Tis the Season … To Scale Back

With a large extended family and heck, even a not so large family on my side, the holidays can get expensive quickly. 

That doesn’t appeal to me at all, and in fact, I’ve found it taints my view or the holiday in general. As soon as I start having to buy for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, I get real sour. I don’t mind spending time with extended family, but when I start to feel that what we could do for our own children is stretched thin because Uncle Bob’s cousin’s sister’s kid wants a gift … nope. My attitude for Christmas shifts from joyfully reading the Christmas story and celebrating Jesus as a family to just a flat our Grinch. 

To remedy this, we’ve started to scale down the holiday. 

Every year has been less and less, and this year I think we’ve hit what our family “sweet spot” as far as the commercial side of the holiday goes. 

More activities, less stuff. 

We started out the holiday season by spacing out as much as possibly over Thanksgiving break.

I bought a prebuilt gingerbread house from Target and let the kiddo decorate it. Mama does not have time to attempt to make one of those suckers stay together. No matter what my toddler did, we were going to display his handy gingerbread work for all to see. Luckily it turned out cute. 

Later in the week, we went to a nursery in town and bought a Christmas tree and decorated the house. 

We ended the break by going to Green Acres Tree Farm in Abbeville to play. They have snacks, a gift shop, and train, and a lovely play area for kids. Tickets for the activities were priced well and between the popcorn and train ride, my little boy was living his best life. 

The still standing Christmas plans are to drive around and look at lights a few times. We also save the Santa pics for our yearly trip to Acadian Village and take them there.

My main plan is to utilize the holiday guide and just attend as many free events as possible. 

Want, Need, Wear, Read

Before having kids, I didn’t get this idea at all. Now that we are two deep, it makes complete sense. Especially after a few years of toy accumulation. There isn’t a lot our oldest little boy needs in the toy department this year; honestly, he prefers playing with sticks and running like a wild animal. I know my mama friends can relate to this, but in the past we’ve bought what is the toy for his age … and it fell completely flat every year. There’s nothing worse than blowing cash on something you hope they’ll love only to see the toy go untouched. 

So this year we are implementing Want, Need, Wear, Read for the kids’ presents. Some years the need present might be a bike, others it could be something more need and less fun. Otherwise he will get something he wants, something he needs, a present to read, and a new outfit or pajamas. 

Finally, focus on our family. 

In the past we have run the roads. Heck, even with one child, we ran the roads on holidays. But now, and it’s hard to say it, we are making sure ample time is spent on our little family and anything else is lagniappe. We will still visit everyone, but maybe not on the day of Christmas every year. In the past, we’ve spent two weeks straight of Christmas and every vacation from work on the road to visit our spread out family. 

Instead we are now going to spend more time at home. More time letting our child play with his Christmas presents. It’s time to say no to Santa Claus happening elsewhere, or even the dreaded “open and hit the road” situation. It’s time to sit still and realize that we are our own family now. Not that we are less related to our extended family, but our kids need to come first. 

If you’ve scaled back how to celebrate the holidays please share your ideas in the comments! 

Emily Babb
Emily, originally from North Louisiana, lives with her husband Jeremy and sons Harrison & Elliot in New Iberia. She's an elementary teacher by day and blogger by night at her personal blog Louisiana Bride. She began blogging to document planning her wedding and has since moved to sharing recipes, meal planning ideas, and the humor in daily life. Emily enjoys yoga, gardening, camping, and is a closet hippie. When she isn't having a toddler crawl all over her while she attempts to workout while simultaneously cooking dinner, you can find her reading a good book or watching old BBC documentaries on YouTube. She use to be cool, but somewhere in adulthood all those concerts quit happening and a mini van showed up in the driveway.