City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks…

Remember “Silver Bells” –that old song about shopping and Christmas lights?

A few years ago, I asked my husband & kids what traditions they loved the most and which ones they would rather stop altogether. I can’t say I loved their responses, but it *has* taken a lot of pressure off me!

These days we tend to just get our kids one thing (plus do-dads in their stockings). When the kids were younger, I would give them each 3 gifts: one toy, one book, and one article of clothing. Of course, grandparents, aunts and uncles provided gifts as well.
We have a large extended family (although not as large as yours, Mary Alice) and I’m all for giving experiences over material gifts. One year we received a one-year zoo membership. It was perfect! No extra toys to pick up, just fun outings to take whenever we felt like going. About 8 years ago, it finally occurred to us all to exchange names: each adult purchases (and also receives) one gift, with a $25 limit (my side of the family coughs up an additional $10). This year, my husband’s family decided we didn’t even need that, so we are pooling the money we would have spent and purchasing goats through Samaritan’s Purse (Heifer International also does this).

So what do you do to achieve less stress and more Christmas spirit?

PS: Mary Alice wrote a great post about Christmas over at the Women’s Colony.

7 responses to “City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks…

  1. there are only 4 of us in my family (mom, dad, me, and sister) so we still kind of go all-in on the gifts 😛 we don’t have a TON of xmas traditions, but all of them are very important to me! we absolutely MUST have an xmas tree, and we have to all hang around in our pjs on xmas day and then either watch a movie together in the family room OR go out and watch a movie in the afternoon. my parents also started making popcorn chains for the tree ages ago, and while i don’t think my or my sister care much if that stays or goes (especially since we have to make the strings!!) my parents can’t have a tree without that 🙂

  2. Ummm….drink more? 😉

    Seriously, the past couple of years our Christmas expenditures have spiraled out of control, so I am trying to find new ways to pare it down.

  3. This year we have decided to get each other gifts on a smaller scale, and are participating in Adopt-A-Family through The Salvation Army. We have been hooked up with a family with 4 kids ranging from 6 mos to 12 years. They have provided lists (including such basics as socks, underwear and diapers) and we’ll all go shopping as a family. I’ve thought about doing this before, but actually made the call this year. I’m really excited about it!

  4. Amoeba said we should do something like that for each other this year. I think it is an excellent idea.

  5. I love that song! Being absolutely and totally broke…I gave up trying to gift like I used to. It still is frustrating, but I hope that will change. My siblings are scattered so I have Christmas with my urban family at their house and have no traditions of my own left. Really stress free though – I put out a few decorations and that’s about it.

  6. It is sO funny that right as I was clicking into your blog Silver Bells was just finishing on my stereo! And yea… I LOVE that song!

    LAST year we didn’t buy any gifts for our children – just for Luz. Dennis and I and the kids all agreed to take our money that we would spend on us and use it to help a needy family from my church. I really enjoyed doing that! Unfortunately THIS year the kids feel a “need” for Christmas “present”… so my charitable giving will be limited to Toys for Tots and my Angel Tree gifts. I do like that Heiffer International! I had never heard of Samaritans Purse.

  7. We call it Kris Kringle – gifting to a family member whose name is drawn out of a hat.

    And we make salads instead of hot vegetables on account of our summer weather!