Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Memories on a Budget

Just three of my amazing grandchildren!
To all the Grandmas and Grandpas, Nannas and Oompas, and anyone else celebrating this special season with little ones here or at a distance - is your shopping done?

When I was planning out our retirement budget pre-retirement, I looked at the blank space on my spreadsheet that said Gifts and wondered what to put in it.  I now have eleven grandchildren ranging in age from 2 to 14 years of age.  I most often sent them money gifts or gift cards even before retirement - especially when shipping was more expensive than the gift itself!  Of course with Amazon and other online shopping meccas providing free or inexpensive shipping, that was no longer a concern.  I always preferred a meaningful gift but have to admit, in the rush of full time work and the busyness of the season, I frequently opted to send money to mom to do the shopping.

When my children were young, my mother would send me money to buy gifts for them.  It was busy then too and I remember one year asking the girls if they would prefer the money or the gift.  They all voted for the gift!  Of course, that meant facing down the mall yet again to find something under $25 for each child. 

Now, I am looking at a fixed income that is much smaller than my working wages and wondering - how much is right?  I recognize that an adjustment is necessary and have addressed that in my plans ongoing.  Maintaining the status quo will not be possible.

Christmas long ago!
However, there is more to it really.  I love all my grandchildren and want them to be loving, caring adults when they grow up.  My greatest wish is they will somehow escape the consumer monster and make good choices and live with a desire to create memories rather than gather stuff.  So I face the possibilities with an excitement really - how to create memories on a budget!  An online acquaintance recently shared much the same sentiment concerning the memory part but they built the memory on a shared Disneyland trip!  I would hate to raise the hopes of my grandchildren with that consideration although I would be thrilled to meet them there for a fun, shared experience!  But perhaps this can be done through Skype and personal notes and by encouraging shared interests as they arise.

I would love to hear your ideas of how you have handled this - making memories on a budget and, let's throw in another angle - at a distance.  There you have it!  The challenge is out there.  So while you are creating your memories this Christmas, please share some with me.

And, with that, I wish each of you a wonderful Christmas season full of new ways to celebrate your love with the special people in your life!
My Four Angels!

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