Saturday, October 24, 2020

$100 Christmas: Introduction


 “Remember, if Christmas isn’t found in your heart, you won’t find it under a tree”

                                                                   Charlotte Carpenter

 If you are watching this video, there is a reason you were drawn to it.  Maybe you feel like Christmas has become too materialistic and you want to scale back, Maybe you are struggling financially and feel discouraged or overwhelmed about Christmas this year, or maybe you are just curious about how anyone could have a great Christmas on a tight budget.  It doesn’t really matter what the reason is, this video series was made to share ideas to help others realize that having a great Christmas is possible without having to spend a lot of money.  

Christmas is a great time of year when people seem to be happier, kinder and more generous to others.  But, Sometimes it feels overwhelming and frankly you may feel like you want to skip all of the Christmas chaos and go on vacation like Luther Krank in the book Skipping Christmas by John Grisham.  Marketers are very effective in deceiving us to believe that Christmas is all about giving material gifts to each other.  When the wise men came to visit the Christ child, they each brought a gift, for a total of three gifts.  Why is it that we feel like we have to have so many gifts under the tree.  What is wrong with just a couple?  The burdens and stress we feel during the holidays usually comes from the things that aren’t really that important.  Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to make the perfect Christmas that we forget that the most important thing is to be together spending time with family and friends.  

Several years ago, I came across a book by Bill McKibben called the “Hundred Dollar Holiday”  After reading this very short book, it got me thinking about what I really care about and how I could simplify my Christmas to be more meaningful.  It took me a while to scale down because I was concerned about how other people would react after my years of spending so much on gifts.  The thought of spending much less on our holiday meals, buying used gifts and limiting my spending to one hundred dollars seemed close to impossible.  I wasn’t sure I could succeed, but the thought of focusing on time together gave me the courage to try.  My family was great and some of them even chose to try the same challenge.  The ideas in this video series are from the experiences we had.  We navigated through the holidays and everyone was happy, even though it was different.  

What do you really want your Christmas to be like?  Make it the way you want, not the way retailers tell us it should be.  Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses.  Maybe they have missed the true meaning of Christmas as they try to keep up with others.  What traditions do you want to have?  What food do you want to eat?  Have the courage to do it your way.  

There are a few things that can really help you to succeed.  One of them is to start early.  There is time on your side this way.  By starting early, you can take advantage of summer garage sales, you can plant a garden, grow produce and preserve it for gifts like homemade jam, pickles, etc., you have time to make gifts if you are interested in that, time to accumulate credit card points for gifts towards vacation, etc.  AND you can take advantage of programs like Ibotta, swagbucks, etc. to get money or gift cards to pay for your holiday expenses.  You can also buy food when it is at rock bottom prices for the things you plan to eat for Christmas.  Gifts and food can be purchased for a fraction of the cost if you start early.  Save yourself money and stress and start early.  You can succeed and have a great Christmas on a very frugal budget.  

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