I had so many things I could have written on this morning, but the one that is the most time sensitive is this... Christmastime is right around the corner... are you prepared?
Call me crazy, but I love everything about Christmas - the reason we celebrate it, the special time spent with family, the yummy food and the giving of gifts. If you're not careful, though, getting gifts for everyone you love can get quite costly. Since Christmas comes at a time of year when the weather is cool and the heating bills can be high and travel expenses can add up, buying all the gifts at the last minute, or even just in the month of December, can be a bit more than a modest budget can handle. So, how can we be generous to the people we love without breaking the bank?
Think ahead! You may think I'm off my rocker, but we're not even at mid-November yet and most of my Christmas gifts have either been thought through (meaning: I know what who is getting...) if not already purchased. In fact, I started buying gifts toward the end of October. Some gifts are even in their "final" phases of packaging. This makes gift-giving affordable.
Now, if you either like to be creative or are looking for ways to cut the cost of gift-giving, think about making your own gifts. While this can trim your costs by quite a bit, the quality of the gifts can be just as nice as the store-bought variety, possibly even nicer. Not to mention, there is thought put into handmade gifts. :)
There is one more facet to gift-giving that I would encourage you each to consider. Think practical and don't give dust-collectors. While sentimentality is okay, I feel I am always fighting the battle against clutter and with 4 people (including 2 under age 2) in a 2 bedroom, 1400 sq. foot house, we are in no need of impractical items. We have more toys and random kid things than we have space for! I am continually trying to throw things out or give things away (usually to Goodwill or the Rescue Mission). As a result, I do not want to receive impractical items and therefore I will not give impractical items.
"What are some examples?", you might ask? Think daily use, think consumable. Beyond that, no suggestions... Santa can't let all his tricks out of the bag, right? :)
One more thing... with the Christmas season drawing near, look around your house. Find things that are still in prefectly good shape, but things you never use - that shirt you've had since high school that you haven't worn since high school, that vase someone gave you for a wedding gift that you love, but have never used, those cds sitting on the shelf that you haven't listened to in over a year... you get the idea. Just go grab them without thinking twice, toss them into a trash bag and throw it in the trunk of your car until the next time you go past the nearest Goodwill. If your tossed items aren't safe from your sentimentality, go ahead and go to Goodwill before you have a chance to think twice.
Trust me, you won't miss the donated items and someone else may be blessed by them.
Not to mention, you'll feel refreshed by that extra space in your closet, or on your shelf or wherever.