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The 12 Days of Christmas: Day Three – 3 Ways to Simplify Your Christmas
Posted By Ron On December 15, 2012 @ 7:45 AM In 12 Days of Christmas,Budgets,Goals,Life,Money | Comments Disabled
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that Christmas, and the expectations surrounding it, can easily and quickly get out of hand? I’ve said for several years that we should treat Christmas like the Olympics … every four years. Somehow I think the retailers would vote me down on that one, as would most children!
But simplifying Christmas has become a priority in my home this year. We’ve decided to scale back on the mountain of gifts  that typically dwarf the tree to make what gifts  we do give have more meaning. Too many times I’ve seen children, including my own, receive 20 or 30 or more gifts  only to focus on playing with the biggest box any of them arrived in. Dear grandparents: keep the gifts , just send boxes!
While thinking about the idea of simplifying our Christmas this year, I came across three ideas:
When I look back on my fondest memories, they’re always about the traditions we’ve enjoyed as a family. What would Thanksgiving be without turkey and dressing and sweet potato casserole? What would Christmas be without my wife’s breakfast casserole, our tradition of making the kids wait until Mom and Dad are up before playing with or opening ANY presents, or driving around looking at the Christmas lights while sipping hot chocolate and playing Christmas carols on the radio? Christmas for my family is a time to celebrate being with each other, not celebrating the latest gadget, toy, or gizmo.
Why let “a December to remember” cause you financial pain and stress  for the next 60 or 72 months? The pressures that Madison Avenue places on people this time of year is something they should be ashamed of. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with giving something far more valuable than things — give your time. Take some time to visit people who are shut in. Take some time to play with your children … down on the floor. Teach someone what you know: cooking, playing the guitar, knitting a sweater, or painting a landscape. Invest  your most precious asset — time — into those you love the most.
Some people only give gifts  that are hand made. The materials can be bought, but the finished gift must be hand made. Try it with ornaments if you’re not ready to go “New Yankee Workshop” or try the Magi Christmas tradition: three gifts and three gifts only. There is a Victorian tradition that says each person should get “something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.
Don’t let the stress  of the season ruin the meaning of the holidays. With tax season  just around the corner, people worrying about how to pay their mortgage  while they watch their savings account  dwindle, having the self discipline  to simplify Christmas may be the wisest decision of them all!
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