Psalm 30:5

"...across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter." --Psalm 30:5

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Different Kind of Christmas

Photo by Rebecca Ferguson-Ondrey
Each year, we have a debate in my family about what we'll "do" for Christmas: Do we buy gifts for everyone?  Do we pick names? Do we donate whatever we can towards a "goat" (one year we did a family contribution to Heifer International)?

Photo by Rebecca Ferguson-Ondrey
Last year, Mike and I were feeling poor and tired.  Sierra had arrived 2 weeks prior to Christmas, and she'd decided she was going to be a very fussy baby for about 2 months.  We were transitioning from a two-income household to a single-income household.  And despite our best efforts, we hadn't planned for that transition as well as we should have.  So we announced that we were giving everyone a granddaughter/niece.
No presents.  Which turned out to be really wise, 'cause I never would have had the time to go shopping for them anyway!

And despite the wisdom of the decision, I still felt a bit bad opening others gifts to me that year and not having anything to give in return.
 This year feels different.  We're still poor, and Sierra has recently decided she no longer wants to take her morning nap (though I'm hoping she'll go back to it in a couple of days/weeks!)  But I've been planning a bit.  In July, my friend Robyn got me started on Swagbucks.  For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it's basically a site where you do a lot of the activities you'd normally do online (searches, surveys, polls, games, watch videos), and you get "paid" for them in swagbucks.  When you accumulate enough of these swagbucks, you can redeem them for $5 Amazon gift cards.  I've cashed a few in over the last few months, but in general, I've been stockpiling for December.  Mike's birthday is the 20th, Sierra turns 1 (oh my goodness!) on the 11th, and then, of course, there's Christmas.  In all, I've had about $100 at Amazon to spend for people this year!

I've also had the fortune of coming across a few other really good deals which have also helped substantially (thanks, Money Saving Mom)!

  • I was able to get (2) free American Express gift cards ($25 each) courtesy of Fedex for Small Business Saturday.
  • I signed up for Plum District at a time when they were offering a $10 credit for sign-up (it's currently $5).  I held onto it until recently when they offered a code for another $10.  I used the $20 (free to me) to purchase a $40 credit for The Little Seed.  Got $40 worth of free stuff and paid about $5 shipping.
All in all, we've been able to buy the gifts that we want to give for everyone without spending anything out of our everyday-budget.  It's been an incredible experience for me.  I feel like I finally got something right!

How do you pay for holiday gifts in your family?

No comments:

Post a Comment