I have been waiting for this week for quite a while now. It's the first installment of Fun Dollars on my Christmas Countdown. Now that I have the Fun Dollars Summer Challenge done, I can start putting money towards the holiday season. In December, we have our first family Christmas with two children who are able to unwrap presents this year. Last year, Lily was almost 1, so she didn't really understand what was happening. This year, she will be fully aware that something is going on and she'll want to be a part of it.
I also know that this Christmas will be our first to visit family back east since Carrick was Lily's age. So plane tickets will also be a part of this season's spending. Not to mention that Lily's birthday is the week after New Year's, so there isn't much of a break for the bank in the present department. We know this ahead of time, which is why I am being to proactive about Christmas.
My normal pattern for Christmas is to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start any sort of Christmas shopping. I began this tradition long ago, before children were in our lives. So letting go of my normal shopping and spending habits to be more financially responsible is the real challenge for me. I want this Christmas to be magical, which doesn't necessarily mean buying more presents for the kids, it means enjoying the season and all it has to offer.
My goal this time around is to have presents for important people in my life purchased and wrapped before December. I want to use the month of December for focusing on my children, my family, and the dearest people in my life. I will probably do some shopping in December, but it will be leisurely and enjoyable. I refuse to let the phrase "hustle and bustle" enter my holiday vocabulary.
How do I intend to do this?
I am so glad you asked!!!!
I had this wonderful epiphany when my parents were visiting just a few weeks ago. We had the opportunity to go to Jerome (an art community in the hills), Uptown Sedona (the Down Town Disney of our town), and Old Town Cottonwood (a leftover of the Wild West days). At each of these locations, I thought to myself, "I live around here, and I never go to these places." As we shopped each day, enjoying the smells of cafes, and the unique boutiques, I came across things that made me think of people close to me.
That's the way to go Christmas shopping. When you see something that says, "Oh this is so Aunt Margaret," you should buy it for Aunt Margaret. Giving a gift is a way to remember and celebrate the people who matter to you in life. When you see something that reminds you of them, chances are, they would enjoy it as a gift.
In that vein, I plan to go shopping as the first purchase of Fun Dollars with each installment from now until December 22 (my last round of Fun Dollars for 2014). On each shopping trip, my aim is to buy at least one Christmas present for someone in my life. I'll take a day, head out to these adorable, locally-owned venues and walk around with Lily in a stroller. I'll have lunch, enjoy the day, and be proactive about Christmas.
Oh yes... and the Fun part....
Since I am working again, I can use my work money to pay for the cleaning lady. That frees up $40.00 each pay cycle. So I will be setting aside $10.00 out of each pay cycle to put towards the Fun Dollars New Year Challenge! Yay!!! I will have $100.00 to give to someone to kick start their own Fun Dollars in the New Year. Use it to pay off Christmas bills, use it to visit family, use it to buy $100.00 worth of champagne for a bash on New Year's. The choice is yours. You don't even have to do Fun Dollars to win it. This time, it will be a surprise...and I'll announce what it is in December. So keep reading....you never know who might get lucky and win the $100.00 Fun Dollars.
Happy Reading, and Happy Spending!