How do you downsize to a tiny Christmas easily? Well for us, I’m going to put it bluntly. Have a really crappy “God saved it” kind of Christmas. By “really crappy” I mean “no presents what so ever, bills stacked up, no money to get butter to go with our bread, beans and rice and it’s 2 days before Christmas” kind of crappy. By “God saved it” I mean a dear soul followed a prompting from God to give enough for a few small presents AND a small yum meal! That was the best buttered rolls and ham we have EVER had!
- The meal was quickly decided to be an important one – ham and dressin’ isn’t something we eat often. Having spaghetti or something similar just seems way to “normal day-like”.
- The Christmas Tree – We didn’t have a tree for the Great (Crappy) Christmas which made me so bummed. Like mopey, fit throwin’ bummed yall. Christmas without a tree was unfathomable. We did end up with a tiny one though so yay! And that told me just how important it was for me. Which is why Mr. refers to it as “my tree of happiness”.
- Gingerbread houses are great – but one family house, even a store bought premade, is just as fun to decorate! They do not care if they don’t each get their own little house. Nor do they care if they have 15 different candies to choose from. Two or three is just fine – they are children, they are super creative!
- Elf on a Shelf – say what you will about Toby, but last year when he magically showed up at the house, it was so much fun and made the season that much more special. (Our only rule is we can’t touch Toby or he loses his magic to fly. We don’t do the “Santa only comes to good children” thing.)
- Reading the Nativity Story – over and over we talk about it. Now that the children are getting older, we talk about the different Gospel versions and how the people must have felt at different times. This year seeing it on stage added a whole ‘nother dimension to their thinking.
- The Advent Wreath – this is one I was hoping to bring back this year but just plain forgot to do every night the first 2 weeks. It sits under the TV instead of on the table because, well, we don’t have a table yet. Next year we will have a table and it will be done again.
- Secret Santa – the children draw names for a Secret Santa Gift. We let them pick out whatever they want but try to steer them towards wanted or needed items instead of toys. These have become our Christmas Eve present.
- Gifts – this has been slashed drastically. We do 3 gifts – if it was good for Jesus, it’s good for our children. I stick with: something to read, something to do and something to wear. Sometimes those also fall into the “something they want or something they need” category as well. Typically the “to wear” is from mama and daddy because I inevitably have to check a size and Santa wouldn’t have to do that. Most others are wrapped (with different paper than mama’s) and brought by Santa. I only purchase if it’s 50% off (books are an exception), rarely at Walmart and clothes are from the consignment store (who can beat $5 Ralph Lauren button ups or Justice dresses?!)
- Stockings – I am still struggling with. This was almost my favorite part of Christmas growing up – all the neat little treasures! I do not like a ton of candy around the house, but it is a quick and easy filler. Small things, even at $1 add up quickly when there are many stockings to fill. I’m also not a fan of $1 store China imports – easy, cheap fillers but they are broken and thrown away so quickly it feels like a major waste and does not help the no-clutter rule. This year I cut the candy by adding treats I never purchase like jerky and s’mores trail mix. Maybe a little healthier… Any other ideas would be wonderful!
And just like that, for 6 children a tiny Christmas for under $300. It’s a shock to me when I remember how much I spent when there was only 3 children! Our simple Christmas!