Are You Celebrating Christmas with Your Kids in January?

by Miranda Marquit · 10 comments

I read something interesting in the paper the other day: Some parents are putting off Christmas until January. Tight budgets are back in vogue, and many parents are just waiting until the after Christmas sales in order to buy their gifts.

We are fortunate enough to have all our Christmas shopping done right now, but I do know some folks who are really feeling the pinch this year, and reluctant to spend a great deal of money right now. Being able to save up for the rest of the month can help quite a bit, and some are hoping that a little Christmas bonus might be included with a paycheck.

And, of course, there are the sales. The best time to buy holiday-related items is after the holiday is over. Discounts can mean more bang for your buck if you wait until after December 25 to do your Christmas shopping — or your traveling.

Talking To Your Children about Money Problems

Instead of waiting until Christmas morning to tell your kids that Santa will be late, it might be better to prepare them ahead of time. You can also talk about your family’s financial situation, and talk about how Christmas is likely to be downsized a little bit each year.

Talking to your kids about money problems is always a little bit difficult. However, there are some things you can do to make the talk a little more productive:

  • Discuss money matters in an age-appropriate manner. A six-year-old isn’t going to understand things the same way a 13-year-old does.
  • Try not to scare your children. Even a teenager can be scared if you overload him or her with details. Be aware of how you sound, and keep it to the essentials.
  • Focus on what you already have as a family. Make sure to point out that your family still has a number of things to be grateful for. Counting your blessings together can help your children see that there’s more to life than stuff.
  • Plan more quality, frugal family activities. You can find creative and fun ways to spend time as a family. You’ll build memories that will last longer than stuff.
  • Talk about how you can all work together to help the family, and that some things will have to wait. Show that you are optimistic about the future, even though you are sacrificing right now.

If you do have to put off Christmas, be up front about it. Let your children know that you will still have some holiday cheer, but the gift-giving will have to wait. You can even consider instituting a homemade Christmas, or a service-orient Christmas (give gifts of service to each other) rather than making the presents about material items.

Most children will be understanding if you are candid about the situation. Preparing them ahead of time, and planning some family-oriented activities (or starting new, frugal holiday traditions) can help them avoid crushing disappointment Christmas morning, and might even encourage your child to moderate his or her wishes this holiday season.

Do you have plans to delay or downsize Christmas?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

KM December 20, 2011 at 10:41 am

Our Christmas is downsized quite a bit this year. My son is still too young to understand that he is supposed to get presents on Christmas (even though he is getting a couple anyway). I have an agreement with other family members that we are not going to really do presents this year – my husband and I might exchange a few small things or just getting a joint gift for us from us, while my mom and I will just exchange money amounts to help with big purchases (though I don’t know if I see a point in that since it will just cancel out anyway). For everyone else (in-laws, mostly), I am trying to make homemade liqueur or baked goods if that doesn’t work out. Honestly, I haven’t done any shopping so far except one gift for my son under the tree right now. And you know what? I am happy about that.

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Roxy December 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm

The people putting off christmas need to have a better understanding of shopping. After-christmas sales used to be an awesome deal, but retailers understand the poor economy and are actually having their best sales and deals last-minute.

I know it’s not ideal, but the best time to go xmas shopping is likely xmas eve.

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MoneyPerk December 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Our Christmas is quite different this year as well. We have a few gifts for everyone to open on the day, but since all of us are all grown up we understand the importance of saving money during the festive season. This is the first year that my family and I wont be seeing any extended family, but the spirit is not felt from the presents, but in his presence! It’s all about the magic of Christmas anyway!

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Jonathan December 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I think that people have to do what they think is best but delaying christmas seems a bit mean. The other alternative is to set a more modest budget for christmas and to make presents where possible. Why not make cupcakes for presents, or make wooden toys.

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Marbella December 21, 2011 at 2:15 am

Here in Spain have we Christmas the January 6 – the three kings when childrens get presents, so we don’t give any presents around the 24-25 devember to the kids. But we in our family often give them money so they can by on the sale out days from the 10 January much cheaper what thay want to have in presents.

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Mindimoo December 22, 2011 at 2:53 am

My family are Orthodox Christians (old calendar) and we celebrate Christmas on January 7 so you’d think we’d have it made. However I avoid shopping at all costs during either December or January, rather I keep an eye out at various sales throughout the year for presents for the kids. The adults do not exchange gifts. Makes life a lot simpler.

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Amy Saves December 22, 2011 at 10:52 am

Not delaying Christmas, but definitely downsizing this year. Besides isn’t Xmas about spending time with family, not just getting gifts?

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Matt December 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm

This is a neat idea, but what do you tell your kids if they question why Santa didn’t visit Dec. 25th? Sure, there’s lots of ways to get around it, I’m sure, but still I can hear the question, “But why did my friend such-and-such get his/her presents on the 25th?” I guess there’s a workaround for that, too! :)

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Mindimoo December 22, 2011 at 9:30 pm

We used to say to our kids that Santa was too busy to deliver all the presents on the one night, so he visited all the Protestant and Catholic kids on the 25th and all the Orthodox kids on the 7th. They could live with that. :) Merry Christmas!

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David B December 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm

I have celebrated Orthodox Christmas for the past 5 years. One of the best ideas.

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