The Spirit of Christmas Budgets.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

I’m making it official. I decided to analyze then formalize my Christmas time shopping habits. So far, I’m thinking that I like the impact this process has upon my holiday spirit!

But the season is young. And I could be mistaken. Nah. I like where I am headed with it all.

Last week I purchased large holiday gift bags. In these past few months I have been cleaning and recleaning my closet, bedroom and bath room. Each session inspires the next. I discover a forgotten top or two, wonder if I still like them. If I decide the top is no longer representative of the 2022 me, then I throw them in my recycle laundry bag. I do make sure I challenge myself with basketball practice as I try to toss it in from eight feet back.

Games. Games are necessary.

Through the Woods

Last Saturday I wrapped the first four gifts I purchased for family. I had been the mother, the wife, and that person who goes a bit over the top with Christmas, including gifting. I don’t do that anymore. In fact my family has steered away from heavy duty gift giving.

But still, the season is Christmas. And even slightly giving means a bit of buying. Then wrapping, labeling and hiding until the special morning.

Plus gift giving is fun!

When my family was larger and responsibilities greater (the gift exchange among in-laws and elementary school celebrations), I began the process of Christmas planning early in July. I purchased gifts in September but I waited until late December until wrapping. Even decorating was a bit hasty.

Pressure. There was a lot of pressure.

So I have decided to give myself time. I take my time but I start early, finishing each batch of gifts as I go along. I found out generally that I do not think effectively when I am rushed. I’m fairly smart and wise if I give myself time and structure.

And there is another part to my season. Last year I discovered that I was buying myself gifts as well. How selfish! I thought.

This year I realized that sales were particularly good. I am not a sales type shopper. And with my cleaning of late, I did not want to buy only for the thrill of buying.


With store inventories at all time highs, now is the time for customers to buy.

Reasonably priced lightweight down coat?Half off?

Yes. Yes, indeed. I cannot buy five, in each color. I suppose I could, but no. Yes to one quality, updated coat.

(Boots are next but I can wait with those. Plus I feel a need to make myself earn them and to force myself to shop for myself with the same discernment I do otherwise).

So, getting to specifics, here are my presents for this time of year:

The First Snow

1. Time. I am taking time to think. I am taking time to pause. It’s the number one best gift you can give to yourself. Start the habit now, not as a habit because a person won’t do it. There are too many other errands and whatnot to do. Nope, time is a gift to yourself. Learn it now.

2. Health. I started or restarted my dancing. In fact, I take a bit of time in the morning and a bit in the evening. Ten minutes or more each time and the sessions are not video worthy. I am working on my physique! One goal as I get older is preserving my activity level. I wish to keep that gift I have received. Finally.

3. Family care.

4. As you shop, seriously invest in items for yourself. How old are your brassieres? Do you need one new shaper foundation garment for the holidays? Get a good quality one! As you buy basics for family – stocking stuffers – ask yourself if you need one new pair of wonderful socks. (I have a sock fetish).

5. Skincare. I have delayed my purchase of good skincare products because they are a bit pricey. They last a year or more. I have been without them for months. I am going to take the advice I have been preaching! Time to replenish my skincare products.

One word of caution in your online shopping. I buy my skincare products directly from the company. I wanted to support an online marketplace but when I attempted to do so, the same products were priced 70% higher – yes, it is true – than the direct price. At first I reasoned that inflation had raised costs. I returned to the company website and the catalog. Prices were almost half of the online market price.

Be a smart, wise shopper! Check prices. Verify shipping costs.

I spend a bit more on my facial and specialty products. For basic body lotion I have found the best to be a drugstore version with a useful pump bottle. It’s perfect! It works!

Winter hint: Place the bottle in front of heated air vent while you shower. By application time, lotion is slightly warmed! Marvelous!

6. Repairs. Months ago I broke the clasp on my favorite necklace. Time now to get it repaired.

7. I annually schedule vacation for January. No, not to go anywhere tropical, but I like the pause after Christmas. The weather is snowy. The decorations are still up. Family is still visiting. Plus, I give myself time for annual exams. I catch up with dentist, on/gyn, mammogram and general physical. I get my legs and feet checked. But it’s November when I make those phone calls for appointments.

Plus I hound family members to do the same!

8. Last, at least for this week’s list, I make arrangements to do something. Book that weekend overnight stay. Nothing huge or extravagant, but plan a mini-trip. Plan to attend a concert!

Well, for starters, that is my Christmas list I wanted to share. I had budgeted for Christmas and even a bit extra for these extras! Next year though I will budget for them separately!

Sigh. It is Christmas time. My fifty-seven years have taught me, but I think the past eight years I finally started to listen!

Take the time. Make time for Christmas. Budget for it. Budget for you.

Lots of love,

Steph. XO.

PS. Might be just barely, but I gave myself the push to write. “Complete today, Steph. Write today.” With 25 minutes left to the day, I did it. I’ll get better at it, but I will take a win as slight as it may be!

Published by Stephanie Monka Springborn

Hi. Welcome to my blog, the brick dandelion. I am... just me. Thank you for joining me. Love and Blessings, ~Stephanie

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