Hundred Dollar Holiday Challenge

The public library is an amazing wealth of information – some of it even useful.  On my quest to get out 7 queries (for a novel) by Monday, I made a trip to the library to check out Steven King’s On Writing.  I came out of the library with a HUGE stack of books on subjects like finance, Christmas, writings, and being frugal.  It’s how things normally end up when I leave the library.

Many of the books are just for reference.  These are the ones I just flip through to get some good ideas.  One in particular is for reading – mainly because the title caught my eye and it’s not very long.  Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben seemed like an intriguing concept.  I was curious to see if he had kids or other extended family and just how he managed to only spend $100 (Thanksgiving dinner cost us that much this year).

A quick skim through the book and I realize that he’s not going to give me a step by step guide on how to only spend $100.  Better than that, he explains why he and his family decided to go that route and how they did it.  It didn’t happen in one year, and it isn’t exactly $100.  Instead, it is all about bringing the joy back into the Holiday.

That’s an idea I really like.  After having spent the last week planning and preparing Thanksgiving with my two oldest boys, I realize how special time together is for all of us.  Today, as we set up our advent calendars and wreaths, I’m going to start talking with the family about ways we can have a $100 Christmas.

1.      Coupons – you know the kind you make yourself – are a great way to promise a time together and even an activity.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a coupon that said “Get out of cleaning for one day” or “I’ll do the dishes for a full week” or . . . sorry, I was focused on me for a second there.  For my husband, I thought “One night a month out with the guys – no questions and no complaints.”  For the children, “cook one meal – your choice of menu.”  (They really did a good job with Thanksgiving).

2.      Hand-made gifts.  In the book he talks about his daughter getting a gift of blocks from her uncle.  We have all the tools (and probably the wood) necessary for a project like that.  With Christmas still four weeks away, it could be a great gift for the older boys to do for the baby of the house.  Plus, it will be time together cooperating and time with Dad – things that always make for great memories.

3.      The thought process – it will take far more thought to spend no money (or very little) than it will to spend a lot of money.  It’s still shocks me how that works.  It even takes more time to spend less, but it will be worth it in the end.

The main goal of Hundred Dollar Holiday is to take the pressure off each other and the bank accounts.  It will be far more memorable to spend time together than to have yet one more remote control toy that they kids rarely get out.

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