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21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge: Day 1

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s December! And I am determined to have a peaceful, simple, memorable month. Not one filled with stress, busyness, and exhaustion.

With this in mind, I’m going to be holding a 21-Day Challenge here on MoneySavingMom.com. For the next 21 days, I’ll be blogging about how to have a simple, memorable Christmas.

I’m not blogging about this because I have all the answers (believe me, I don’t!), but because I want to pursue peace instead of chaos this year. 🙂 It should be an interesting journey — and I’ll be sharing my mistakes, lessons learned, and successes along the way.

Would you like to join me? Here’s how it will work: Each morning, there will be a post with a few simple projects for you to complete, if you’d like to join me. And each evening, I’ll post my progress in completing those projects and how I’m doing at fulfilling my goal of having a calm Christmas season.

Day 1 Project

1. Download a copy of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas (see below). It’s FREE!

2. Read the introduction of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas. Write down a mission statement for yourself for this Christmas season. This should be more along the lines of what you hope to experience this Christmas season, not specific things you want to accomplish.

Come back here at 9 p.m. EST tonight and read my goals for this Christmas and share yours in the comments or blog link-up.

Get a FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas

Get Your FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring A Simple Christmas

Psst! Be sure to download your FREE Christmas ebook. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

To get a copy, just fill out your name and email address here. Then, click on the link in your inbox to confirm your email address. You’ll be emailed a download link as soon as you do so. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 1 {Update}

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

Today’s project was to read the introduction to Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.) and to write down a mission statement for yourself for this Christmas season.

Here’s my mission statement:

This December, I want to slow down, savor life, and focus on being present not perfect. I want to take time to notice the little things instead of rushing from one to-do to the next. I want stop, listen, and look instead of being so busy and focused that I miss the moments.

What’s your mission statement for December? Share it with us in the comments. And if you’re blogging about this challenge, I’d love it if you left a link to your blog post, too. Let’s encourage each other to simplify and savor this season more.

Get a FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas

Get Your FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring A Simple Christmas

Psst! Be sure to download your FREE Christmas ebook. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

To get a copy, just fill out your name and email address here. Then, click on the link in your inbox to confirm your email address. You’ll be emailed a download link as soon as you do so. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 2

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 2 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge and we’re broaching the “B” word. Yes, we’re talking about budgets.

I know, I know. It’s not glamorous. It’s not fun. And it sounds restrictive.

But here’s the thing: A budget can best one of the best ways to save your sanity and simplify your Christmas. Knowing exactly how much (or little!) you have to spend, will help you to plan your gifts and your shopping accordingly. And will guarantee that you don’t begin the new year with the burden of credit card debt from your holiday spending.

A budget gives you freedom. It lets you be in control of your money — not the other way around. You get to choose how much you’re going to spend and then be intentional about spending it.

When you have a plan, you are empowered. No longer do you have to worry whether you’re going to have enough money to cover your expenditures or whether you’re going to max out your credit cards. You know what you have to spend and that’s what you spend.

Approach your Christmas budget with a can-do, creative attitude. Don’t be frustrated or stressed over how little you have to spend and how many gifts you need to buy. Instead, see it as a challenge: how far can you make your budget go? Your attitude will go a long way in whether or not you are successful at sticking with your budget!

You can do this. I’m cheering for you!

Day 2 Project

1. Read chapter 1 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Decide on a workable, realistic Christmas budget. Don’t stress over this — just pick a number that you know is doable with the resources you currently have. If it feels too low but it’s all you have, don’t feel badly. We’re going to be talking about creative ways to maximize the mileage of your Christmas budget in the next week.

3. Come back at around 9 p.m. EST tonight and I’ll have a follow-up post sharing about our Christmas budget, plus encourage you to leave a comment telling us about yours.

Get a FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas

Get Your FREE Copy of Celebrating & Savoring A Simple Christmas

Psst! Be sure to download your FREE Christmas ebook. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

To get a copy, just fill out your name and email address here. Then, click on the link in your inbox to confirm your email address. You’ll be emailed a download link as soon as you do so. It’s my gift to you this year — and you’ll need it if you want to participate in this challenge!

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 2 {Update}

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

Today’s project was to read Chapter 1 of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.) and to determine your Christmas budget.

Our Christmas Budget

We typically start planning for Christmas spending halfway through the year. Since we use a cash envelope system, we just start socking away most of our gift cash for Christmas. In addition, we also save up our Swagbucks Amazon gift cards to use for Christmas presents. And I keep my eyes open for other ways to earn free gift cards or products that would be good for gifting.

By the time December rolls around, I usually have a nice stash of gift cash plus gift cards to use for gifts and this becomes our Christmas budget. By doing it this way, we don’t have to dip into any of our regular savings or other money to pay for Christmas–we just have to plan ahead and then look for deals to stretch that money as far as possible.

This year, I’ve saved up around $250 in our gift envelope plus Amazon credit that I’ll be using for gifts. We’re scaling back on Christmas presents this year and just drawing names for our extended family members, so this should make it pretty easy to stick with our budget.

Jesse has a separate cash stash that he uses to buy gifts for me and our kids for Christmas (most of it is from his blow money!), so I only buy a few things for the kids. I found a couple of deals on Black Friday that I snatched up, so other than stockings, I’m done with their shopping!

Did you figure out your Christmas budget? Share it with us in the comments. And if you’re blogging about this challenge, I’d love it if you left a link to your blog post, too. Let’s encourage each other to simplify and savor this season more.

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 3

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 3 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge! Now that you’ve got your Christmas budget in place, it’s time to figure out your Christmas gift list.

Some of you probably had this done ages ago — and that’s fantastic. The rest of us admire you. 🙂

If you haven’t had time to write down a gift list, today’s the day to do it!

Free_Printable_Christmas_gift_list-copy

Think of everyone you need/want to buy gifts for and then make a master list. You can use one of these free printable gift list spreadsheets, if you’d like.

Once you have your list written, step back and evaluate it. Do you need to be buying for everyone on that list? Can you afford to buy something for everyone on the list? If not, do you have time to make something for them?

Pare down your list, if need be, based upon the answers to these questions. This is not because you are not generous or cold-hearted, but because sometimes you just have to face the reality that you can’t do it all.

Streamlining and simplifying your gift list so that you have breathing room and aren’t exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed all December could be one of the best gifts you could give those closest to you — the gift of your presence!

Day 2 Project

1. Read chapter 2 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Make a list of everyone you’ll be buying gifts for this Christmas. Evaluate each recipient to make sure they are someone that should be on your list.

3. Come back at around 9 p.m. EST tonight and I’ll have a follow-up post sharing about our Christmas gift list and encouraging you to share about yours, too!

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 3 {Update}

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

Today’s project was to read Chapter 2 of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.) and to figure out your Christmas gift list.

Our Christmas Gift List

As I mentioned, we pared down our list this year. Here’s my list:

  • Immediate family: gifts + stocking stuffers
  • Extended family: Names we drew + a few family gifts
  • Our team members
  • White Elephant gifts for upcoming Christmas parties
  • Service workers: mail people, library staff, etc.
  • Kids’ friends

And I think that’s it. If I get inspired to do more, I might. But I’m giving myself grace this year to not have to do a bunch of gifts for a bunch of different people. And it feels good. 🙂

Did you figure out your Christmas gift list? Share it with us in the comments. And if you’re blogging about this challenge, I’d love it if you left a link to your blog post, too. Let’s encourage each other to simplify and savor this season more.