Saturday, December 26, 2015
I simplified Christmas, and we're ok
This year, I made a concerted effort to simplify Christmas, not that we've ever really gone overboard. I kept my budget, using funds set aside as part of my monthly household budget. Dec 25th happens every year, so I've always planned for it.
While I did invest in our first artificial tree, the bottom cost was less than what I would have paid for a live tree. I paired down our tree decorations, donating what we no longer wanted. Exterior decor was kept to 2 hanging flags, an artificial wreath I already owned. Artificial roping decorates the stair railing, from which hung homemade stockings. I can now lower my Christmas budget for next year as the cost of the tree won't be included.
Food: While we did host 2 guests, food costs were reasonable. Christmas eve is when we traditionally celebrate: I offered a buffet of snacky items, selecting from home preserved items, bought items at Aldis or with coupons/on marked down. Xmas eve dinner included my meat pies, for which I ordered and bought my ground pork from a local butcher. Pricey, but the cost easily absorbed due to my other tricks. Christmas was technically just me, and I cooked a small (marked down) ham anyway as I wanted the meat for sandwiches, upcoming week's meals. Only baked good was my traditional rum cake, using pantry ingredients. I still had rum on hand so no liquor costs this year. Leftovers will be consumed, to avoid waste or frozen for future meals.
Gifts: My gift list considerably shrunk when I divorced; it's now just the kids and Mom. As the kids are older (late teens-early 20's), they want practical gifts: DD asked for a down coat for example. Much of what they received from me was in the form of gift cards for gas, haircuts, clothing shops, restaurants (date night on Mom). I did away with "stocking bags" this year (decorated Xmas themed paper bags filled with mostly toiletries) and turned to my homemade stockings to fill with some traditional christmas treats, including gold chocolate coins, mini chocolate santas, etc. They seemed pleased. I gifted a last minute guest with a large candle from my gift stash-no way was I even contemplating approaching the Mall to overspend on something that I wouldn't know fit or would be appreciated. Earlier purchases were mostly done on line, taking advantage of many promotions for discounts and/or free shipping. This past Mon (12/21) afternoon, found me at CVS picking up a RX and shopping the gift card kiosk. Done. I bowed out of my co-workers annual collection for various "tips" for assorted personnel at work. I put in writing what I told her to her face for several years now. This year, she got it; no drama involved. I did tip my hairdresser, but no one else. I didn't bake for my coworkers as I had in years past (my aforementioned rum cake). One coworker always and again this year, brought in a huge tray of homemade cookies for those looking to induldge. Don't feel that it was missed. Come Jan, everone will be dieting, so no need to bring one in then. A simple "Merry Christmas" will have to suffice.
Gift supplies: I still have a considerable stash of Christmas paper, trimmings. We repurpose what we can for the next year, recycle what we can (awesome recycling program here). Eventually, I hope to whittle my wrapping supplies to a variety of solid colored papers that could work for any occassion.
Cards: once again, I didn't do cards. Don't miss them, received only a handful this year-and most were from businesses. Many seem to be doing without them as well. It was tiring to repeatedly send cards to relatives who don't reciprocate. Postage is costly as well. This is the last year for school photos so those will be mailed out to Aunts/Uncles but that's all.
That's all folks! Christmas was simple, quiet, pleasant-just what I wanted and needed. I will continue this simplification theme into the new year, and certainly next Christmas.
Hope that you all were equally blessed this Christmas.