Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best Christmas Yet

This post has been a long time coming. We've safely returned to -10 degree weather in the great white north from our incredibly fun trip to Disney World - details to come! - and the Christmas Tree came down today.

I'm so happy that for the last 3 years I've kept a handy excel spreadsheet for tracking Christmas gifts and spending. For the past 3 years, we've dramatically reduced our Christmas spending from $1500 in 2011 to $1100 in 2012, and finally to $550 this year. What's amazing is that despite spending much less on the holiday each year, I think our happiness has actually grown incrementally as we've gotten more creative and thoughtful with our purchases and moved the emphasis away from gifts and focused more on experiences.

Some of our saving moves this year were:

- Buying a $25 Christmas Tree from the grocery store rather than cutting our own as we did in 2011 or purchasing from a fundraiser for more than double the price last year. Since we were going away between Christmas and New Years, the tree was less of a deal for us this year since we didn't have as much time to enjoy it.
- Opting for the free Santa photo at our local mall rather than making the trek to the mall a couple of cities over where the Santa looks authentic and the photos cost $25. This turned out to be a wise choice since N wanted nothing to do with Santa this year!
- DH and I decided not to exchange gifts this year and neither of us were disappointed! We still received a couple of small gifts from family so we weren't entirely gift deprived.
- Taking advantage of Kijiji (like new $80 hockey skates for $20) and Black Friday Sales (LeapPad $80 and new release Lego Marvel Superheroes PS3 Video Game $39)
- Using the Presidents Choice Gift Cards DH gets from work for Christmas to buy gifts
- Not doing Christmas cards

Christmas morning, the boys faces were lit up as they opened their stockings and few little gifts from Santa. Our gift to them was the Disney trip. The rest of the gift giving took place when we visited family and friends. We've completely found that the fewer the number of gifts, the more appreciative they are of each gift they open. As a side note, we enjoyed travelling over the holidays so much that we decided that we'd like to build travel into our Christmas traditions every year.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

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