I love Christmas! Giving and receiving gifts is one of the highlights of our family’s year. In my mind nothing beats it for family togetherness and sharing expressions of love.
As a parent though, I’m often hit with a January hangover. My headache comes from watching the majority of the presents I bought for my children lie dormant in a corner of their room. I would say that over 80% of the toys my wife and I purchase the kids each Christmas are played with a couple of times and then left to collect dust. That’s frustrating considering the money we shell out for them.
So last year we asked them to make a list of the items they wanted. They did. We bought them. Same issue occurred.
I’m not mad at the kids. I guess we just have trouble hitting their toy sweet spot.
So just the other week my wife and I decided to do something different this year. We aren’t buying any Christmas presents. To our surprise, when we told the kids what we were doing, they were 100% enthusiastically behind it.
Our Alternative to Christmas Presents
Instead of buying Christmas presents that will only be played with a few times we are going on a 5-day vacation. We originally had designs on heading to North Carolina for some introductory skiing and tubing. Then an early cold spell hit Atlanta and we thought “Why do we want to go be wet and cold for five days?” So we rethought the decision and decided our destination will be sunny south Florida. That sounds like a better place to go in the middle of winter, right?
The main attractions on our list to visit are the Everglades, Key Largo and Key West. Given their proximity to one another, they seem like natural locations to knock off our bucket list. The kids have never been there and are pumped about the prospect of seeing some alligators, going on an airboat ride and standing in the southern most part of the continental U.S.
This Christmas Will Cost More
This will not be a cheaper Christmas however. We will in fact be spending more than if we had just filled the stockings and piled presents under the tree. Two things came together that allowed us to take on this expenditure.
One, we had money left over in our vacation fund from the summer. Two, we had been saving all year for Christmas presents anyway. As I mentioned in a post this past January, we set aside money each month so when December rolls around we have cash to pay for our gifts. So we took the gift money saved for Christmas presents and combined it with what was left over from the summer. Voila…there’s our vacation money.
This Christmas May Mean More
We will still be spending time with our extended family on Christmas day. We definitely don’t want to miss out on that family time. But I’m excited about the chance to do something different. I think this Christmas has the potential to mean more in the long run for our kids.
Toys are great but the memories created through quality family time will outlast any toy that could be received. That’s what my wife and I are hoping to create this Christmas. And we are more than happy to spend a little more than normal at Christmas to make it happen.
Have you ever gone on vacation during the holidays instead of buying Christmas presents? Parents – do you face the same dilemma we do with your kids quickly losing interest in their toys? What’s the best gift you’ve ever received at Christmas?