Post by Contributing Writer, Rachael
“At Christmas play and make good cheer,
For Christmas comes but once a year.”
As I look at my calendar and all the social events this holiday season brings, I see multiple cookie exchanges, grab bag gift parties and charitable events that I or my family could attend. Part of me wants to attend every single one and part of me wants to snuggle up by the tree with my kids and never leave the house.
You see, almost every social event for the month has a cost associated with it. It might be the $6 holiday crafting event or the cookie exchange that requires 6 dozen cookies. Although there are many free seasonal events (crafts at the library, festival of lights around a neighborhood and community Christmas caroling), I find myself trying to figure out where my family and I should spend our time and money.
I, like the 16th Century poet above, have the tendency to do it all during the holiday season. Christmas only comes once a year so let’s participate in everything! The problem with this philosophy is that it does not reflect my core values when it comes to how I spend my time or money, it does not take the heart of our family’s chosen frugality into consideration.
Every Day is Unique
Every day is a new day and unique unto itself. However, if I get into the financial mindset of “I will just spend money on this item/event/person because it is a unique day” than all is lost. I will be able to rationalize every day as being unique and my spending will become anything but frugal!
Instead, I need to remember the core value of Contentment. Each day brings its own unique perspective. If I truly value contentment I will be content with the things I have, the activities I am already committed to and the food already on my table.
What is a Dollar Worth?
Maybe a $6 crafting event or ingredients for several dozen cookies don’t have a huge upfront cost but what if I added up all these “small” expenditures? Is the couple hundred dollars I could potentially spend this month being spent wisely?
Instead, I need to remember the core value of Long Term Worth. For the cost to make 6 dozen Christmas cookies I could sponsor a child through Compassion International. If I truly value long term investments in others, I need to make sure that my spending stays under control this month so I can continue to give beyond this one season.
Time Has Value
During the holiday season we seem to get over-scheduled. Acquaintances from around town that we don’t often see have various parties and events that we are invited to. It always feels great to receive such invitations and stretching the kids’ bedtime out a half hour doesn’t seem like a huge deal. But what about the people whom I’ve spent the rest of the year with? Those that have prayed with me, encouraged me and loved me?
Instead, I need to remember the core value of Family and Friendship. First, my family deserves their sanity this season! We value our time in a certain way so that we can have time together and give time to others. When we begin to hoard our time for just ourselves, we have to take time away from others.
These others may be those we volunteer for or those that are truly our dear friends who have walked with us through the good and bad. Sacrificing time and true community with our immediate family and friends is not worth temporary enjoyment with those people we are not close with.
Christ in Christmas
The reason that my family celebrates Christmas is to remember and rejoice that we have a Savior who came to this world. Every time I stress about this event, that gift or adding one more activity into my child’s day I am truly forgetting the reason for the season.
Instead, I need to remember the core value of Daily Worship. “Rejoice in the Lord Always: again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). I need to remember, just like I remind my children, that every day is a day to praise the Lord. This does not start or stop at Christmas.
But What About the Fun of the Season?
I want you to know that I am not suggesting you turn down every invitation, every event or every seasonal sensation. There are people who need and deserve our time, events we can both enjoy and contribute to, and invitations we accept that could renew and encourage.
What I am suggesting is that you choose wisely. Look at both your financial budget and time budget and decide how much you can spend. Take a moment before it gets away from you to revisit your values and why the frugal life is part of your every day.
Above all, rejoice in the miracle of this season, for it does only come once a year!
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
Rachael shares financial tips from her kitchen table surrounded by her growing belly, two active toddlers and her husband. God has called her from corporate life into His grace as an at-home wife! She shares about her passion for motherhood and life at To Be a Mom…
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