A Canadian family's journey to financial independence

The Most Wonderful Horrible Busy Wonderful Time of Year

The Most <strike>Wonderful</strike> <strike>Horrible</strike> <strike>Busy</strike> Wonderful Time of Year

Disclaimer: I fully understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Whatever you celebrate, or don’t celebrate, you’re welcome here and I hope you might still take away some useful information. At the very least, let’s agree that Christmas Vacation is a hilarious movie. 


Is there any other word that can simultaneously strike both fear and joy into our hearts. My family’s “love language” is giving gifts so I’ve already been emailed multiple times about gift ideas for my children. And myself. And Mr FNB who always insists he needs NOTHING and to just put the money towards the boys’ RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan).

I actually do wholeheartedly love the Christmas season. Our household began playing Christmas music a week ago. We wait until December 1 to decorate, but only because our poor kids would be so confused why Christmas is taking FOREVER to arrive if we put up the tree seven weeks before Christmas.

Christmas can wreak havoc on your finances if you’re not prepared. Some people save money for Christmas year round – they have a “sinking fund” to put money into each month so that they don’t go broke (or into debt) in December. Others finance it all on credit cards, then pay dearly for it over the next few months as the interest racks up.

We do neither. We have a boring strategy: don’t go overboard. Spend within your means. DIY some gifts. Spend time together, not money. Not very revolutionary in theory but for many it is easier said than done.

I’ll be doing a bit of a “Holiday Series” of posts. I’ll be sharing our forecasted budget, and then the actual amount of money spent after the holidays wraps up; some non-traditional gift guides (ways to DIY gifts with – I hope – some fresh ideas, no flour dough ornaments in sight; my favourite way to get book gifts cheap – no, not the library, and no, not from traditional stores), and what we are doing with the kids instead of Elf on the Shelf.

How do you handle holiday spending? Are you a Chevy Chase lover or hater? Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?