Christmas to me has started to feel “too”: too many gifts, too much stuff, too much money spent on things. Too much wrapping, too many ribbons, too much trash.
Stockings are fun, but in order to “stuff” them full, we end up with more and more stuff. Stuff that parents end up cleaning up, taking care of, trying to find places for, or eventually giving away.
To stop the avalanche of things, last year we decided to fill our children’s stockings with notes. The notes were for everyone in the family — from everyone. Once they were completed, we tucked them in the stockings and on Christmas Eve, the kids got to pass them out.
You can see a clip of me showing our notes to Sarah, in Thoughtful, Low-Cost Gift Giving Tips, the third video in the Frugal Mama Makeover Series.
Printable Family Love Notes
When I came up with the idea, I created a simple form to print out and give people:
One evening before Christmas, we sat around the fire and filled them out together.
I was surprised at how excited my daughters were about the idea. Sofia and Virginia, who were eight and six at the time, were helping me punch holes and cut ribbon, corral everyone together, and pass out pens and pencils. And they could not wait until it was time to hand out the notes and read them.
Sow a Little, Reap a Lot
To be honest, not everyone in my family’s older generation embraced the new tradition. Telling someone how you feel requires being a little vulnerable. In a way, it’s easier to just go out and buy something.
But like so many frugal ideas, love notes stuffed in stockings are not just about saving money. They make other people feel good, which in turn makes us feel good. Handmade gifts also mean less time running around shopping, less waste and clutter, and less worry about buying enough.
At the same time, we get more. More quality time together, more connecting with family, more memories. So the bit of extra effort is rewarding, and makes us happy. Happiness is the whole point anyway, isn’t it?
How to Pass Love Notes on Christmas (or New Year’s or Any Day)
If you’d like to try it yourself, print several copies of the stocking notes.
Like the coupon books, you just fold the paper in half, then half again, and cut down the folds. We closed each note with a hole punch and a tiny ribbon, but the notes could just as easily be stapled.
On this holiday and always, I am wishing you love, simplicity, and peace.