Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hard Candy Christmas: Frugal, Wise, Or Am I Just Plain Cheap?

Yesterday at the grocery store I listened to the cashier and the bagger talk about buying Christmas presents. "I've still got to buy presents for my husband's brother and his family. I don't know what I'm going to get them but I'll have to wait until I get my paycheck cashed."

To that the bagger replied, "My mom has put everything on her credit card. She will be fussing about it when the bill comes!" They both laughed and the cashier looked at me and said, "Well, I guess there is no way out, what are you going to do anyway? It's Christmas."

I smiled at her and said (What was I thinking? I should have just poked myself in the eye with a sharp stick!), "My family isn't giving gifts to each other this year that cost over $25. We don't have any little children . We decided that we just don't need anymore stuff. We only buy for our immediate family, not the extended family because they all live out of state and shipping is just too expensive. We would spend more on that than presents. "

She stopped dead in her tracks, mouth slightly open as she stared at me, "No presents over $25? None?" "None. We took a trip to see my daughter at Thanksgiving and we are using the money we would have spent on presents for paying debt and to increase our savings." She narrowed her eyes and grunted, "That doesn't sound like much fun. Don't you think ya'll will miss opening lots of presents on Christmas morning? I would hate that."

I replied that I didn't think that would be a problem as we had other things planned for the day and that just being together would be enough. I took a minute to try to explain how important it was to us to get out of debt and for our children to understand the concept of living a debt free life, not to mention learning to put the idea of having so much "stuff" in it's proper place.

I was met with nothing more than a look of annoyance and a muttered " Well, I guess so, but it sure doesn't sound like Christmas to me." As I walked away I think I heard the word cheap muttered by someone. I left the store feeling a little chastised to say the least. I loaded my groceries and on the drive home questioned our decision to forgo so many presents. Am I wrong? Is a Christmas without lots of presents somehow not Christmas at all? Am I indeed being "cheap"? Should I feel ashamed that I'm not loading the space under my tree with beautifully wrapped, put on the credit card, presents?

By the time I had reached home I had calmed down enough to answer the question with just one word. No.

Why should I be ashamed of living within my means? Who created the idea that spending money you don't have is a virtue? And why did I even have to think twice about it being one? Old habits die hard.

Somewhere along the way we have been made to think that we should identify our self worth with the stuff we possess. I want to change forever the way of thinking that says I need to be ashamed of not being able to afford something. I want to instill in my family the idea that saving for what you want, or just for a rainy day, is a virtue. Now that, that is a gift worth giving.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beautiful Blogs: Junk Mail Gems

Some people just seem to think in a different way than the rest of us. I love the blog Junk Mail Gems because Gretchen is one of those cool people. Right now she has some really cute recycling ideas for the holidays.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dolls To Make

There is still time to make one of these adorable dolls for your favorite little person. A handmade gift is a gift from the heart.

My Tree

Clearance garlands bought 2 years ago for $2. Free chandelier crystals from my sister. Thrift store ornaments and a brand new 4.5 ft tree bought for $11.00 to replace the 7 ft one that I don't have room for this year. I love my little Christmas tree.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

New Orleans

We spent Thanksgiving weekend in New Orleans with our daughter. We had a wonderful time. We saw so much it is hard to know what to post. I'll start with the St. Louis Cathedral. The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. People have been worshiping on this spot since 1718 and this building was completed in 1794. The cathedral faces Jackson Square where a statue of Andrew Jackson stands. Inside the cathedral is breathtaking. The murals are exquisite and the stained glass is fabulous. Even the gift shop is beautiful! Afterwards, we treated ourselves at the Cafe du Monde. The cafe opened in 1862 and is famous for it's cafe' au lait and French-style beignets. We did some shopping in the French Quarter and some more sight seeing. There are beautiful enclosed courtyards at the homes along Chartre street. It is interesting how many people live right in the middle of the all the businesses. New Orleans is a beautiful city full of interesting sights and people. I have more pictures to share., including some great ones of the local graveyards. We had a wonderful time.