The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention. It was trying to stay within a budget while giving our kids a terrific Christmas that resulted in an inventive way to save money, and started a new family tradition.
When children are little it’s easy to give them a lavish Christmas. The gifts they want are usually inexpensive. But, as children grow, so does the price tag of the items on their wish list. Even the small items you put into their stockings get expensive.
When our oldest was in high school, and our youngest still in middle school, we established a new tradition. On December 6, St. Nicholas Day, I place our empty Christmas stockings on the fireplace hearth. There is one for each of our two children and one for mom and one for dad. In the laundry room, I keep a supply of red and green tissue paper. Then between December 6 and Christmas Eve, it is everyone’s job to fill everyone else’s stocking with gifts. As we are out and about we keep our eyes open for small, inexpensive gifts. The tissue paper is used to wrap them and then they are placed in the stockings. Our children use their own money to do this. When they were younger the Dollar Store was a great place for them to find things.
This tradition turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone. As Christmas approaches watching the stockings fill always makes me smile. Even now as I write this, I have a big smile on my face. Our stockings are the first thing we open on Christmas morning. We have found many a creative gift in our stockings. Our children are in college now, but we still do this tradition. Dad gets into this too. Today I saw him cut out an ad for a tape measure 4-pack for $9.99. I’m guessing we’ll each have a tape measure in our stocking this year!