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Christmas Doings

December 1st, 2012 at 08:36 am

I am glad I had such a wonderful beach weekend last weekend, and T-Day, because I have paid since. What a crazy week at work. Next week won't be any better - big IRS audit. I am frustrated about it on many levels. & in addition, because it has been so time consuming, I am very behind on everything. Which is not the worst because I See lot of December overtime pay for me. Woohoo. It's starting a little early, but just means more money for the mortgage. Big Grin

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I like the thankfulness posts that have been going around thanks to Paulette.

I think being thankful on a daily basis is a key practice to happiness and contentment. I practice this in my personal life, but feel it is kind of private. But wanted to chime in and share that.

I think people often think I am happy because I have a nice home and a good job and yadda yadda yadda. There is nothing special about having a nice home. I am every day grateful that I even have a home!! I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities we have and our kids have, that those before them didn't have. It's being grateful for the little things that keep us grounded.

No doubt that thankfulness also breeds contentedness. Our culture is so opposite though - it doesn't focus on gratefulness and contentedness. We all need more of this.

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I suppose this is may annual Christmas post.

I used to pride myself by doing all things Christmas before December.

Over the years it has gotten kind of moot. All our friends and family have stepped back and said, "We have all we need and don't want to exchange gifts any more." The exception is dh's parents and grandma, but they don't expect much from us. Dh goes in with his sister and sorts out the details, so I generally just write SIL a check. In addition, the in-laws give us tons of crap and money, so they pay for their own gifts (we use some of the money, and often return some of the gifts - either way it doesn't cost us anything).

Of course, we obviously could spend our time focusing on gifts from the heart. BUT, with my current job I mostly choose to sit out the holidays. Work is busy this time of year and so we focus on keeping it simple instead.

If not for my job, I'd probably be baking a lot of cookies and donating more money in people's names. I like to focus on more consumable items than piling on more of the materialism. I am sure we would spend a lot more time and effort on charity if it were a slower time of year for us.

This year is shaping up to be the most simple and least expensive Christmas I remember:

--Kids: Dh already bought a few gifts throughout the year. He will get free Scholastic books and has some "free" used games set aside for them. This year we did not get any spectacular gifts of any sort.

Teachers: Dh will get each teacher a $100 scholastic voucher. Free, in exchange for labor.

Gardener/Piano Teacher: I will bonus both $20.

Donations: We all choose a charity to donate $50 to every year. Last year was the first time the kids got to choose a charity - they LOVED it. (It doesn't have to be an official charity. If the kids wanted to hand $50 to a random person on the street or to a friend in need - anything that pulls at our heartstrings is fine).

Everyone else: If I see something for anyone in my family I just buy it for them, no matter what time of year. I bought my sister a few souvenirs in October. I actually bought my mom a couple of things in October. It is tradition to buy my dad almond roca every year. None of this stuff warrants a Christmas budget.

Work: My employer has gone the way of bah humbug over the years, like me! LOL. We used to do the Christmas party thing but it stopped at some point. We all prefer it that way. Phew!! We still do a gift exchange and a gift for the boss.

Boss will give me a $250 bonus, and I will contribute $50 towards his gift, from the bonus.

There is a woman in my office who is basically "me." LOL. I drew her name this year which means EASY to shop for. I was at Walgreens the other day waiting in line and saw Starbucks gift cards so picked up one for $15. My plan was to do that and maybe find a $5-ish gift on Etsy.

Reminds me, I don't regularly give gifts to anyone else, but can always find a uses for a regift. (Starbucks reminded me of that, because I don't drink coffee, but few people *get* that. That is something I always seem to have in my regift pile. & it sure makes people happy!)

So, to sum up, I have some Etsy shopping to do, and I am DONE!! & maybe an almond roca run at some point - easy to pick up anywhere and any time.

Budget? Christmas bonus covers boss gift and donations. Money/gifts from in-laws covers the $100-ish dh spends on them every year.

$60 total for co-worker, gardener and piano teacher. In-laws will basically cover this.

We bought some other gifts, but just absorbed in regular misc. budget items throughout the year.

Christmas Budget = $0.

**We always get a bazillion gift boxes to reuse, or use what we have around the house for wrapping, and we have a fake Christmas tree. Dh and I sometimes buy gifts for each other, but rarely. The fun has been kind of taken out of the "material gift giving" since he stopped working and all our accounts are joint. This year no gifts because we have gorged on credit card rewards heavily in recent years and don't want for anything in particular. The kids buy us and each other presents with their own money (since they have no expenses otherwise - to practice money management). 90% of our family's birthday is this month and next, so this covers most the gifts for the year, and could be why most the adults don't want MORE December gifts. We might enjoy all the gifting more if we could spread it out a bit! Kids excepted - they are rare summer babies.**

5 Responses to “Christmas Doings”

  1. Homebody Says:

    You are inspiring!

  2. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm like you in not liking coffee - and having most people not *get* it.

    I'd love to have my family (both sides) get that I really don't want them buying me things for birthday/Christmas. But they don't ... so I do have to come up with a list of ideas for them (well, my mom at least - the other side doesn't ask for ideas.)

  3. PNW mom Says:

    The coffee thing is funny....I read an article the other day about Plastic Jungle and how of all the gift cards out there in world, the one that they rarely see offered up is for coffee...starbuck and dunkin donuts....people LOVE their coffee.... Smile

  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    We don't drink coffee either, but I remember this one aunt and uncle who consistently gave us gift baskets full of coffee stuff. Or wine stuff and we don't drink that either. Oh, well, I ended up with some nice coffee mugs and wine glasses, but passed on all the consumable parts to people who actually drank the stuff.

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    DH and I rarely do gifts at Christmas, but if we do we set a small budget. We also have an artificial tree that my parents had at their house in the 1980's. We are still happy with it! You do a good job giving nice gifts.

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