I joined our local MOPS group, and one of the recent speakers talked about budgeting and financial issues, particularly as they apply to the holidays. One thing that he said really resonated with me: spend more of your money on holiday traditions than presents. He asked how many presents we specifically remember from our childhoods. Of course, most people only really remembered a few specific "big" presents. For instance, I remember getting a Barbie house and a locket my parents gave me in high school. There are a few other things I can recall, but as the speaker pointed out, generally our memories of holidays center around our family traditions. His point was to make sure you put a good part of your holiday budget to making sure that you are building the traditions that you want your kids to remember, that you want them to pass on to their kids, etc.
Mr. Blue and I certainly didn't have neglected childhoods, but our parents also didn't spend an outrageous amount on presents for the holidays. Not making the holidays all about the presents and spending way more money than was wise has always been important to us, but at the same time, it's important to me that our kids have great, lifelong memories of the holidays. I think that's what made his point resonate with me so much. It's really easy, especially in our culture to get caught up in the idea that we all need to spend tons of money on presents for our kids if we love them, that they need to have just as much as their friends, as much as we see on blogs, Pinterest, etc. That's not where our values lie, however, and it's not what we want to teach our kids. Pulling off traditions, however big or small, costs some amount of money, and we need to plan accordingly.
With that in mind, we've been thinking about what traditions we want to prioritize. This is a bit of a moving target because some things will change or be added or subtracted as our kids grow. Here's a collection of some of our favorite ideas that we are considering incorporating into our family holiday traditions.
1. Christmas Pajamas - It's a little thing, but I love how much Mr. Blue and his sisters still like getting their Christmas pajamas and wearing them all day for a movie day during our holiday vacation. Cost: pajamas & some holiday movies.