Me and my husband were stuck in a rut. We were at each other’s throats with how to budget last year’s Christmas festivities. He was frugal while I wanted to splurge a little on my children. It came to a point of shouting at each other. It was me feeling he was not giving importance to the season and him thinking I was overdoing it. Imagine arguing over a piece of cake! Conti’s or Goldilocks. What should we do? how can we make sure it doesn’t happen again this year?
I shall skip all the lectures on what Christmas is about to give you this odd piece of advice: Talk about how you want to celebrate Christmas.
Every Christmas we set a budget for the gifts we give others, but what we spend on food and our gifts to our children, shopping for clothes and trips to the mall or game parks go unnoticed. Before we know it, we have spent all that we have all in the spirit of Christmas.
This time when you sit down to talk about how you want to celebrate Christmas, I hope you also get to share what gifts you want to give to your kids, your meal on Christmas eve and New Year’s eve. Even your contributions to parties and how much the whole season’s expenses will add up to. It is all about being one in your finances. And yes, everything must follow a budget. Christmas along with all other occasions cannot be exempted from this. God wants us to be steward of all our blessings. I would like to think that more than being frugal, your husband only wants to be a steward of your finances.
Otherwise, if frugal is his nature, take this – start a new tradition this Christmas. He will appreciate it as it does not require you to spend but will definitely highlight the spirit of Christmas within your family.
It always good to start your budgeting or planning date with a prayer. It is not easy to discuss how to spend your resources, knowing it is limited. Celebrations can be more meaningful if it is clear to you both what kind of memories you want to create through the celebration. Your husband’s suggestion to be frugal does not mean that your spouse is not giving importance to the event, but I also understand that over simplification can result in frustration or the feeling of “sayang sana ganito na lang” in the end.
Try this, and I hope it helps. First, try to involve the kids in planning the celebration, if they are old enough to do so. Ask how they see celebrating Christmas as a family. Take note that the goal is not to do what they want, but to have an idea. Please do not over promise. Second, draw up a budget that will allow you to celebrate Christmas with more meaning and make sure that it allows your family to share to others—there is joy in giving! Third, include some elbow room in your budget, so that when you feel you need to splurge a bit, both of you still know the limits. Have a wonderful and Christ-filled season!