{ simple christmas wrap-up }

So, how did our simple Christmas go you ask? Well, better than last year but we still have work to do (especially with the grandparents)...while we asked grandparents to limit gifts to one per child, and kindly suggested donations to their college funds...multiple gifts arrived via UPS & Fed EX in the weeks leading up to Christmas and the kids college funds remain at almost ZERO $.

While, we had a goal to spend under $500...we ended up spending close to $700 when all was said and done...which granted is a lot less than last year, but still room for improvement. For all of the grandparents we gave these custom shutterfly books - see below - (but at $30 a pop and with 10 sets of grandparents and birthparents to send them too, that added up right there)...But it was a well received gift and we will do it again next year. The kids got their gifts in the pre-set categories (and I was really good about sticking to it except for a ski helmet for Sam that I forgot she needed and a bebe pod seat for Henry that I got a great deal on, both on ebay). But an additional $100 that I hadn't accounted for in early December. We also spent $100 on Nutcracker tickets (not necessary but Sam loved it!)

With our siblings - Will's brother & wife were on the same plan as us - so we gave their daughter a huge bin of great hand me down clothes and they gave us some great burned CD mixes and Todd took our family photo. My brother & his wife wanted to exchange gifts (I tried hard to discourage it but they weren't budging)...so we set a limit of $20 per person... So we gave them books and framed pics of the kids and gave their daughter a huge bin of hand me down clothes and a new pair of pj's and a new book.

We still (despite our pleas and my not so subtle hints) got plastic toys from China...I hate them (and I'm going to return them this week).

I gave Sam's teachers (all 10 of them at the school) LobotoME notepads and homemade cards by Sam and our neighbors homemade bread. Will & I didn't exchange gifts this year instead reminding each other of our {gifts no trips} plan! We didn't give gifts to friends this year, instead made an effort to spend time with all of them this month (we had many over for a post holiday chili & cornbread party post-skiing).

I've also limited our holiday decor to our big tree, one tub of ornaments and one tub of misc. greenery and lights. Out with all of the rest of it.

One of our biggest successes of the season was that we spent a lot of time practicing and teaching Sam {generosity} - we packed up her old clothes and toys and donated them to families in need in the community. We packed up boxes of food and paper goods to donate to the Food Bank. We gathered blankets and jackets to drop off at the Homeless Shelter. We adopted several kids through the Project Merry Christmas Program and bought them new coats, toys and books. And we gave money to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers.

Next years plans...Trying this recycled Christmas idea...I like it a lot. Giving stuff you already have...why not??! We all have stuff we can share with one another! And I am going to buy next year's winter gear this year on sale. I can't believe I paid full pop for snowsuits for the kids. I am also going to create a family wish list on wishpot so that all of the rebellious family members who simply must enjoy the shopping madness can get us something we need/want.

How did your simple Christmas plans go?


Anonymous said...

Our Christmas was fantastic in much of the same ways! We did a handmade/service Christmas with my family and it has been deemed that we will do it that way from now on. Everyone loved it. My husband and I both made things for our girls and decided not to exchange gifts ourselves- but really, we could have made each other things as well and will next year.

All friend gifts were handmade, we did a big dinner with some friends where everyone pitched in so the financial burden wasn't on one family.

We have friends who did a toy swap this year and I love the idea. Parents met up at someone's house with older but in good condition toys and then they all went around and traded toys for other used ones. They got some really great stuff that didn't cost them more than the time to sort through toys.

We ended up only spending about $300, which was $100 under what we anticipated!

LobotoME said...

Hi Hannah! That's awesome about your handmade holidays and I love the idea of a toy swap!