Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Christmas is in DECEMBER?

I am a HUGE Dave Ramsey fanatic. Not just a fan....a fanatic. When he came to SLC for his Total Money Makeover Live Event, we showed up early and although we were in the cheap seats, I FREAKED when he came out. Seriously. One of my favorite Ramsey Rants is about Christmas being in December. On his site he has some tips for surviving the Holiday Season.

Who's idea was it to still be paying for Christmas gifts 7 months later?! It sure doesn't sound good to me! Make this Christmas season a memorable one - one with NO MORE DEBT.

Here are some quick tips:
  1. Remember Christmas is in December every year—don’t let it sneak up on you. Start planning in February (or right now!) by putting back little bit aside each month to cover the cost of gifts.

  2. Make a list of everyone you are buying a gift for and put a dollar amount by every name. Total it at the bottom. This is your Christmas budget. The people in the mall have a plan to get your money – get a game plan for your shopping so you can keep some money. There is no excuse for financing Christmas.

  3. Pay cash – put the total from your budget in an envelope and when the cash is gone, stop spending. This will help keep you on budget because if you overspend on Aunt Sue, Uncle Harry won’t get a gift.

  4. 69% of Americans bought a gift for themselves last year. DON’T BUY YOURSELF A GIFT! This is the season to give not to receive…from yourself.
He has this bit on how people FREAK OUT on Thanksgiving, realizing that Christmas is next month, and they have no plan. But, Christmas is in December EVERY YEAR so we should be able to PLAN for it.

This year, we want to do a homemade Christmas. My favorite memories are the craft days my mom used to have with us and our friends making ornaments and Christmas decorations. carolers out of toilet paper rolls and reindeer out of clothespins etc. I even started a COUSIN COOKIE DAY the first or second Saturday of December when I was pregnant with Ava so that our kids would have a day to set aside making gingerbread homes and decorating cookies. As the kids get older, the projects can be added in. The first year was a little rough, last year was more fun, and I'm sure this year will be a BLAST!

My only issue with this fabulous idea is that I'm craft challenged. I can learn just about anything, because I'm more stubborn than a mule, but it's coming up with ideas, and the execution that I'm not so great at. Chris got me a knitting set last year, because I was saying that I wanted to learn. However, about every 10 stitches I'd mess something up and only ever got 1/2 way done. SAD! I should finish that so I can wear it this year. Anyway...somethings I'd like to do:

  • BOWS-for Ava and her cousin-Julia who is 4. Jules is a total Girly Girl. I think this would be a great idea for her.
  • 12x12 tiles for like my mom etc with vinyl phrases. My friend has a circuit that lets you cut it out yourself, so I'm hoping that cuts the cost there vs. buying the phrases
  • ok see I'm stumped. I had ideas, but now that I'm trying to remember them THEY ARE GOOOOOOONE
so listen, if you read this and have ideas or would like to join me in my homemade Christmas, let me know.

119 days to Create Christmas-just FYI.

more Ramsey tidbits
Did the quickly approaching Christmas season sneak up on you? Have you just learned that you should have been saving for Christmas gifts all year round? Did you simply forget to budget for Christmas gifts this year?

Now that you're panicked, you might be thinking about draining your savings to buy gifts. Or maybe you're going to get a credit card, just for Christmas purchases. You'll pay it off in January or February, right?


If you're feeling torn this year because you want to stay out of debt while still giving your loved ones gifts they'll like, don't worry. We've got some fantastic tips.

  • Make it special. Consider specialized gifts for your friends and family rather than a DVD, CD or gift card that can end up costing more and meaning less. If you're a writer, write a story or poem specifically for each person to which you'll give a gift. If you're a photographer or painter, give a picture you've taken or created. If you're into woodworking, make a jewelry box or a shelf. If you're an expert cook, make some killer goodies and include the recipe as your gift this year. You'll save big and end up giving something with your personal touch that will last for years to come.
  • For kids only. If your extended family normally exchanges adult gifts as well as gifts for all the kids, consider just getting gifts for the kids this year. Or draw names for the adults and put a price limit of $20 or $30 on that gift. That way everyone can save by just buying for one adult in the family. Gift ideas for kids

  • Invaluable Coupons. Give your loved ones the gift of your time and service this year. Make a booklet with coupons for specific ways you can help them in the coming months. For example, make a laundry coupon and do the laundry one night so they can relax. Make a babysitting coupon and watch the kids free of charge so they can go out on the town. Make a dinner coupon and prepare a meal so they don't have to cook. There are dozens of ways you can help your loved ones. It will mean so much and will only cost you a little bit of time and energy.

  • Give to a charity. If the adults in your family can agree, choose a charity to which your entire family will give. Rather than giving gifts to each other, you'll be touching the lives of people who are truly in need. This will not only save you money, but will also keep you from getting caught up in the spending flurry.
This season is about so much more than the latest gadgets, overpriced clothes and racking up gift cards. It's about giving...but not just giving. Giving something that matters. And sometimes that something cannot be bought in a store. It's intangible. Priceless.

This Christmas, why not take a little extra time to think about your family and friends and give them something that will inspire and enrich their lives for years to come.


daiseymae said...

we did a home made Christmas one year when the kids were smaller. I made some great blocks from scrap wood I picked up from new home construction sites. It's amazing how many blocks you can get out of a small scrap of 2x4. Those blocks are currently still in use at the learning station preschool.

I also Made 3 foot tall dolls for each of my girls. They loved them! They were quite a bit of work (mostly the hair) but it wasn't too bad.
I made an esile (is that spelled right?) with a chalkboard on one side and a piece of wood with clamps at the top for the other side (so we could clip up large pieces of paper for painting).
The other big thing we made was a barbie doll house. although the kids thought it better suited for hiding in than for barbies they loved it for as long as I could stand the barbie mess. They were all sad when I got rid of it.
we made lots of other little things like clothes, bows, and dress-up stuff. It was a great year but a lot of work for an at home mom who's kids were not in school full days yet. Try hiding some of those big items from kids when they are all at home and wanting to be with mom all day. I had to pay babysitters towards the end so I could get it all done without them seeing.

Chris, Deb and the Ava Jayne said...

those are AMAZING ideas. I love the chalkboard easel idea. And the blocks. GENIUS.

Bilary said...

Yep, listen to Katherine. And you can also do some memory books for grandparents, etc. If you go to Wal*Mart's website, you can order them starting at under $4.00. Killer deal! And what grandparent doesn't love pictures of their grandkids?

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