The Three Wise Men

I can appreciate a comment I read recently from MilitarySaves*

A lack of planning can set you back financially and cause undue stress through the holiday season. Have a reality check with your money and plan accordingly before the temptation to overspend is here in full force. Who wants to be spending for Christmas in April? So before the holidays and all the “emergencies” in between, sit down and write down a separate plan for your holiday money and commit to sticking with it.

My husband and I are thrifty.  But I recognize the emotion that I tie to shopping.  I LOVE getting out of the house on a Sunday afternoon, just me, no kids, and walking the aisles of Target.  I may be going in for one or two items and come out with a triple digit bill on the credit card.  There is a real stress-relief for me in shopping alone.

I didn’t say it was a healthy stress relief.Especially when money is tight.

And to top it all off I LOVE giving, a recipe for disaster during the Christmas Season for the thrifty-family budget.  There is a real release of joy in giving a gift to someone that I know will appreciate it.  And my children appreciate gifts!  So I become child-like when it comes to Christmas shopping for my young ones.

So this year the focus is going to be less on Santa … and more on the three wise-men.  Three gifts.  Simple.  Peace amongst the chaos of the season.  Santa whispered in my ear… he wants the kids to remember what the season is about.  So he is bringing each of my children three gifts. 

When I mentioned this to my two middle-boys, 5 and 8 years old, this past weekend I expected a little push-back.  Instead they said in a rather serious manner, “We’ll have to put a lot of thought into our list then”.  There was no “AW MOM!”. No stomping out the room.  No sighs and heavy hearts. They simply understood.

We are going to take the joy-filled emotion out of the packaging, paper and toys that we would otherwise be tripping on till they fell apart… and putting it back to where it belongs.  Time with family, time doing things together that makes us smile, time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

So this holiday-season I’m going to find stress-relief somewhere other then in Target.  Maybe in baking cookies… some by myself, some with the kids; maybe by making more intentional visits to friends over coffee; maybe by taking a trip to the Zoo on a Sunday afternoon instead of the mall.  (Although they are a bit one in the same this time of year!)  I haven’t figured it out yet.  But it is going to happen.  I can feel the stress-free endorphins running through me already!

– Leanne from

* Military Saves encourages the military community to meet immediate needs and build long-term wealth through saving and debt reduction. Learn more about them at, November 02, 2010Military Life:,,

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