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December 10, 2008

The Economy Gave Me the Best Christmas Present

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OK. I admit it.  I'm one of those people who have a habit of going way overboard at Christmas.  If my husband would allow my house to look like that one believe me it would! I'm the one that participates in secret santas, buys every friend I have a gift, makes dozens of cookies for everybody else, leaves presents for the trash and post man, has the holiday pictures taken for the holiday cards to be purchased and sent, sends Christmas treat bags in my kids classrooms...I could go on and on, but I think you catch my drift.  Oh and I didn't even mention the amount of gifts I purchase for my family, especially my kids. 

But, along with this admission comes an even bigger one.  While I was busy overdoing everything, my bank account was taking a hit.  A very big one.  To make matters even worse I began to compensate with credit cards ending up with a financial mess.  I got so caught up in the whole materialistic mentality that I became financially irresponsible and basically buried myself in debt.

I needed a wake up call.  I believe that our economic situation today is my wake up call.

I needed this type of crisis to teach me a lesson that my grandparents learned during the Great Depression.  I need to learn how to control my spending, live within my means, and truly assess my wants vs. needs.

I knew that the holiday season was going to be a challenge so I started early with devising my plan.  I knew if I had a plan then the chances were good that I would be much more successful in my strive to be financially responsible this holiday season.  I looked closely at what truly "needed" to be done and what I "wanted" to happen for Christmas.  Then I started making the tough choices.  I had to get rid of the fluff.  That meant cutting out presents, baking less, not participating in secret santa, or even going to all the holiday parties.  It meant getting the kids only what they really, really wanted, staying home and playing games instead of running around, enjoying potluck dinners with friends, and having more time to sit and enjoy the twinkling Christmas tree.

So while I started this post with a confession, I am going to end it with another...

I am really enjoying this simpler Christmas.  I love spending more time with my family rather than running here and there trying to find the elusive perfect gift, baking a million different kids of cookies, and becoming exhausted trying to get it all done.  Thanks to the cruddy economy I've enjoyed my best Christmas present ever...the extra time with those I love!

Originally posted on Philly Mom's Blog.

When Mel isn't spending time with her family she is blogging about them at A Box of Chocolates. 

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