This Christmas I decided to scale back on gift giving and over spending on Holiday experiences. After finishing all the wrapping, I saw the amount of gifts I had and it triggered a panic attack. I am not kidding here, I know it sounds absurd but not giving a lot of gifts this year triggered an anxiety shock inside of me. I quickly went on Amazon to buy a few more gifts to ease my alarming nerves. I know that last sentence sounds obnoxious but it’s true. My love language for showing love is gift giving. So I show my love by giving the people I love multiple gifts. The more gifts I buy, the more love I am showing you. So when I only saw a few wrapped gifts, I panicked because I didn’t want to disappoint any of my loved ones. I didn’t want them to think I stopped caring about them. This is how my mind works as a hoarder. I attach an extreme value to ordinary items. In this video I share more in depth on my mini Christmas melt down:
In my last post I shared with you how I used to spend $3,000 on Christmas. That money sucking tradition is over. I really don’t want to do that again this year. Since I have so many nice new things in all my storage bins, I decided to do some regifting and make some crafts for gifts. A friend of mine gave me the idea that she was making gifts this Christmas. So I decided I would do the same things since I have an obnoxious amount of craft supplies on hand. Bonus it helps me follow my number 1 rule of “I need more things going out of my house than coming in!” As I was going through my craft supply bins, I found wreath wire, burlap ribbon, buffalo plaid ribbon and Christmas picks. I had bought them all at deep clearance last year. I made a beautiful burlap Christmas wreath for my Ladies Cookie Tasting and White Elephant Party for free! Well, sort of free, from money spent last year! In the video link below I shared a few regifting treasures and made a personalized Martini Shaker and Glass set for another girl’s Christmas dinner.
I shared before how Santa brings 25 gifts to each child for Christmas. This year is going to change. I know from past Christmases I could easily spend anywhere between $2,500-$3,000. This totals everything: gift-giving, dinners, parties, decorations, Christmas shows and experiences. Some of that would go on my charge card and some was cash. Luckily that’s all that is on my card and I could have it paid off by March. It’s crazy how fast one little holiday could add up to. The gifts to the children alone would be about $1,000. This has got to stop. Remember Susan Powter and the ” Stop the INSANITY!” slogan. Yeah, except I don’t need to lose weight, I need to lose this idea that I have to make the most magical Christmas every year. One could never be less than the previous year.
This Christmas will be focusing on being more frugal and enjoying the experiences more. Whether it’s visiting the local Tree Lighting ceremonies or taking the kids to see the local house lights in our area. No more expensive Christmas show, Train rides or Gingerbread Houses with Santa. Seriously, there was a make gingerbread house with Santa event and it was $50 per child. The second child is $10 off. So for $90 my kids came make a crappy cookie house and see Santa for 5 minutes. Sorry, I really dislike making gingerbread houses!! But the point is that I am going to focus more on fun frugal Christmas experiences this year.
As for presents, I have so many ladies’ dinners that have a white elephant present exchange. So $20-$25 gift limits there. The only positive thing about being a hoarder is: I have so many really nice new home décor that I have squirreled away in my house. I think it’s time to become a re-gifter or make a pretty craft with things I have. Luckily I am very crafty and bins upon bins of supplies. So that is how I am starting my December 1st! Vowing to cutting back on the cost of the holiday season and enjoying more family free experiences!
This weekend was super busy between hosting Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping and decorating our house…I’m surprised I’m still functioning. But after going downstairs in the basement, I realized what was waiting for me: bins upon bins of Christmas decorations that I need to haul out. Ugh…I’m too tired, why do I have so much? Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas and my house looks pretty all decorated but it’s so much work! My intention is to downsize some of my Christmas decorations but I am very emotionally attached to them. Those decorations tell a story of my Christmas during that year. This will be very hard for me to let go but I will take baby steps! I have to because I don’t want to look through 20+ bins every year!
Cleaning out this hoarded toy room is going to be a 10 part series! If you read yesterday’s blog post, you’ll quickly understand why this room is so hoarded! Since Santa brings 25 presents per child and the rest of the family follows suit in giving an additional 10 gifts per child, the value of toys make sense now. This year we are scaling back on gifts. If I want this toy room to finally be functioning, I cannot have another 50+ toys cluttering it back up. Plus, I now realize how wasteful this is. My kids don’t even play with all the toys. It could be from a combination of they can’t get in the room and there is just too much it’s overwhelming. I think all of the hours everyone had to work to afford those presents to just sit in a room, waiting for me to sell them at 80% off or donate to someone else. This is a new Christmas! A Christmas of enjoying experiences instead of buying more stuff. Below is a video of the progress we are making in the toy room!
It’s time for a confession: Santa brings the 25 presents each child for Christmas. Now before anyone screams out profanities, let me explain. As a child growing up in the 80’s, Santa brought me a minimum of 25 presents. It was like waking up to the Toys R Us Super Toy Run! I ran downstairs to see a plethora of gifts, candy and toys! Ohhh…it was glorious! I played with those toys until they broke. Jem & the Holograms, Barbie, She-ra and My Little Pony all hung out at Paradise Estates & Crystal Castle under the tree. I grew up thinking that was normal. So as I got married and had children, naturally Santa brings them 25 presents each too. And they have the same reaction I did…it’s like Toys R Us threw up all over the Christmas tree. It wasn’t until my brother-in-law pointed out that this was an insane amount of presents to give. He grew up with 5-10 presents under the tree with one of them being big. My husband experienced the same. He just let me do my thing because it had made me so happy. After talking to different people, I found out how excessive I was in my gift giving. This is so shocking to me. With Black Friday only 3 days away…I have decided to scale back this year. I will have to tell my boys that Santa will not being bringing as many presents as he did before. Big kids get bigger stuff like PS4 and iPads so it will be more around 10 gifts this year. I need to teach my children that this over consumption for Christmas is not okay.
November and December is a season of charity and giving. Everyone seems to be more open to service and helping the community during this time. I participate in two charities now in November. The first one we packed snack and toiletries bags for Robin’s Nest. That is a local shelter for runaway or troubled teens to live and be safe. The second charity is Operation Christmas Child. We pack shoeboxes filled with toiletries and toys for children all over the world. Charity is really therapeutic for my hoarding. It helps me see the good in letting go and giving to others in need. As a hoarder I hold onto things because I feel anxiety if I let it go. On the opposite spectrum, I feel joy of letting go if I know someone else is being blessed by it. I feel such a love come over my heart when I know I am doing good for the community. It is this transition of joy replacing anxiety that is helping me heal from my hoarding.