I am facing the challenge of living up to my claims of simplicity. Also, to my desire not to break the budget.
It is ssssssooooooo easy to fall into the “Oh! But I don’t have enough!” trap. It is particularly challenging when you spent a significant portion of the budget on bed construction three weeks early. Here’s a hint for younger parents: don’t fall into the Early Christmas Present reasoning. It goes like this: Oh, I will give my child this thing on December 2, and it will be an early Christmas present. Trust me. You will not stick to your guns. You will wind up giving just as many things on the Big Day, because when you look at the stash for the two younger ones, you will have Guilt.
Here is another I have fallen for this year: The Gift that Needs Accessories trap. (Since my kids don’t read my blog, and I already put it on Facebook…) There’s a Wii, which was graciously gifted by a generous grandmother, at my suggestion. To which I have already added an additional controller. And some games. And probably, since my kids span 8 years, at least one Dora the Explorer or similar option will become necessary. Ack! Phtt! There goes another $100.
Let us not forget the Teenage Gifts are Small Objects trap. Gift cards. Computer games, DVD’s, CD’s, MP3 players. These things do not look impressive under the tree next to dollhouses and kid-kitsch. The stack can cost 3x as much and still look paltry.
Then, for the adults, there is the “Oh, I’ll just add one more bottle to fill up the stocking” trap. Unless you were clever enough to stop in New Hampshire in August, that’s another $40. *I* was clever enough to stop in New Hampshire in August, but the willpower, Oh! the willpower! (The bottle is intact. Phew.)
And possibly the greatest risk: The Who’s Filling the Stockings Trap. Last year we had a miscommunication and wound up with enough chocolate to carry us through to Valentine’s day. Other years we have had to cannibalize the cupboards for snack foods. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but in a family of 6, accidental duplication can be a big chunk of the Christmas budget. And who *really* wants to take back half the “stocking stuffers”.
No! No! I cry! It isn’t about the stuff! It’s about the love, the friendships, the thoughtfulness! Man, though. It’s hard to wrap swimming lessons in a way that they’ll recognize the effort. Oh, no… Do I need to get new bathing suits??? In December?
Never mind me. I’ll be over here on the couch, trying not to go to the mall.