Making Next Year a Good Year: Christmas Will Be Here Before You Know It

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I know it seems early. Doesn't it seem like it was just Christmas?

Oh. Well of course, it was just Christmas, and good riddance to all the hurry and expense and overeating and gosh we are all so tired. And ready to get spiritual again, to finally pay some attention to that God who lay in the manger for weeks under our overstuffed Christmas tree as we rushed by.

But if we want to, we can make Christmas 2009 all about him. ALL about him. Next December, we can spend quiet moments in prayer and worship, in starry-eyed wonder (O holy night...) at the very idea that God of all the universe would be born as a baby, one of us. (Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee...")

Not only that, but we can end the year without new credit card bills to pay off in 2010.

Here's the plan:

1. Find a drawer or a shelf someplace that you can empty.

2. Write up a new Christmas gift list and put it in your calendar.

3. Write out your Christmas budget. Make it small. Smaller. Much smaller. People don't need stuff. They need your love and attention, and you won't have much to give if you are stressed out about money.

4. (This is the good part.) Take that Christmas Budget and divide it by 11. This should turn out to be a very small dollar amount, one you can eke out of, perhaps, your grocery budget if you buy carefully and eat beans from time to time.

5. Every month, January to November, use that budget to buy Christmas gifts*. Or make them: my mother says when she was a child there were rooms in the house that were off limits because her parents were making things. For months before Christmas, she wondered what was going on in the guest room, what they could possibly be making in there. We still have the doll furniture my Grandfather made one year, and treasure them more than anything we bought this Christmas.

6. As you buy or make gifts, put them in the drawer, or on the shelf you emptied.

7. Come December, you're free from the holiday madness at the mall. Schedule a pleasant, unhurried Saturday to wrap your gifts. Schedule a day to fall on your knees (Oh hear the angel voices!) Schedule a bunch of those.

And have yourself a merry little Christmas. Next year.

*If you like to shop online, consider, where your purchase will help to support causes you care about, from feeding the hungry to promoting literacy or child health, to fighting breast cancer, to protecting the rainforests, to rescuing animals. You can even buy gifts that will make a difference in the world, by following the links on each site to Gifts that Give More.


Jan Parrish said...

Great plan. I did a modified version of that this year. Way less stress.