Does Christmas bust your butt or your budget? For most of us it all boils down to time and money. As the Christmas season rolls along, make a note of the spoilers. What costs too much? What takes too much time? What spoils the fun? As you identify these humbugs, send yourself an email or text for later reference.After the bills settle in January, figure out exactly how much Christmas cost you this year, including travel expenses, fancy food, parties, and everything else. If you don’t want to itemize, just compare your credit card and checkbook balances to a slow month with no special events. When you get to the bottom line, make Christmas Club a New year’s Resolution. There are lots of ways to save up for Christmas all year long. Here are some ideas:
Find a friendly bank or credit union and open a free account for your Christmas Fund.
Coupons. If you aren’t a couponer, start now and put the savings into the Christmas Fund.
Recycle. When you return soda and water bottles for the refund, put the money into the Christmas Fund.
Sell stuff online and put the proceeds into the Christmas Fund.
Start a Change Jar. Loose change adds up but it’s rarely missed. When the jar gets full, wrap the coins, take them to the bank, and put the money into the Christmas Fund.When the weather gets nice again, have a garage sale and put the money into the Christmas Fund.
Watch for opportunities to make extra money in your field of interest – knitting, web design, nursing, housecleaning, yard work, etc. – could all generate an extra $25-$100 here and there for the Christmas Fund.
Now go back to your “spoiler” notes. Really focus on the downside of Christmas. Are there tasks you could delegate or outsource? Are there projects you could start on way in advance so they don’t wear you out at the last minute? Could you use some dead-of-winter down time to get better organized for next year?
We used to have a big house, so I had the luxury of a Christmas room, where I could lay out all of my projects and not have to clean up after myself. When I was finished playing, I could just close the door on Christmas until next time. After we downsized, I still had a Christmas closet. Now we’re living in an RV, so I’m down to a Christmas box, but I can still play Christmas all year round. Christmas is never out of season at our house.
In our tiny little town, there’s a store devoted to nothing but Christmas. It’s in our historic section, where you can still hitch up your horse to the old iron rings. The store was converted from an old house, with every room themed and packed with ornaments. Her inventory must be in the hundreds of thousands. The lady who owns it has been there for 35 years. When our daughter asked her if she sells online, she said “Omigosh, no! I don’t have time for that.” In this economy? In a town of less than 10,000 people? 20 miles from the nearest mall? On a dead-end street with no “draw” but the post office? Let’s hear it for Christmas!Here are the vintage Christmas items available at OLA.