Thursday, December 15, 2011

Postponing Christmas: I Call Bull***t!

Yesterday, I read this article in our local paper about how some people are choosing to hold off on Christmas celebrations so they can take advantage of post-holiday shopping sales. Why buy gifts now when you can get them after Christmas for 75% off? Most of the quotes in the article are from adults who are exchanging gifts with other adults and, as a practical move, are waiting. I totally understand!

However, the article leads with a story about a mother in North Carolina who is leaving a note under the Christmas tree for her 8 and 10 year old sons. The note is going to say "I couldn't get by your house last night. Your mom is going to take you to the store when she can." This irks me.

For starters, if Santa couldn't "get by their house last night", how did he leave a note? Really, North Carolina Mom?! You don't think 8 and 10 year old kids will see through that? You'll have two very miserable kids who, I'm quite sure, will put this Christmas down as the worst ever. 

If you're holding off on Christmas, then why bother with the tree? It seems particularly cruel the kids will go to bed with a fully decorated tree expecting what kids expect on Christmas Eve only to wake up to nothing but a poorly worded note under the tree in the morning. I hope you're not planning on hanging the stockings and not filling them.

Least people think I'm insensitive because the economy is bad, you're broke and you had to take two weeks off without pay this year when your son was sick, I'll say that around July or August, when you're economic situation was probably not much different than it is now, you should have thought about Christmas.

There's no way you can come up with something to wrap and put under the tree for them? I can give you lots of ideas that won't cost much.

You can still give your kids Christmas magic without spending a lot of money. Sure, you have to plan ahead. Thrifty people have been doing it for years. There's no excuse to get to 10 days before Christmas and decide your young kids are just going to have to suck it up and wait. That's sad.

Really, if you can scrape together ten or twenty bucks, I bet you could still pull it off. Here's how.
  • Go to Goodwill or another local thrift store. 
  • Buy an age appropriate toy for each child.
  • Buy like-new shirts or other articles of clothing your children need.
  • Go to a used book store or your local library book sale (some have an on-going one).
  • Buy a couple of books for each child. If your boys are avid readers, you won't have a problem finding titles they'll enjoy. If not, go for non-fiction books about things like snakes, volcanoes, pirates, knights or any number of other boy-friendly topics. 
  • Go to Walmart and get them each a cookie baking mix. They cost around $1.00 at my local Walmart. Kids this age love to cook and will like baking cookies with their mom on Christmas day.
That's how you create GOOD memories without spending a lot of money.

If you don't have the money for wrapping paper, use newspaper or brown paper bags. Most stores still give those out instead of plastic, if asked.

You can do this! Empower yourself to get it done for your kids. Please don't ruin their Christmas.

Shop those after Christmas sales if you want to. But, put the toys and games away for NEXT Christmas so you're not in this same position again. Check out garage sales over the summer for other things you think they might like.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving second-hand items as gifts. Your kids will appreciate that more than a fake note under the tree saying Santa just couldn't get to them this year.

I've given garage sale and consignment sale toys to my kids as Christmas and birthday gifts. I've got some books in the closet right now that are intended for my 3-year-old son that came from the fall consignment sale. And, I have two bathrobes, one for my middle son and one for my youngest, that were in a bag of clothes someone gave us last year. Yes, they're getting them for Christmas. I've planned ahead and bought Lego kits and a few other toys for them as well, but if I knew I was going to be absolutely broke, I'd find a way to make it work anyway. You can, too!


  1. While I like your article and generally agree with you. I will say the focus of Christmas need not be gifts under the tree, and in some cultures Christmas is not celebrated with gift giving until after our traditional 12/25 (won't get into the politics of that). Some people do not exchange gifts until Little Christmas which is when the wise men came and gave gifts. Also lets not forget about the little shepard boy who had nothing to offer but a song.
    I do not have anything against thrift stores, or planning ahead (it is what we do and how I was raised). Homemade gifts are nice, but lets start shifting the focus from gift getting to gift giving. Lets start teaching children that it truly is better to give than to receive, and that Christmas is about (Christ if your are religious) and family and friends if you are not. The NC mom is not intending to not give her kids Christmas she was hoping someone would read the article feel bad for her kids and give her Christmas. Watch out buying at the After Christmas Sale. You need to open all the packages to make sure there is no damage as next Christmas there won't be a warranty if you buy it in January. How about we just avoid the big box stores anyways and buy items that don't need warranties? OK stepping off your soap box.

  2. You can share my soapbox, Tree! I agree with much of what you say!

  3. AMEN!! I agree those poor kids in NC 8 & 10! I'm certain one well thought out small gift under the tree would be superior to all of the junk mom can buy at the steep discount. WORST ever! One of my favorite Christmases ever was right after my hubby retired from the military. We didn't have money for gifts really so we declared a handmade Christmas. Everything was either handmade or bartered for using handmade goods. My children still cherish the gifts they received that year. And I love that I can confirm that at least for 1 year our family got it right.

  4. Great tip. I do not like to do shopping after Christmas for next year because what if I buy clothes and next year the person either gain or lose weight so that would be a waste. Plus thats extra clutter for a year at home.
    I suggest to restock on bows, boxes, wrappers, cards, ornaments etc. for next year.

  5. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Peace ^^

  6. Great commentary and comments on it. I really enjoy the blog and the comments it generates. I love the idea of thrift shop and homemade Christmases. And one does question the motives of the woman who was going to leave the note for her children under her tree. Yay, for "Cleaning Up the Clutter" for exposing bull****! Keep up the good work!

  7. Jennifer - I love the idea of a handmade Christmas.

    Nivedha - Hope you had a lovely holiday!

    Elysia - I tend to stock up on holiday stuff, like you suggested. I just bought wrapping paper for next Christmas today, for instance. If I buy gift things this time of year, I'll likely use them for birthdays.

    Anon - I'm sure her motive, like Tree said, was to solicit donations. I'd love to see a follow up on this story to find out what happened. I hope this woman plans ahead this year and isn't in the same position again. Poor kids!