After spending way too many Novembers and Decembers trying to orchestrate the most amazing Christmas for my family and friends, this year I have been feeling a shift in my idea of what it takes (and what it costs!) to actually make this happen and be true to what matters to myself.
One of my favorite holiday movies is Christmas with the Kranks. It sums up the true meaning of the Christmas spirit in a very entertaining way! The first time I saw that movie, I never expected what happened at the end!
I actually felt a little like Luther Krank when I gathered up all the receipts (that I managed to keep) from last Christmas and nearly choked at the total. We spent a whopping $3200 on Christmas last year. I have no doubt this figure is much higher given all the receipts I didn’t keep like food, decorations and outdoor decor.
I know that something has to change, since I had only budgeted for $1800!!
One of the craziest expenses I remember vividly because I remember actually cringing when I saw the total. It was the visit I made to a local floral shop for all out greenery and decor to fill my outdoor urns and window boxes. It was one of those moments were you have the devil on one shoulder urging you on “you know you NEED this stuff if your Christmas is going to be perfect, you DESERVE to have your home look fantastic for the holidays. On the other shoulder is the angel trying desperately reason with you, “all of this is disposable, you are going to throw it all in the recycling compost in the New Year, you know you are creative enough to create something from what you have”.
The devil easily won that battle that day because I was so convinced that is exactly what I had to have in order for the holidays to be complete. I want ahead and paid the $175 some odd dollars for stuff that I was going to throw away after the holidays anyway.
Sadly, despite all this money spent I was still a bit cranky and always trying to hide how stressed I felt over the holiday season. While we spent loads of money, I spent very little time allowing myself to sit back and enjoy the season and felt like it was never enough. And while everything looked nice and my family had another blessed Christmas, I still felt rather empty but couldn’t put my finger on what was missing.
I have been so blessed to be included in the book launch of Ruth Soukop’s new book Living Well Spending Less, which comes out on December 30th. I soaked up Chapter One like a sponge. I was sure she was writing my story. I will share bits and pieces as the month unfolds but this quote from her knew book really hit a chord…..
“It is not the wealth—or the stuff—that kills us; it is the wanting, the longing, the absolutely insatiable desire for it that eventually takes over our hearts and minds, leaving room for little else. Whether or not we can afford it is totally irrelevant. What matters is the desire of our heart. Regardless of the never-quite-enough message society wants to give us, a life consumed by always wanting more is not the Good Life.”