Don’t Stress! Christmas Presents Aren’t That Important

It’s nearing Christmas and as parents, we all know what that means. Time to start making lists and working overtime and putting aside money for the huge day that is Christmas. If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably check out all the stores near you, or online, to make sure they have the items you’re sure your children want for Christmas. After all, giving presents is a huge part of what makes Christmas, right? 

During the Christmas season, it can be so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. But what really matters? In ten years, will your child remember that you spent all night on eBay bidding for an Olaf doll? Will that doll even be around next Christmas? You might be surprised at the answer.

Last year, Ikea Spain released an amazing little video called ‘La Otra Carta’.  You can go watch it, but you might want to make sure you have a few tissues on hand first. If you’re not emotionally prepared, here’s a brief description. In the video, children are instructed to write a letter to The Three Kings, their version of Santa Claus. The children write long letters describing the many things they want for Christmas, from guitars to a Wii. It’s everything you would expect in a child’s letter to Santa.

Next they ask the children to write a letter to their parents describing what they want for Christmas. You can see the face of each child get very serious. Each one writes a letter, much shorter than their letter to The Three Kings. These letters are given to the parents of the children, waiting in a separate room. 

You probably get the gist of the video, but can you guess what the children want from their parents? Prepare for waterworks. 

  • I want you to spend more time with meChristmas Presents
  • ​I want to do more experiments at home
  • I’d like you to pay a little bit more attention to us
  • I’d like it if you would have dinner with us more often
  • I want you to tickle me
  • Read us a story
  • I want us to be together one whole day
  • I want you to play cowboys with me
  • I want you to play soccer with me

Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Well, Ikea Spain wanted to rip our hearts out a little more, so they ask the children if they could only send one letter, which would it be? The letter with all the gifts to The Three Kings? Or the letter to their parents? Of course, they pick sending the letter to their parents. 

One of the parents makes a profound statement in this video: You want to give them the best you can and the best is yourself. And how amazingly true is that statement!

Now, don’t get us wrong, this in no way means that you should cancel Christmas presents and spend the entire day snuggled up with your little ones. Though that sounds great, this is by no means belittling the magic behind Christmas presents. Your children will be thrilled to see the piles of presents underneath the tree. They’ll squeal and clap their hands as they open up the gifts you worked so hard to provide. But just because Christmas presents matter doesn’t mean they should take precedence. You can create a memorable Christmas for your children, even when you are on a budget.

The Christmas season can be extremely stressful for us parents. And children pick up on that stress. So, instead of dwelling on picking out the perfect Christmas presents, consider other ways you can make Christmas memorable. In ten years, they won’t remember the Olaf doll or whether they got that new video game or not. They’ll remember the activities you did as a family. The fun you had and adventures you want on together. And happy, long-lasting memories are one of the best things you can give your children.

If you’re at a bit of a loss about what to do to add fun, budget friendly Christmas activities into your holiday season, check out our list below. And make sure to stop off in our comment section to tell us your favorite holiday memory!

1. Watch the Classics

If your kids haven’t watched a few of the Christmas classics, like It’s a Wonderful LifeA Charlie Brown Christmas, or Home Alone. Not only are these classics family friendly, they’re also perfect for a family tradition. You can do it with your children and maybe they’ll do it with theirs in the future.

2. Go to a Christmas Play

This one will depend on where you live, but it’s a great idea for a night out with the family. Several community centers and churches put on different Christmas plays, many of them being free. If you see one that looks interesting, go check it out. 

3. Hand Make Christmas Cards

Get all your art supplies out and have the family create Christmas cards for all your friends and relatives. Sure, they won’t be as fancy as store bought cards, but they’ll mean a lot more to your loved ones. And it’s always a lot of fun to see what your children want to include in cards to their grandparents!

4. Have a Tree Decorating Party

Sure, you want your Christmas tree to look presentable during the holiday season. But, it’s a lot of fun to let your kids decorate it. Make some hot chocolate, biscuits, and crank up the Christmas music. You can make an entire evening out of decorating the tree. If you want, you could even spend some time making some tree decorations. Paper chains never get old, right?

5. Read International Stories of Christmas

Every day leading up to Christmas, you can read a different version of the story of Christmas from different cultures and countries. You can find most of these online, so you wouldn’t have to pay anything. It’s a lot of fun, plus your kids will be learning a bit more about the world.

6. Bake

Christmas is all about baking. You can make and decorate dozens of different goodies that will keep kids entertained for hours. And the best thing about baked goods is that they make awesome presents for neighbors. If you have too many sweets at home, try visiting a retirement home or homeless shelter. They rarely get to celebrate Christmas with family and having a few homemade cookies makes a huge difference. Plus, it’s a great lesson in gratefulness for your children.

7. Make a Scrap Book

Give your kids disposable cameras and have them take pictures of their favorite things about Christmas. A week or so before Christmas, set out all your art supplies and create a scrap book with all the pictures. This is a great family project, but it will also serve as a great reminder in years to come. Pull it out when your children are teenagers and watch as they laugh at their amateur photography skills.

8. Make an Advent Calendar

This is great for school-aged children and will keep them excited throughout the holiday season. After all, who didn’t look forward to opening the little windows on an advent calendar growing up?

9. Go Christmas Caroling

Gather your friends and family and pick out a route for Christmas caroling. Let your kids pick out a few of their favorite songs and practice every evening until the big day. It might be a little cold, so have hot chocolate and biscuits ready for when you’re done. 

10. Look at Christmas Lights

One night, you can bundle the family up, pile into the car, and go view Christmas lights. There’s usually at least one neighborhood that seems to go all out every year. If you’re not in the position to put Christmas lights on your own house, pull out a dollhouse and let the children decorate that in the same manner they saw driving around.

Christmas means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You and your family probably have your own traditions. However, whatever your plans are for this holiday season, make sure it includes a lot of quality family time. It’s the one thing you can give your children that doesn’t cost money, but means more to them than all the presents in the world. 

What is the Verdict?

MoneySavingPigDoes this make you feel different about Christnas?  Do you think you will be putting some of the above into action?  We love feedback so please use the comment section below. 

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