Christmas Our style {and don't forget that A Handmade Christmas starts tomorrow!}

I love special occasions like holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc. It is so fun to decorate, make things special and maybe even dress up. I also enjoy gifts, giving them and, yes, getting them. It is fun to see them all wrapped up pretty to know the excitement that a gift brings.

But that said there are things I don't like about what I mentioned above. I don't like feeling overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to get just the right thing while staying within our budget, I don't like getting something that I know somebody spent good money on and I don't even know if I will ever use it, I don't like to see children all focused on writing lists of what they want and not ever thinking about others, I don't like commercialism, I don't like the idea of going into debt simply over a holiday and I don't like all the waste - the buying of things that we don't really need, quite likely with money that we don't have.

So when Ken and I discussed how we would celebrate Christmas in our home those topics of course came up. We wanted to make sure that we did not incorporate the things I didn't like into our holiday. So what worked for us was to come up with some rules:
This is what has worked Beautifully for us {I repeat- for us- each family can come up with what best works for them.}
  • Christmas gift exchange is done only within our small family, that doesn't mean that was haven't given gifts to others or received them from others but we do not participate in any gift exchange. When we give to others it is without any thought that we will get anything in return and we have never started any sort of exchange with extended family either.

  • We each have a Christmas stocking and all gifts are required to fit inside. That is just the way we have chosen to limit gifts. It doesn't necessarily limit the expense as you can find small expensive things -but we have kept our spending very reasonable. Family members have to work together to make sure that each of their presents will fit in each persons stocking.
  • This isn't a rule but just what we do- most of the gifts are handmade. I made most of the kid's gifts which are given from Ken and I. The kids make all of their gifts which they give to each other and to Ken and I. We have fun for at least the month before Christmas sharing ideas, working together, having little secrets which the others don't mind being excluded from because they know it means something special for them. Pretty nearly all our handmade stuff is made with things that we already have on hand (we do a lot of repurposing around here - you know like "trash to treasure") which makes them basically free.
  • We do not buy a Christmas tree but decorate simply with natural things that we can find in the woods, and other things that we have around the house. One Christmas splurge we do enjoy is lights. Ken has collected lights every year when they go on clearance and he puts up a pretty nice display now.

I am sure most people might find our style very sparse but we love it! The kids get very excited about Christmas and absolutely love making things to give. They also very much enjoy the presents they get. Last year I believe it was Mara who commented "I don't know which is more fun, getting presents or giving them."

During the Christmas we also enjoy having company over for a big meal. Last year we had a pretty big group with extended family and various others who didn't have anywhere else to go for the holiday. We have fun decorating for that and preparing our home cooked food. Usually we spend a lot of time playing games and visiting too.

If you are interested in (or quite likely already working on!) making handmade gifts for Christmas too ~ I want to invite you to come back here tomorrow for the beginning of "A Handmade Christmas". I will be sharing handmade gift ideas, decorating, etc. and will have a McLinky up so you can link up your posts of Handmade things as well! Please join me! (There is a giveaway planned for those who link

up too!)

This post is Linked to We are THAT family for Works for Me Wednesday. Kristen has a theme today and that is what works for you during the Holidays. I am sure there will be a lot of interesting posts full of lots of neat ideas.