The Focus Is On Family, As Usual.

Focusing on family this holiday season won’t be any different from the norm around here; we usually spend the eight days of Hanukkah doing lots of family activities: board games (Risk, Life, etc.), movies, entertaining, and all that kind of stuff. We don’t focus on the gifts–and in fact, for the last many years, it’s been like pulling teeth for the grandparents to get my kids to make wish lists because they hate doing that–but still, we usually have a loose budget for the holidays.

Not this year.

Although we are totally fine (really), our belts are tightened this year when it comes to extras, and we join so many other Americans who are cutting back out of necessity as well as out of respect for the economic times. Frankly, even if we had the ability to run wild with a loose holiday budget, I would feel really weird spending the normal amount because there are so many people out there who have to put their needs on a wish list.

We’ve told the kids that Hanukkah is going to be sparse this year, and they both (separately) responded in such a way that made me very happy: “Well Mom, I really don’t need anything right now anyway; it’s no big deal.” It’s always nice to get little reminders that we have raised unspoiled children.

What changes, if any, are you making this year?



  • Heather

    I tell everyone their gift is coming in the form of a HUGE bash on January 30th. And then I usually snicker. Because it is OH SO TRUE.

    Our wedding has become about everyone else's needs and wants. For Christmas I want to elope. And I'm not even kidding.

  • WeaselMomma

    Christmas will very lean around here this year, but it won't change and of the joy of celebration of what the holiday is all about.
    For my gift, could you eliminate your word verification?

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    We're scaling back as well. Instead of buying everyone in my hubby's family a gift we're doing a name exchange – except for the kids, of course.

  • Anonymous

    Love is one of the greatest gifts you can give. I will be thankful that you children are coming this way for Thanksgiving even though I am not making the Thanksgiving turkey (the in laws are) It will be great to have you all stay at our house. To all your readers enjoy what you have and have a great holiday.

    Grandma W

  • john cave osborne

    we're going light as well. though it's nothing more than the furthering of our focus on people. i constantly tell my step daughter (who is obsessed with STUFF) that people matter more than things and that spending time with someone is more special than spending money on them. we back it up with non-materialistic endeavors such as family date night when we stop the world and go out as a unit (all six of us! 8 yo and three 2yo, my wife and me) to do something inexpensive, yet bonding. i've also taken my 8yo on daddy/daughter camping trips which do a good job of prepping her for lean holiday seasons such as this one.

    i really liked your post. it made me think. it also made me realize that a lot of us are in the same, prudent boat. -jco-

  • k a t i e

    My form of saving money involves spending a week apart from Cam. He's spending the holiday period in New Zealand, I chose not to spend $1500 + flying over when that could go on so many other things right now. Sad, but I can't justify it.

  • BeautifulWreck

    It will be lean here at our house. I made really smart choices though in how I am spending our Christmas money.

  • PJ Mullen

    We aren't changing much, but then again, we don't exchange gifts. Also, considering that my son has no clue what the holidays are we only buy him one small present from "Santa". My wife has the whole week before Christmas off thanks to her working week of third shift the week earlier. So we have a whole week to spend together as a family and my in laws are coming for two weeks.

  • Kat

    Your boys are awesome and reading this post I want to convert and then be adopted by you and Jim… We're curbing our holiday spending because we don't really need anything and secondly because all of our money will go towards the house from now to eternity