Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Minimalist Christmas: The $100 Christmas Challenge

Photo from A Modern Minimalist's Christmas

Now that summer is coming to an end, I have thought some about Christmas and what I am going to do this year.  I would really like to cut back the amount I do and spend in an effort to make the holiday more meaningful.  I have had my years of buying lots of gifts to put under the tree.  I am not trying to be a scrooge, but I would like the focus to be on doing things as a family and doing things for others instead and not have the gifts be a big part of it.  Last year, we asked out kids to do something nice for someone else in need and write and tell us about it in a letter for our Christmas gift.  My husband and I really enjoyed reading the letters and will probably ask for the same thing this year.  It meant much more than any gift we could open. 

Photo from Minimalist Christmas Tree Pictures

 Above 3 Photos from 2011 Living Room Decoration Ideas for Christmas

I plan to cull back the Christmas decorations again this year and maybe get a few new ones on sale to have a little bit different look or I may just save the money and use what I have in a different way.  I will also set out a Nativity set with a few candles and decorations on a table in the living room and maybe add a few colored pillows to spruce it up.  I will arrange a centerpiece for our kitchen table.  Other than that, I don't plan on doing much. 

Photo from Cayman Home Appliances

As for gifts, I plan to try spending $100 out of pocket.  Before you think I am crazy, I will also get a couple of things through rewards from our credit cards, sell a few things to second hand stores for a little more money, or write an article or two for some extra cash.  Getting rid of stuff and having the proceeds go to pay for something I want seems like a good idea in my book!.  I don't do Swagbucks or anything else like that, but if you do you could get some gifts for free that way.  People who coupon could get lots of body wash, shampoo and other personal care items for free or next to nothing and make a nice basket to give as a gift.  Those who are motivated could get free samples of things and save them for Christmas to use in stockings or for making a gift basket.  By thinking about Christmas ahead of time, it gives you the time you need to think of ways to save money and still give nice gifts.  It is still garage sale season if people want to get things for great prices to give as gifts.  I haven't given used gifts in the past, so I am not sure about doing that, but I may give a used item if it is something I find that I know they will enjoy.  Maybe you have an heirloom item you could pass on to your kids now.  Maybe you could make copies of your favorite recipes, bind them, and give them as a gift.  I plan to make jam to give to a couple of people I know who really enjoy it.  You could also make treats or breads or give theme baskets.  There are so many things you can do if you plan ahead.  
Photos from Excellent White Sweet Christmas Tree Pictures

For those of you who live in an apartment, you can always do a table top tree instead of a big one on the floor.  If you don't have a lot of money, maybe  these ideas for Christmas trees will get your creativity flowing.  There is no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas.  It doesn't matter what anyone else does.  You figure out what you can do on your budget and the things you enjoy doing and tailor the holiday to suite you.  As long as you are with friends and family, or take the opportunity to help others, nothing else really matters in my mind! 

 Have you ever done a Christmas where you only spent $100 on gifts?  What are some things you did to make your money stretch?  Would you like to join me and have a nice Christmas and try to spend only $100 out of pocket on gifts? (in addition to any freebies through rewards or selling things we already have)

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