This week we bought stocking stuffers (6 candy canes for our family and my parents + 4 skate stickers for the boys) ($21), a gift card to the movies for my in-laws ($23), Prosecco and sparkling cider for Christmas Eve dinner ($17), bulk candy to decorate our gingerbread houses ($20), apple juice to make hot cider ($5), and unwrapped treats for our dog’s stocking ($11).
If I’m counting everything we spent on “the holidays”, I should include the gifts we gave our kids’ teachers before Thanksgiving break (to avoid the usual gift-giving bustle that ensues before winter break). On unwrapped bars of soap, beer, and/or cash gifts for over thirty teachers, we spent $116.
We also donated $25 to a local charity + two of the boys’ old trucks, to make room for the new trucks that will be under the tree. Although you might not be able to tell from the picture (they’d just been woken out of a car-sleep!), they really did feel proud about their donation. They kept saying, “We’re going to give our toys to kids who don’t have toys for Christmas.”
I’m not considering meal ingredients an extra expense since I’d be cooking anyway, and I’ll add another $14 because I know we’ll buy at least two more bottles of egg nog.
Overall we spent $56 on edibles/drinkables, $150 on decorations (Santa hats, lights, two annual ornaments, and a tree), and $372 on gifts.
Christmas $pending grand total for 2015: $585
It’s more than I thought we would spend, given our new mindset, but knowing that the average American family will spend $830 on gifts alone (which is more than double what we spent) makes me feel a little better. It’s also comforting to know we didn’t spend money on a wreath, an advent calendar, or cards (we designed our own, saved it as a JPEG, and sent it via email).
And as for money we won’t have to spend next year… we’ll already have Santa hats (-$30), and hopefully our 15-year lights will still work (-$30). I already bought 2016’s ornaments, but maybe in the future I could handcraft some using materials I already have. I don’t know if the boys would forego the tree farm (and that’s okay; it *is* so fun), but considering we live at the bottom of a mountain covered with redwood trees, perhaps we could harvest our own someday. I imagine we’ll spend roughly the same amount on treats, drinks, and gifts, although we only used half of the gingerbread house candy (-$10) and maybe we could spend a little less on gifts.
For Christmas 2016 we’ll shoot for a $500 limit. But this year, our Christmas plan (as declared by our three-year-old), is to “open presents, read books, and cuddle… and enjoy the Christmas tree.” He read my mind.