This past year, I’ve come to appreciate simplifying my life. Hubs and I have been operating on a smaller scale, financially, due to me taking my “Gap Year”, which has led me to forgo non-essential purchases I would have otherwise made. We’ve been more frugal when it comes to spending our “disposable” income by eating out much less frequently and taking advantage of any and all opportunities to save money (ex: Target red card: 5% off all purchases) on things we regularly purchase.
Bottom line: a benefit of my “Gap Year” is an increased mindfulness of how we spend our money. This is a good thing. Now, not only are we in a better position to start saving for important things like travel and eventually a plumb spot of land on a smallish but beautiful lake in Minnesota or Wisconsin where we will build our dream cabin, but we have much less stuff to care for and stress about. And now that I am gainfully employed I think it behooves us to continue our frugal ways.
That brings me to Christmas. In years past, I have spent as my mother would say a “pretty penny” not only on gifts, but also on ingredients to make a wide variety of Christmas cookies which I send to friends and family near and far. And the shipping costs for said cookies and gifts is nothing to sneeze at either.
This Christmas is going to be different. Though the cookie baking and shipping is still happening, because, well, I truly enjoy the process. One of my happiest of happy places is in the kitchen, baking and cooking my heart out with a variety of holiday and non-holiday tunes cranked up on my Bluetooth speaker. And the joy these treats brings to the recipients is so worth it.
What’s going to be different this year is the gift-giving part of it all. I’ve come to the realization that the stress I put on myself not to mention the costs to purchase (whether on line or in actual stores) and ship just the right gift for each and every one of my lovely family members is simply no longer worth it.
I know, Bah-humbug, right? Rhonda has officially become the Grinch!
Not so fast. I’ve decided that everyone-with perhaps 3 small exceptions-is getting gift cards.
One could say that gift cards are impersonal. However, I have a different take on it. Every Christmas since like forever, my mom gives me a gift card to Victoria’s Secret (along with other actual gifts). I look forward to this particular gift every year, as this is a store I love but very infrequently shop at as I feel it’s overpriced and generally I am perfectly happy purchasing needed underthings on sale at Kohl’s thankyouverymuch. However, it’s such a treat to waltz into Victoria’s Secret, gift card in hand, with the ability to purchase at least one lovely thing or two with zero guilt.
You see, with gift cards, you are gifting your loved ones with both an experience and an actual thing. The opportunity to take yourself out to a restaurant or a store where you can not only obtain something you truly want, but also experience the joy of not paying for it with your own hard earned money, I think may trump the “thing” a gift-giver would have purchased that may or may not fit or may or may not have a good spot to place in your home, or may or may not be an item you would regularly use and enjoy.
So, delicious cookies and gift cards it is. I’m calling it my Christmas Simplification Experiment. Please share your comments with me, as I am open to other ideas on how to simplify the holiday season this year!