Join The 25-Day Meaningful Christmas Challenge!

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Until two years ago, the holiday season always seemed to fly by so fast for me. First, the weather started changing. Then the commercials came, and the holiday sales papers arrived in the mail. Before I knew it, I was caught up in shopping, buying decorations, and planning my family’s Christmas dinner. Then, it was all over, and I often felt relieved. 

Two years ago, I asked myself if I really felt like I could relax, spend extra time with my family, and make the type of memories I wanted to make. The answer was a hard no. This led me to create a 25-day challenge that prioritizes a “holiday slowdown” while also focusing on truly savoring this season. 

How the 25-Day Christmas Challenge Works

The 25-Day Christmas Challenge is just a name I came up with, but it’s basically a bucket list of cheap and free ways to prioritize things like:

  • Giving back
  • Resting
  • Making memories with family
  • Spending true quality with loved ones
  • Learning/experiencing something new

The “challenge” typically starts on December 1 for my family and leads up to Christmas Day. I filled my list with some of my favorite activities, like drinking a cup of hot chocolate and reading by the fireplace, along with things like having a family game night, paying it forward at the drive-thru, and donating some of our old clothes. 

Finally, the 25th thing on the list is to create a gratitude list. I like to get up early on Christmas Day (as most moms tend to do) and jot down a few things I’m grateful for and why. 

This year will be our third year doing the 25-day Christmas Challenge, and it’s helped me enjoy and cherish the holiday season so much more for several reasons. 

Valuing Experiences Over Things

This is hard to do in November and December because all I see are shiny objects, sales, and things I can get. While I love a good sale as much as the next person, this holiday challenge also helps me shift my mindset to value experiences more. 

The hard truth is that my family doesn’t remember too much of what they received for Christmas gifts in the past. Things break, get lost, or lose value. Experiences, on the other hand, can live with us forever. 

Now, growing up, I do remember some of the toys I received and how I loved playing with them. But the memories of making a gingerbread house with my sister or going sledding in the snow will live with me forever. I hope I can leave my son with those same experiences and memories, whether we are sending out Christmas cards, making cookies together, or volunteering at a local shelter. 

Simple Experiences Can Save Money

It’s no secret that people spend a ton of money over the course of the holiday season. Research shows that families spend around $1,000 to $2,000 on average on gifts. What’s worse is that these purchases often lead to debt that can take a while to pay off.

Creating a frugal 25-day Christmas Challenge has also helped my family save money as well. The preplanned list lays out tons of fun things we can do together that don’t cost much money at all. In fact, we would do at least 50% of the activities on the list at home for free, which also reduces stress.

It’s also been a great way to create some new holiday traditions. In reality, I don’t think that anyone wants to wake up on New Year’s Day and realize that they have a ton of holiday debt to pay off. Refocusing on simple experiences has helped me save without even trying that hard and still not miss out on the job of the holiday season.

Create Your Own December Challenge

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I’d still highly recommend creating your own December Challenge. The end of the year is also one of the best times to reflect, acknowledge the happenings of the past 12 months, and set new goals. Why not end the year with some affordable fun, give back to those in need, and make memories that will last a lifetime? 

Tags: Christmas, holiday season, Personal Finance, Self Care

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Written By

Chonce Maddox

Choncé is a CFEI and freelance writer from the Midwest who loves to encourage open discussions about personal finance with her writing. See Full Bio

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