Family tradition of dressing up in wrapping paper, my sisters and my family but no son A because he thought it was dumb ;)
I know, I know its only October and we shouldn't be thinking about Christmas already... but I thought I would share some thoughts before you get in over your head in wrapping paper and forget about me (I know you would never forget about me, I am just too lovable!)
I thought I would share some of the things that we do in our house to relieve the financial pressure that Christmas can create. Don't worry I am not going to tell you to make your own presents or forget gifts all together (I am not against either of these ideas and do use them to some degree), I am just not telling you to do that today.
My first stop in the gifting process is always my bank account, I refuse to get in to debt for plastic junk or a gadget that will be tomorrows recycling. Create a budget for Christmas spending, calculate an amount that you can safely spend without breaking out the credit card. Than list out all the people you need to buy for and a separate list for people you want to buy for. Divide the money between the people on your need list and than begin brainstorming ideas! Figure out what you want to get everyone now, so when you see a great deal you can pick it up! If you have money left over or can find ( or even make) a small gift for the want list than go for it, otherwise a personalized card is always a great way to say I am thinking of you!
We stick to a fairly small budget, but I make sure every penny counts! I think a small gift that you put thought into is better than a large gift card. There are so many homemade items for sale now, that you can find something for practically everyone, and as Christmas nears they will certainly be doing specials to draw in the Christmas shoppers. How about a reusable lunch bag for a child, bows for a little girl or apron for the chef of the family? I find I can get much more thoughtfulness for my dollar in homemade stuff, than to buy a generic piece of plastic.
People love gifts because it shows you were thinking of them, so keep that in mind and don't stress about the quantity, just the quality. Another thing you could do would be an experience, for example, my sister took our family to the aquarium and we made lots of great memories that will last longer than anything else. Plus this could be potentially less expensive for a large family.
For our small Christmas we stick to one present for each kid, for two reasons, one they don't really need anything and two we want to teach them from a young age that Christmas is not about presents. I am not a killjoy and we may up the ante as they get older but for now one present is good enough. Plus they still like the wrapping paper better than the actual present.
To summarize: Budget, Plan, Buy, Relax, and Enjoy.
Focus on the spirit of Christmas rather than creating a too large credit card bill.