MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Tag Archive: 21 Days to a Simple Christmas

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 11

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 11 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge! Christmas wouldn’t be complete without reading some wonderful Christmas stories and books!

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Personally, I’m reading through Ann Voskamp’s book, The Greatest Gift, this season. It’s beautiful, inspiring, and convicting.

And then we always check out a lot of Christmas books from the library. Here are a few of our favorites (most of these should be available at your local library):

.

The Christmas Story

The Gingerbread Boy

Gingerbread Baby

Gingerbread Friends

The Mitten

B is for Bethlehem

The Baby Born in a Stable

White Snow, Bright Snow

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Great Joy

If you have younger children, it’s fun to gather a basket-full of Christmas read-alouds and plan a daily time to read for 10-15 minutes. Let your children choose from the basket to make it more engaging for them.

Want to make it even more exciting? wrap up the books and let them unwrap a few each day.

What are some of your family’s favorite read-aloud Christmas books? I’d love to find new ones to add to our list of favorites!

Day 11 Project

1. Read chapter 7 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas if you didn’t get a chance to read it yet. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Pick 1-2 Christmas-related books to read this year personally. If you have children, pick at least a few books to read together as a family this Christmas season.

4. Come back around 8 p.m. tonight where I’ll share a few of the Christmas books we’ll be reading over the next two weeks.

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 10 {Update}

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 10 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge! Today we’re talking about creating a Christmas Bucket List.

Here’s our Christmas Bucket List for 2014:

  • Go ice-skating.
  • Decorate Christmas cookies.
  • Read Christmas books together.
  • Go to a family movie together at the theater.
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights as a family.
  • Go to Dollar Tree for a family shopping night to buy stocking stuffers.

We also scheduled these out on the calendar and everyone is excited for each of these things — and so am I!

Did you create your Christmas Bucket List? If so, I’d love to have you share your list or a link to your blog post (if you posted about it).

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 10

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 10 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge!

I love the Christmas season. I love the sights, smells, tastes, sounds… all of it. But you know what I don’t love? That so many people feel rushed, hurried, and frazzled during Christmas.

The heart of Christmas is not about impressing people or running around at a crazy, frantic speed. And making either of those things your focus is certainly not going to help you celebrate and savor the season!

Creating a Christmas Bucket List

One thing that has helped us to slow down and just enjoy December is to create a Christmas Bucket List. We all sit down as a family and choose a few things that each of us really wants to do for Christmas.

Things we’ve put on our Christmas Bucket List in the past:

  • Building a snowman
  • Playing in the snow as a family
  • Decorating Christmas cookies
  • Going ice-skating
  • Doing an Advent project
  • Going to the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Driving around and looking at Christmas lights as a family
  • Watching a Christmas movie together

By the time we’re done discussing our Bucket List, we’ve come up with a great list of memorable activities to do together and since everyone gave their input, there’s something (or more than one thing) on the list that each person will really enjoy.

We spread these activities out during the whole month of December, doing a few items each week. Because our list is not long and overwhelming and because we have four weeks to do it, we’re able to really take time to enjoy each thing and create beautiful memories.

This tradition has been one of the best things we’ve ever implemented to help us stay focused, calm, and intentional during the Christmas season. And it also helps us to say “no” to most of the other ideas and opportunities that come up that aren’t already on our list.

Day 10 Project

1. Read chapter 6 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas if you didn’t get a chance to read it yet. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Sit down as a family and create a simple Christmas Bucket List.

3. Look at your calendar and decide when you’re going to do each of these things. If there isn’t time or space, cull a few things off the list.

4. Come back around 8 p.m. tonight where I’ll share our family’s Christmas Bucket List this year and encourage you to do the same.

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 9 & Update

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 9 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge!

If you decided to send Christmas cards yesterday, today’s the day to get to work on them. Design the card, write the letter, or buy your cards.

Also, organize your Christmas address list, make sure you have stamps and address labels, and contact anyone you need to contact to get their address or an updated address. (We keep a running address spreadsheet on the computer with all our contacts in it and try to update it throughout the year so that there’s not a mad scramble for addresses at the last minute.)

Day 9 Project & Update

1. Read chapter 5 from Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas if you didn’t get a chance to read it yet. (Did you sign up for your free copy yet? If not, click here and fill out the form to be emailed a copy.)

2. Finish your Christmas cards within the next 48 hours.

3. Address, stamp, and mail your Christmas cards no later than Saturday.

My Update: Since we’ve opted to simplify and not send cards this year, I get to skip today’s project. 🙂

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Day 8 & Update

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 8 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge! And today we’re talking about Christmas cards.

As a child, one of the highlights of Christmas was receiving all the Christmas cards and letters from friends near and far. We’d keep the letters in a basket, string the cards around our living room, and put the family pictures on the refrigerator.

Sometimes, the Christmas letter was our only real communication with friends from our past. But it kept us up on their lives and gave us a small sense of connection, even though our paths had drifted apart.

It was always exciting to hear of marriages, babies, grandchildren, trips, new jobs, and exciting adventures. It was fun to see how the family pictures changed over the years. And it was always somewhat of a thrill to see how many strings of cards we’d be able to hang up.

Many people opt not to send Christmas cards or letters any more. There are many valid reasons given: “We’re too busy living life to take the time to write about it.” “We can’t afford to mail cards since postage has gone up so much.” Or maybe, “We didn’t get a decent family picture.”

I definitely think that Christmas cards and letters are an optional aspect of Christmas and I totally respect people who have chosen not to send cards in order to keep Christmas simple. That said, I think that we’ve become so used to texting and Facebooking and emailing, that sometimes we forget the joy of sending and receiving real physical mail via the postal service.

Creative Christmas Letter Ideas

If the thought of writing a detailed letter is overwhelming to you, here are some creative Christmas letter ideas:

Put together a Top 10 list from the past year.

Make a graph of some interesting facts from the past year.

Create a newspaper-style letter with short stories and tidbits from the past year.

Other Simple and Inexpensive Ideas

If you’ve decided that sending a Christmas letter isn’t your thing or mailing out a lot of cards or letters is outside your budget, here are some other ideas:

::Send photo cards.

We’ve skipped sending a letter for the past few years, but we have sent out photo cards. It’s a very simple way to send a Christmas greeting and share pictures of our family with dear friends and those we don’t get to see often.

::Send out your letter as a PDF via email.

Can’t afford to mail your letter? It’s perfectly okay to send it out as a PDF attachment via email. Be sure to include some sort of teaser in the email you send out so that people will be sure to open the attachment and read the letter! 🙂

::Post your Christmas card on Facebook.

Jenae’s family decided to post their Christmas picture/card on Facebook in lieu of sending out a Christmas card. This might not work for everyone–especially if most of your recipients are not on Facebook–but it’s definitely an inexpensive option!

Day 8 Project & Update

1. Read the above post or chapter 5 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 whether or not you’re going to send Christmas cards this year. If so, what types of cards are you going to send? Are you going to send a letter?

My Update: After some thought and consideration, we decided to streamline and keep it simple this year and not send Christmas cards. This is the first year in awhile that we’ve not sent cards, but it was a big relief to decide to simplify things this year and skip this tradition. And we’ll probably pick it back up next year. 🙂

21 Days to a Simple Christmas: Days 6 & 7

Join the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge

It’s Day 6 & 7 of the 21 Days to a Simple Christmas Challenge!

Today I want to take a little time to talk about ordering online — one of my favorite ways to find great deals and simplify my life! If you don’t typically shop online, I encourage you to read my post on DaveRamsey.com on How to Be an Online Shopping Ninja. Here’s a snippet:

Shopping online is not only convenient, but it also saves you money—especially if you’re armed with my secrets for sleuthing out super deals. Here are three of my favorite ways to get the best bang for your buck online:

1. Use a Coupon Code

My husband and I have a policy to never purchase anything without first finding a coupon code to use. I’ve tried a lot of different coupon code websites and I’ve also tried Googling for coupon codes, but in my opinion, nothing compares to RetailMeNot.com. They are the best coupon code website in existence right now.

All you have to do is go to their homepage, search for the store you’re planning to shop from, and ta-da! you have a long list of coupon codes that have been rated by their large community of users. More often than not, I’m able to find at least one coupon code from the long list that works for me. And, for possibly one to two minutes of effort, that coupon code will usually save me at least 10% off my order—sometimes even as much as 25%!

Read the full article.

There are so many ways to get great deals by shopping online. And my favorite part is that you never have to leave home — you don’t have to deal with traffic, you don’t have to find a parking space, you don’t have to stand in line… it’s just all around so much more efficient. Plus, a lot of times I find that the deals are better online, too!

I got this email yesterday that illustrates how great online shopping can be:

I just want to thank Crystal for recommending both Swagbucks and Rakuten (formerly Ebates). I am saving so much money this Christmas shopping season between these two places. I do most of my shopping on Amazon and can use my Swagbucks gift cards and while not all Amazon categories are eligible for rebates, I make sure to use Rakuten whenever they are.

I also did some shopping on other sites, like Kohl’s, JCPenney, and Target and got rebates on all of that. So far, I have almost $30 in rebates and have earned $140 in gift cards from Swagbucks. Thank you, thank you, thank you! -Sarah

Day 6 & 7 Project

1. Read chapter 4 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. If you’re planning to shop online, be sure to sign up for Rakuten and check out RetailMeNot.com.

3. Take some time to just stop and enjoy your weekend — even if it’s just 5 minutes of quiet or taking time to write down blessings from this past week. Step back and refresh, relax, and refuel. Life doesn’t always need to be lived at breakneck speed!