“He Who Has Not Christmas In His Heart, Will Never Find It Under A Tree.” ~Roy L. Smith


The Spin-Off

First I just want to thank everyone for participating in yesterdays discussion.  I enjoyed it so much and am pleased to see that all of you did too.  SO THANK YOU!  To be honest yesterdays post started as just another Christmas Gift idea article.  Then it transformed into what you enjoyed so much, so I left out the original idea to shorten the post.

People go absolutely insane come Christmas.  They let guilt, popular opinion, and the need to impress others take over their wallets.  They say things like, “I have to get them something, they might buy me something”, and go and spend money they probably can’t afford to spend all because of guilt or to make that impression.  People justify spending hundreds of dollars on their kids because they only live once, and they deserve a good Christmas.  What’s your definition of a good Christmas?

I don’t know about you but Christmas doesn’t mean those things to me.  Maybe it used to, I’m just saying.  It doesn’t anymore.  I think Christmas is bigger than what it has become.  Whether you are a Christian like me or not, Christmas is about family and friends and love and kindness.  I am much more impressed by something that someone spent hours trying to perfect, didn’t curse them financially, and came from their heart in the process.  I’m impressed by those that put down all of the shiny jewelry and expensive electronics, and decide to help a single mother or surprise a unsuspecting orphan.  I’d rather spend my money at Christmas like that.  At Christmas, we don’t go ALL OUT buying gifts, but we love to give, so we do.

Shawanda from youhavemorethanyouthink.org, and myself, see this issue close to the same.


People don’t need more stuff! They need more time, more love, and more effort!  For the record I am not a scrooge as I may get accused of being, I enjoy gifts like anyone else.  I just enjoy one kind of gift more than the other, and don’t see the point in diving head first into a hole to make someone believe I love them.  I do enjoy making the kids smile, but you can do that with a fourth or less of what you usually spend now, can’t you?

With that in mind, perhaps you can consider some alternatives to the normal pride-fest that some falsely refer to as Christmas.  Like I said you don’t have to be a Christian to understand that Christmas is about more than material possessions.  Even some Christians miss the point as well.  And while I am pointing fingers, let me point one right back at myself, because I have sometimes forgotten as well.  I am just saying, it is something we should think about more often before going and burying ourself in debt to make an impression.

If you still want to buy everyone in your family a Christmas present go right ahead, but what if you could help them REMOVE something from their life, instead of add something? There are a range of things that you can do depending on how wealthy you are to help someone you love have a great Christmas.

You could:

  1. Invite them over for a nice Christmas dinner
  2. Pay off one or more of their debts
  3. Pay their electric bill for that month
  4. Pay their mortgage payment (if you’re wealthy why not?)
  5. Pay their car payment
  6. Give something that matters

Now I realize their are people out there that would probably get offended if you tried to pay their mortgage.  It is true, but there are lots of people who won’t.  There are lots of people that are in need and that could use the helping hand.

You could try something new and see how crafty you can be with a potato stamp and fabric paint.  Think I am joking?  Not a chance, click on the link to see the list Money Funk has put together for having a frugally fun Christmas.  If you have kids you can come up with all kinds of inexpensive ways to show you care about your loved ones.  I know this- potatoes are cheap, but the memories they can create are priceless.  I have heard Dave Ramsey put it like this.  Give somebody something that they would want to grab if there house was on fire. If your house is on fire are you gonna grab the 60-inch Plasma, or the homemade picture that your 13 year old neice made you 5 years ago?

About Brad Chaffee

13 Responses to ““He Who Has Not Christmas In His Heart, Will Never Find It Under A Tree.” ~Roy L. Smith”

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  1. Emilie in Minneapolis says:

    My adult children combed the family photo albums two years ago and gave me a (surprise) personal, family wall calendar. It’s the first thing I’d grab, after the pets, if the house was on fire. I doubt it cost more than $20. The time they spent selecting photos and organizing them into collages for each month is beyond price.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Emilie- That’s what I am talking about. Those memories are so much more important than getting additional stuff each year.

      Money Funk- Right on! I like the idea of removing a burden instead of adding material items that may or may not be used.

      Tracey- I like your ideas! What I don’t like is how people look down on someone else for not buying new gifts. No matter whether it is used or new, it’s the meaning behind the gift that is remembered. Thank you for your comments! 😀

      Chris- Oooh ohh, you said dart board. LOL I love playing darts. My dart board is packed away in my office closet though, which probably reinforces my point. Just because we like or enjoy something, doesn’t mean we have time for it. LOL Great comment Chris!

  2. Money Funk says:

    Those are wonderful alternative ideas! I think I may just pay a bill for my mom (and enclose the bill pay receipt in one of those potato stamped cards!). I know she could use it .

    You are right…Dave Ramsey is right…I would grab the more personal items because they hold those fond memories. The materialistic things can be replaced.

    And Shawanda is right! I don’t need any more stuff. Its what got me in this debt mess. LOL. Time to get out of it. And it is time to help someone else in need.

    Thank you for the great post and the mention. If anyone has anymore great ideas, please add. I would like to compile a lengthy list with reader’s suggestions enclosed, too. 🙂

  3. Re-gift neglected (or forgotten) heirlooms or treasured items that you know have been admired. Some of the most precious (tangible) gifts costs very little.
    For example.

    One Christmas my Dad presented me with a silver tea service that had belonged to my mother that I had long admired.

    Another year, I took a pocket watch that my husband had inherited from his (beloved) father to a jewelry/watch repair shop to have it cleaned and the cracked crystal replaced. I then found a wonderful, glass-domed watch holder in which to display it. The total cost was under twenty-five dollars, the happy surprise was priceless.

  4. I totally agree in fact, I believe in a more simple lifestyle. I recently cleaned out an upstairs room that I was redoing as a new bedroom for my son and came across a dart board I got for Christmas around 7 years ago. The worst thing is I had never even taken it out of the box yet.
    The truth is when somebody ask me about Christmas I can’t usually remember one thing I got but I do remember all of the great times with family and friends. I wouldn’t trade those for the world.

  5. KELSALYNN says:

    I love this discussion so much I’m bookmarking it. The idea of “removing” something from one’s life versus always “adding” to it is remarkable. So simple yet so perfect! You put into words how my husband and I have felt about Christmas for years, I’m just not sure we were able to describe these feelings or opinions as well as you just did. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. KELSALYNN says:

    BTW- I keep trying to click on the hyperlink for “youhavemorethanyouthink.org” and it’s giving me an error.


  7. Shawanda says:

    @Kelsalynn – I have no idea why it’s doing that. I’ll have to figure out what’s going on. Thanks for pointing that out.

  8. Kelsalynn says:

    Shawanda- the hyperlink worked!! Thanks!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Kelsalynn- No problem! I just think the whole idea of giving someone a gift just to be giving them a gift is ridiculous. If someone truly has a need then meet that need. I think generosity was the point of the gift giving traditionally, but keeping up with everyone else has become the winter sport of choice. 😀

      Shawanda- I have a confession to make. It was my fault about the link not working. Oops! lol Not sure what happened but I entered it again. 🙂

  9. Shawanda says:

    LOL! For some reason, I thought this was the post from yesterday. I clicked on Kelsalynn’s comment from Twitter. I thought she was talking about the link in my comment. Ha ha!

    Thanks for linking to my site!!!

    Btw, I heard about this website called Giving Anonymously (http://www.givinganon.org/) on NPR’s Marketplace Money. I think it’s one of the most selfless ways to give.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I will definitely check that site out, it sounds great! I agree about giving anonymously. Have you ever heard of the Secret Santa? Click Here

      Whenever we give we ask that it remains between us and the person receiving the gift. I think it’s better that way. 😀

  10. Emilie in Minneapolis says:

    Secret Santa is lots of fun unless you get in a spoiler who “has” to buy gifts anyway. When we had lots of people getting together for Thanksgiving and between Christmas and New Year’s (and this certainly works for CHannukah just fine), we’d draw names at Thanksgiving for a very nominal gift next time. At the time we set a limit of $2.00, but you might have to go to $4.00 today. Still, homemade anything is still do-able under $2. It WAS fun until a social climber aunt showed up with SS gifts plus more for everyone. The whole thing fell apart at that. She never quite got the idea that the real gift was the gift of time–which she claimed she didn’t have. I suppose she didn’t have much time for SS, since all that shopping for other stuff really chews up your time.

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