Prepare for NEXT Christmas!

4 Jan

Barbell Shopping BagI had to laugh when I saw this strange shopping bag!

Ever heard about the shopkeeper who couldn’t stand competition?

“The shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read ‘Best Deals!’

He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading ‘Lowest Prices!’

The shopkeeper was panicked, until he got an idea.

He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop.

It read, “Main Entrance.” *

I know a lot of people who go shopping after Christmas because of all the great sales.It’s been said that a man will pay two dollars for a one dollar item he needs; but a woman will pay one dollar for a two dollar item that she doesn’t need ~ but it’s on sale!

I shop, too, in moderation. But it’s never smart to buy something that we don’t need or can’t use as a gift, even if it’s 70 percent off!

However, it’s not too early to begin thinking about next year’s Christmas! Take time to sit down and make lists of who you bought for and what you bought. List what foods you bought for different occasions, the supplies you needed for cookies,  ingredients for food gifts that you made to give away, etc.

When you are finished, make a master list of things to buy that you know you will want again for next Christmas (or even for Thanksgiving).

Then, throughout the year, buy some of those things early. Listen carefully for friends’ and family members’ needs, interests, and wants. Create a special place for a holiday stash. (You can even wrap and label gofts months ahead, if you keep out some of your Christmas wrappings!) You might also plan to create, sew, paint, or build something to give next Christmas ~ and the winter months are a good time to get started.

Be careful of expiration dates when you buy food in advance ~ they should not expire until early 2012 ~ but you can easily start in the summer to buy some Christmas canned goods and baking ingredients. You will be surprised at some of the things you can buy months ahead!

By this method, you can spread out your holiday buying into the regular budget so you don’t go into debt in January and February.

I know that some of my friends and family took a hard look at Christmas giving this year and made the tough choice to buy less. I also read on Facebook that some people have decided to only give three gifts next year to family members ~ something they want, something they need, and something to encourage either their family heritage or spiritual growth. With the current economy, I think that may be a good idea ~ and it also helps us focus on the more spiritual/less materialistic aspects of Christmas.

We are to be wise stewards of all that God gives us ~ time, talents, and money**, and that includes holiday giving! So let’s begin now to plan wisely for Christmas 2011!

* http://www.cybersalt.org/cleanlaugh/shopkeeperscompetition.htm

** Scriptures about wise use of money (budgeting, stewardship, giving/receiving, etc.)

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