Here it is again. The most wonderful time of the year. Everything is red, white, green, gold, even pink and blue. One can fill their whole phone with saved pictures from the web of rooms filled with the most beautiful decor. From Dr. Seuss Christmas to the glam girl pink Candy Land themed rooms. This season is easily the best time for any company to make its biggest sales out of the year.
And here we are, faced with so many material temptations. Christmas has a way of making anything seem like an amazing gift to have and add to your own life, especially with how everything is lit up in the stores.
Wrapped in themed colors, beautiful shiny boxes, and it’s all “on sale”, too. It’s the time of the year where we may find ourselves tempted to just make that extra purchase just because… It’s the end of a wonderful or wretched year, so we all may feel we deserve it after all.
So here are a few solutions our family has found to try and stay sane.
1. Make a strict budget for how much you plan to spend.
I’m sure nobody wants any long term damage for a temporary moment of joy. So my number one priority is to come up with an action plan before opening my wallet, especially during the holiday season where we might feel tempted to spend a little extra just to show that extra kindness. I try to remind myself that in all reality, this is just the feeling instilled in us by modern marketing. To show love doesn’t mean we need to give more material possessions.
2. Resist impulse buying
Buy something if it’s truly on sale and if you already were planning on buying it all along. Maybe you waited for a long time to buy something on your dream list. If so, this can be the perfect time to click the purchase button on your favorite item.
Otherwise, I try during this time of the year to just take the time to think deeply about my purchases when in stores. Unless it is something I knew I needed for our family, I take a step back and maybe look at the beautifully wrapped gifts for almost everything in the store, then keep walking and stick to what I had planned all along.
3. Decide how many presents you plan on buying ahead of time.
At our home, for example, we have always decided we would do 3 presents each. We personally have Christian beliefs, and I remember hearing from one of my friends that she liked to do 3 presents for her children just like the three wise men brought 3 presents to Jesus Christ. I immediately fell in love with that idea and I have picked it up myself for our own family ever since.
Every year we tell our kids to pick their 3 favorite things. They have never once have complained about the number. They actually often struggle to find 3 things. We often try and make sure that one of the items is something to read. So we will often choose some of their favorite book collections so they can have enough books for a while and get educated.
4. Remember the reason for the season.
This time of the year in the Christian religion is meant to be a time of love and service to others. Whether you are religious or not, giving gifts is a beautiful way to show kindness, but it is not the only way. The true spirit of a Christmas comes from sharing, service, and love of others.
5. Don’t think that the pompous decor is what will make it Christmas.
I grew up in Italy. We had a good life, but money was always a bit tight. We owned the same Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. We had 2 sets of lights that flickered. I often remember my dad trying to fix them multiple times over the years as we pulled them out of the box after being tucked away for 11 months. He would always get the job done even if it meant spending hours in his garage trying to figure out which light or wire broke.
We had 2 string of lights as well for outside our home. Every year we would find different spots to place them. We then had one nativity which we would decorate sometimes with real moss from the street and tin foil to make a river.
6. Remind yourself that all of the decorations you buy now, you will store for the next 11 months.
I have seen Halloween Christmas trees decorated in October, or even Easter trees still left out from 4 months prior. But most people, by January 1st, have made out their resolutions and are ready to move on with their decor. Storing so many things, not only can make the house feel cramped after a while, but many people eventually feel ready to move on from having the extra decor laying around.
Because you know that this Christmas too shall pass, try and resist the temptation to buy so many things to decorate. Remember that starting January, those companies will have moved on to Valentine’s Day already, and you may not want to constantly stare at the extra boxes of Christmas decor stacked away in your home.
Christmas is truly such a wonderful time for me. I too feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins as I visit homes, stores, online pages. Every cover seems to have chosen the red theme. Not to mention, websites now even promote red furniture and household linens of every sort as a way to celebrate Christmas. And I personally love it all.
Just remember that it’s only a short time of the year. And that it’s not worth taking all those things with you year-round. Christmas was meant to be a time of service and love and I hope you can find joy by always remembering the true reason for the season.
About the Author: Serena Essuman is an Italian born mom currently living in Utah with her husband and 4 children. She and her family are passionate about travel, healthy eating, fashion, exercise, and whatever else might come their way in life. Find out more about her at lifeandlemons.com.