For us as Christians, Christmas remains about Christ.
It is a time to reflect and rejoice that Jesus Christ took on flesh and forever lives in Heaven having overcome hell, death and the grave for us.
He is the main character of the Christmas story. The gift of Christmas is Christ himself.
In our consumerist society, Christmas has become about many other things; peripheral stuff that matters very little in the greater scheme of things.
Christmas is now about parties, expensive gifts and outdoing friends and family with decorations and holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with family, decorating the house for Christmas, giving gifts and going on holiday.
But, there is a shift in focus that needs to take place for us to truly see the meaning of Christmas.
One shift we can make is to curb Christmas spending, so we keep the focus on Christ and glorify him the right way.
Is it worth starting the New Year broke and in deep debt that takes us the first quarter of the next year to crawl our way out?
15 Ways to Curb Your Christmas Spending
- If you are a spend thrift, get a family member or friend to be your partner in helping you to control your spending. It’s all about creating a new perspective.
- Do not spend endless days at the shopping centre searching for the perfect gift. You spend more that way and get taken in by all that is on offer.
- Make a list of people you have to buy gifts for with a budget amount and stick to the budget. Dave Ramsey has a great resource for a Christmas budget: http://www.daveramsey.com
- Tell your family and friends that time spent together, including Christmas day is about them and the relationships, and ask everyone to bring and share. I guarantee no one will be offended, and all will be happy to participate.
- Look for deals, and online shopping discount days. You will save and still buy great gifts.
- Holidays don’t have to cost you your whole bonus. Eating in is cheaper than eating out, and a whole lot healthier. If you are sharing a holiday with another family, have a roster for meals and clean up. Make it fun by doing simple meals where kids can help cook. You will be teaching them while having fun and building quality time together.
- Remember, a bargain is not a bargain unless you really needed and wanted it before you saw it on the shelf. Walk away, think twice and then decide. Impulse buying will blow the budget more than you think.
- Come home from shopping and list all you spent on food, entertainment or gifts. If it was too much and above budget, decide to cut back on tomorrow’s expenses by having a stay home day or a picnic in the park.
- Stop feeling guilty about not spending money! Your family wants you, your time, your input, and your love, not your money. It’s a change of focus. You cannot buy their love with expensive gifts and goodies. They need you.
- Recognize when you are impulse shopping to fill a void or a need inside. Just like compulsive eating is trying to fill a need the wrong way, compulsive spending is doing the same thing. Stop doing it!
- A good way to curb spending is to ask yourself whether this spend is worth the investment of your money or whether you are prepared to make this trade– your hard earned money for this expenditure. This works well for restaurants and gifts!
- Be generous! Sow into someone’s life that could not repay you. You will be surprised at how blessed you feel. Give something away when you buy something new. This keeps the cycle going and prevents hoarding.
- Be grateful for all you have. Stop, look around you, look at your life, count your blessings and do this with your family too. This stops the furious desire to obtain more at this time of year.
- Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” “Does my child really need this?” “Will it enrich my life?”
- Ask yourself, “Is it still all about the Father and his gift of Christ to us?” or has it become about all the other things to the exclusion of glorifying Christ.
How do you need to simplify to change your focus this Christmas?