Happy For The Holidays
Well, here we are, 10 days until Christmas (and 4 days 'til my birthday)! A very fitting occurrence happened yesterday, when I woke up to a delightful little surprise on the front doorstep! There sat a big package with a J.Crew label on it and "Fragile" stickers on all six sides. I felt like this was a scene from 'A Christmas Story,' and I was about to unveil a long, scantily clad leg lamp. When I sliced the box open and removed all of the fluff, my eyes were blinded by a beautiful neon pink acrylic shoebox—and then I knew—my first pair of #shinyponies had arrived! When I removed the lid, unraveled the several loops of twine, and tore through the tissue paper, I was like a kid on Christmas!
The very metallic loafers that I always thought I could "see myself" in were sitting right there in my hands! To fill you in, Jen Lyons, the president and creative director at J.Crew personally selected 5 winners for her #shinyponies photo contest, and one of them was somehow me! Needless to say, her impeccable taste really hit a home run with the most perfect pair of shoes! Talk about an early birthday/Christmas surprise! I am beyond grateful, and if there's two takeaways I can share, they would be: 1) Take Risks: If you want to win the lottery, you've got to buy a ticket! and 2) Be Bold: Don't be afraid to be spontaneous, creative, clever, witty, and unapologetically you—share yourself with the world!
The other reason I decided to fill you in on the free-shoes-for-a-year deal is because it oddly enough fits perfectly with Day 5 of my 7 Holiday Hang-ups + 7 Simple Solutions. In No. 5, I'm going to discuss: Spending Money // Credit Card Probs // Shopping ‘Til You Drop. Nothing solves a shopping and spending problem faster than free shoes for a year! These things don't happen that often, though, so I've got a laundry list of other quick fixes to help save your bank account this holiday season!
Every year you toy with the notion of what it would be like to do away with giving and getting gifts, and then Black Friday hits. The commercials on tv, the pretty storefront displays, the tiny ads scrolling on the side of your computer screen, not to mention everything is 50% off! You keep adding things to your wish list, and every time you run to the store you throw that extra something special in your cart, because you just know so-and-so will adore you for it! Before you know it, your bank account is empty and your credit cards are all maxed out.
It’s ironic how we all go around the table and talk about what it is we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving, and then hours later we’re pushing, shoving, and fighting over things that we think we still need. Many people spend the entire next year paying off credit card bills form Christmas alone. If the very thought of spending money you don’t have stresses you out, you’re going to be miserable during what should be the most joyful time of the year!
Budget + Save
Exchanging gifts on Christmas is such a joy, from wrapping and making them look pretty, to placing them under the tree to 'ooh' and 'ahh' at while counting down the days--and, of course, that priceless look on the face of a loved one when they open that last gift that they’d been wanting all year long! I don’t know if it would feel like Christmas without opening presents! However, it might be helpful to set a budget for your spending.
This is another instance where you’ll need to have sit-down talk with your spouse, parents, siblings, or whoever else might be going crazy showering you with gifts. Dusty and I usually try to come up with some sort of budget for each other, that way we don’t expect too much, and also don’t have to stress about overspending on each other. Along with setting a budget, I also like to allocate a chunk of my savings to Christmas gifts. With every paycheck throughout the year, I add to savings, knowing in the back of my mind that a portion of it will go towards presents. This is an awesome way to keep from overspending!
Make Gifts + Create Experiences
I know a family that decided not to buy into the consumer shopping craze, but opted instead to create gifts and experiences for each other this year. I really loved that idea, but wasn’t quite on board with no presents at all. Dusty and I talked about spending less and making something for each other instead. The two of us both enjoy working with our hands and like to get crafty—not only is it more cost-effective to DIY, it's also so much more rewarding. On top of that, it's a great way to create something with sentimental value and lasting memories. Get creative—write a poem, perform a song, paint a picture, frame a photo you took, get on Pinterest for inspiration!
Reason for the Season
As I get older, the hubs and I continue to think more about the true meaning behind the holiday season, and what we’re really celebrating. Being Christians, it’s important to us to worship, pray, and prepare for our Savior’s birth! Nurturing a relationship with God, especially during the holiday season, really helps me to reflect on what it is that I really need, and what I really don't need. It's a great reminder that we are on this earth to do more than accumulate goods, but to make a positive impact on those around us! We can't take our worldly treasures with us when we leave!
Donate + Give
Dusty and I make an effort to do more than just spend our money on frivolous things, but to also allocate a certain amount to charity and the Church. Being mindful of those that are less fortunate can really help to put things into perspective, and make it easier to spend less money overall. Especially during the holidays, food banks can use extra non-perishables, and shelters need to be able to provide warm clothing to those that don't have any. Be giving of your time and resources and the greed will begin to fade away!
Holiday Hang-ups Around Our Home
*Each day I'll also be sharing some "holiday hang-ups" around our home—because if there's one thing we love to do, it's decorate for Christmas.
I decided my "joy" hang-up needed to be accompanied by some "peace" and "love" the other day, and it just so happened that I was wearing a shirt that said love! I decided to jump into the shot to complete the trio, before I created my "love" hang-up!
For the "love" hang-up, I took a canvas that I had previously painted in neutrals that I knew I would end up finding a way to use! Guys, I'm kind of a hoarder, because I always eventually find a use for every little thing that I save! I love to recycle, repurpose, and reuse old crafty items! So, I took the canvas and clipped a couple of sprigs of pine from my live garland hanging on the railing inside, and used a wooden heart (it was part of one of my old spelling bee trophies from grade school) and made this cute "Ode to Love" to complete my trio! May PEACE, JOY, and LOVE be with you and yours this holiday season!
Spend Less, Create More!
To sum it all up, save yourself the headache, and reduce your stress and anxiety levels by spending less money this season. Instead, opt for creative ways to express your love to friends and family! Use your hands and make, use your heart and create! The joy of the season is truly about shared memories and experiencing each other's presence!
Stay tuned for the next installation of my 7 Holiday Hang-ups + 7 Simple Solutions. In No. 6, I'll discuss: Busyness // Overworking + Overcommitting // Burnout.