Hallmark movies walked so that Netflix Originals could run.
I am a sucker for objectively lame Christmas movies. Your Christmas Prince sagas, Princess Switch, Knight Before Christmas–you name it, I’m all there.
I was looking for a bad Christmas movie to play in the background while I did all of my last minute holiday prep. Some inane nonsense to drone on and distract me from the monotony of my tasks. So I put this on.
And I had to pause it because dammit I actually loved it.
I don’t know what it was. The way everything connects, the heart, the emotion. I can’t explain it. It just spoke to me.
Is it objectively good? That’s up for debate. My thing is it struck a chord with me.
My youth is so far behind me now. And this film reminded me of that. Normally that fact would make me wilt with despair, but for some reason this uplifted me tonight.
Watching this movie, snug on my couch in a wooly blanket, strawberry wine in a mug and chocolate chip cookies from a tin, gifts wrapped and chores (mostly) done, husband out playing some reindeer games with a couple of our old friends, just feeling the peaceful presence of my two sons sleeping, dreaming upstairs in their rooms, no doubt visions of sugarplums (or more likely raving crabs for Vinny) dancing in their heads. Just all of a sudden it hit me.
I am a Mom.
This moment of stillness, enraptured in this Netflix Original John Green world I had found myself in, I pulled myself back because it all felt so familiar to me. The wild ride of relationships, friendships, painful awkwardness, young love, existential questioning, existential acceptance, just all of it. I was there.
And now I’m here. Enjoying a moment of quiet amidst the miraculous chaos that is motherhood. Reveling in the eye of the storm that is a summer sunshower and a roaring blizzard all at once.
I don’t really know what I’m saying. At least not to you. It all makes sense to me. So I feel compelled to share it.
I wanted to hate this film. But I love it, because it reminded me that a chapter in my life has closed. And I used to mourn that.
Now it feels complete.
I may fall back into my phase of life fearing ways once the strawberry wine and life high wears off, but for now, I want to thank Let It Snow for not being as terrible as I was hoping.
And I want to thank God for blessing me with the gift that is growing up. It’s an opportunity I never appreciated properly.
Merry Christmas everyone. I will talk to you in a new decade.
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas 🎁🎄🎅🏼 or whatever else you may celebrate, and that going into 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣9️⃣ has been full of fun and happiness and good things to come! 😌😌
A couple of posts ago, I said I’d share what I’ve been doing to keep things low cost this Christmas, so here ya go! 😁😁
Just a quick photo of some Keto Honey Roasted Peanuts I made for my Dad with Type 2 Diabetes. 🍯🥜 Sugar free and still delicious! 😋
I used ingredients we already had, with the exception of brown sugar substitute and peanuts. Recipe linked in the top picture!
❤️Despite being Introvert AF, I know and am pretty close with a lot of people. I have my biological family, my blended family, my in-laws, and my own growing family. Not to mention my diverse circles of friends.
That being said, I have a lot of people to shop for. Which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you can be stressful, both socially (wth do I get this person this time??) and financially.
In the past I could wild tf out on Christmas shopping with my “disposable” income, but with a mortgage, kids, and life expenses, I definitely don’t have that luxury anymore. 😅
I refuse to go into debt over the pressure of commercialism, but at the same time I do want to do or give something to my loved ones to show how much I appreciate them💖🥰
So how have I managed to cut down on this stress this year? I’ll tell you! 😙😙
🛍Stop Shopping Altogether🙅🏻♀️
In recent years, amongst my in laws we’ve all agreed to stop buying gifts for each other entirely, 🎁❌ opting instead to enjoy each others’ company and maybe baking/cooking for each other.
This has been AMAZING. 🙌🏻🙌🏻 Now we just get the kids gifts, which is honestly so much more fun! 👶🏽👦🏼👶🏻😁❤️
💰So obviously this is the best way to save money, and it encourages appreciation for what you already have. This would probably work best if you have a group of people that doesn’t need anything or who are impossible to buy for.
And if you don’t feel right not having anything to offer on Christmas Day, agree to make each other baked goods or freezer dinners or something of that nature. Everyone loves cookies and not having to cook! 💯
Not to mention, time spent together is so precious. The best gift we can give each other truly is ourselves. ❤️💯
🧮Set A Strict Budget👝
If you don’t think any of your family members or friends would want to go the no-gifts approach, the next best thing is to set a strict spending budget for each person on your list. 💵
This year for my immediate and blended family, I set a budget for $10 per person. And you’d be surprised what you can find for under $10. 💎🎯🤩
💭I’ve found that setting these spending limits forces me to be more creative and thoughtful with what I give. For example, I know my younger stepbrother is a guitar player 👨🏻🎤🎸so I’ve bought for him this year and last a different guitar accessory he doesn’t have, but would be useful, that was under $10!
I did something like this with each person, thinking hard about their interests and needs and going Amazon hunting for the best items within my range. 👀
It can be helpful to perhaps look through your expenses and see realistically how much you can afford to spend on Christmas shopping. Then make a physical list of who you have to shop for, and do some…
For instance, if you can afford to spend $200 on gifts that season, and have 15 people to shop for, the price cap would be about $13 per person (dividing 15 by 200…Or is it 200 by 15? 😅😅 Math was never my strong suit).
Think long and hard about what each person needs or what would really make them happy, and set your sights on stores and websites that work with your ideas and your budget.
You could also coordinate with other family members to see what they are buying for others to see if you could contribute an add-on to their gift. 👍🏻
For example, if you have a niece who is obsessed with LOL Dolls and you know Grandma is buying her an LOL Dollhouse, you could buy her a piece of furniture or whatever goes with that thing. 😂😂
Don’t feel the need to break bank over these fad toys. Chances are she’ll be over it in a year or two. 👌🏼👌🏼
💡I’ve also seen on Facebook to start a fund in the New Year set aside for gifts for the next Christmas Season. So maybe every other paycheck set aside $5-10 or whatever you can swing and put it in a shoebox, open a new account, or whatever will help you not touch it until you start your shopping. 💵💰
📜Give Them An IOU😘
So this is my favorite because it combines repurposing with saving money and forces you to think outside the box. 📤📦
And it is helpful if you really can’t think of anything to get a person on your list that would be useful or appreciated within the budget you just set. 🤷🏻♀️😅
As you can see, my DIY skills could get me a spot on Netflix’s Nailed It! 💯😂
For my close friends this year, I got the idea (although I never checked to see if it was a case of parallel thinking but I like to believe this was an original idea 😅) to create “IOU Jars.”
🥜I buy Teddy’s peanut butter for my family, which comes in a glass jar. In the past I have used these jars for storing food items, loose change, and even for other holiday-related things like hot cocoa and cookie mixes for Yankee Swaps.
This year, I took my collection of peanut butter jars and lids and filled them with my friends’ favorite candy that I purchased from the dollar store, a packet of hot cocoa that I got in bulk, and enclosed a personalized note telling them how much they mean to me and why I appreciate them individually. ❤️🥰
On this note I also included an “IOU,” or something that I would get/do for them in the upcoming year.
🍷So instead of spending a chunk of change on a bunch of hastily picked out stuff for the sake of getting a gift (I go into panic mode if I don’t know what to get someone and I end up just grabbing stuff that they might vaguely like), I included in my note that I owed them either a matinee to see a movie they’re excited about coming up, a brunch date to a cute but affordable restaurant, or a night in with a bottle or two of wine for them to “cash in” at some point during the year.
This way, I still feel like I’ve gotten all my special friends a good gift, but didn’t have to stress about the extra expense all at once.
Not because they’re not worth it. They deserve that and so much more. ❤️❤️❤️We just happened to have a bit of unexpected expenses come up just before to Christmastime and money was getting a bit tight, so this idea came to light as a result.
📦Go Ahead And Horde (Responsibly!)
Lastly as a bit of an afterthought, I save almost everything. Which as a recovering pack rat and someone who is trying to convert to minimalism can be a challenge, but in cases like this it helps!
🛍🎁I have amassed a collection of gift bags and tissue paper over the years for birthdays, showers, and of course Christmas, so I actually haven’t bought any of the stuff in a couple of years. If you have the storage space, I highly suggest starting a big “bag of bags and tissue paper” you can visit for your gift-Giving needs.
I used to spend a ridiculous extra amount on gift wrapping… 💸💸💸
Also, save those candy canes!! Most people don’t like to eat them, and I feel like a lot of them get thrown away, but they make super cute decorations for things other than the tree!
My Insta Pic skills aren’t the sharpest, but just an example of what you can do with those cute candy canes! 😍
🎨And instead of spending extra money on decorations, make some with your kids! It will keep them busy and happy during cold days and your house will be festive and adorable!
Not to mention the priceless keepsakes you’ll have afterwards. 🥰🥰🥰
💬Did I miss anything? What tips do you have for saving money over the holidays? Leave them in the comments!
Thanks for reading, my gals! ❤️😍
Stay tuned for posts on What’s In My Hospital Bag For Baby 2, Why Spending Time Away From My Son Makes Me A Better Mom, and maybe a Second Pregnancy Update/How This Time Is Different Than The First.
If any of those sound interesting to you, subscribe so you don’t miss it! 😘😘