. However, as far as decorating goes, I place them all throughout the house. They have a starring role on my mantle along with some candles and other fun, little trinkets. I also use smaller books to add some dimension to my table’s centerpiece, as well as on bathroom and kitchen counters. I do this for every holiday. When I’m picking the books to use, for my mantle in particular, I try to pick five books of varying heights. The tallest one goes in the center, and the smaller ones are spaced out to the sides. I put candles in between each book and add some fall leaves or twinkle light garland to make it pop.
Simplify your traditions
Beyond budgeting for your finances, budget for your time and sanity. We try to pick out which of our fun traditions we’ll plan to do for the month. I have far too many to do all in one year. I’ve tried, and I was a mess. I was so exhausted and not able to really enjoy them all. So, we go with the ones that all the kids get excited about. I throw in one or two surprises, too. One tradition we don’t do every year, but really love, is sleeping under the newly lit Christmas tree. We pull sleeping bags out and camp out in our family room for the night. Okay I’ll admit that I sneak upstairs and sleep in my bed once everyone is asleep, then I come back down early to start making pancakes.
Plan for fun meals at home
Eating out is often a tradition that many families enjoy at various holidays. However, that can get expensive depending on where you go and how large your family is. I have a special holiday section in my recipe binder. These are recipes I make just at the holidays. Of course, large meals at the holidays take some extra planning, but they are always so worth it. I love getting my kids involved with the holiday baking and cooking. It may slow things down a little, but we sure do have a lot of fun — even if I have to re-measure the flour a few times.
Fun little side note: I have a brand new meal planning course coming out at the end of the month, along with a free holiday meal planner. You can check it out HERE, if you are interested in learning more. I’m even being interviewed live on Costco’s Facebook page on Nov. 30th to talk about it. Yay!
Take time to savor the holiday season. Enjoy it by slowing down, simplifying, and doing things that create togetherness. You don’t have to break the bank to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas!
Blessings and joy,
P.S. I have an entire chapter on adding fun to your family time in my free book, Sanity Savers for Moms. My traditions planner printable is in there, too. Please feel free to check it out HERE. I also have some really fun giveaways going on the entire month of November with my special Simply Joyful Podcast sponsor. Be sure to check it out HERE.
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