Have you ever noticed that sometimes it seems that the universe wants you to realize something? You notice hint, after hint, until the proverbial anvil drops? Well this Christmas season, I’m heeding these hints, and trying to avoid the painful thud of that chunk of iron.
It started with a startling statistic I saw on the news: The average family spends $1500-$2000 PER PERSON for Christmas. No wonder so many people are up to their eye balls in consumer debt!
Then, an article in Better Homes and Gardens about blogger Joslyn Taylor who has a strict rule about purchases: Anything she buys must last 5 years, or it doesn’t come in to her house. If she won’t love it, or it won’t last 5 years she doesn’t buy it. What a novel concept!
Gail Vaz-Oxlade‘s advice? Experiences are more meaningful than objects.
Do you remember what you got for Christmas last year? Here is what I remember from last Christmas- Taking our Son to his first Christmas Church Service and singing carols with our family and close friends. Afterwards, we came home and went on a moonlit snowmobile ride-all 3 of us squished on to a 1 person sled- followed closely by our dog. Parked on a hill over looking our property, Farmer B asked me to be his wife. That experience is the best Christmas gift I could have asked for. And yes, I did get a material object (the ring) but it will stay on my finger ’till the day I die, and every time I look at it, I’ll remember that moment like it was yesterday.
And last, but definitely not least, I reminded myself what Christmas is really about: Spending time with family, enjoying food and drink, and celebrating the birth of Jesus. Despite what the media and marketing tycoons may tell us, receiving presents shouldn’t be the focus of the season.
SO, this year, Farmer B and I decided to turn over a new leaf. We will be having a “Charlie Brown” christmas. No big, expensive gifts. Instead, I’m working on crocheting a set of gloves and a headband, sewing an apron, and making other hand-made gifts. For our little guy, we’ll get him his first pair of skates (second-hand none the less). We don’t want to set the expectation of lots of big fancy presents that so many kids have these days. As for our gift to each other? Maybe Skating on our pond with a thermos full of hot chocolate? And, although I desperately want a digital SLR camera for Christmas, I’ll make do with my regular digital camera until I can afford a different one.
But we’re not stopping there. In the new year, we’ll be sitting down to go over our finances and come up with a strict budget, and cutting out unneccassary spending. $10 for this $15 for that adds up really fast, dollar wise, as well as more often than not- adding to the clutter. I too will be adopting the 5-year rule. The money I save will be used to grow our farm business, and in turn educate people about local, sustainable agriculture. Although it’s only the beginning of December, I need to start planning for our On-farm Market. Adding pigs, more chickens, more eggs, and sweet corn will cost money, but the return will be worth the investment.
This year, maybe the best Christmas present we’ll receive is financial awareness. This will be a much bigger lifestyle change, I’m sure, than I realize, but as Amy of Homestead Revival said- Fish or Cut Bait! 🙂