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Start a new tradition, turn avarice into generous this holiday

<p>Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Spend loads of time, not loads of cash this year for a magical Christmas.</p>

Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - Spend loads of time, not loads of cash this year for a magical Christmas.

Maybe my memories of Christmas as a child have become sentimental and romanticized but didn’t there used to be more to Christmas than racking up debt and fighting the crowd at the toy store?

Didn’t Christmas used to be about more than presents?

Christmas has become a stress fest compounded by worries about how you’re going pay for it all. Bah humbug.

May I offer a humble suggestion that will relieve this burden? Let’s replace the importance of the holiday from receiving presents to experiencing happiness. Focus on creating family traditions that take the emphasis off acquiring more stuff and replace it with filling our hearts.

There’s a popular saying: “If you want your kids to turn out well, spend twice the time with them and half as much money.”

In that Holiday Spirit, here are some ideas to establish traditions that create lifelong memories with your family and loved ones.

• Each year find a giving tree that allows you to sponsor a family or purchase toys for children in need. Shop for the items together and donate them as a family. Let your children experience the joy in giving and expecting nothing in return.

• Bake cookies to give to your friends and neighbors. Choose a cookie that will be fun to make and not a chore. Kids are best at drizzling chocolate and rolling things in sugar, so keep it simple and fun.

• Make attending an annual concert, performance, church service or other event in the community a yearly custom.

• Set up a Christmas tree just for the kids. Let them decorate their very own masterpiece however they like. Resist the urge to redecorate it even if all the ornaments are on one branch way at the bottom of the tree.

• Sit down with your child and write a letter to Santa each year. Secretly save them and give them back to them as a gift when they’re expecting their first child.

• Look for ways to take the emphasis off opening presents on Christmas morning by breaking it up and spreading it out so it’s not such a big thing.

• Start a tradition with your Christmas stockings. Each year put the same number of inexpensive stocking stuffers in each stocking, and then count backwards from Christmas Day. Everyone can open one stocking stuffer a day until Christmas, opening the last one on Christmas Eve.

• Make a gift of pajamas to be opened Christmas Eve so they can wear them to bed that night. Take a photo of your kids in front of the tree every Christmas morning in their spiffy new pajamas. Make a ritual of placing the photos in an album that will delight generations to come.

• Hold one gift back to be opened on the day you take your tree down and make a tradition of taking the tree down together. It’s a nice way to end the Holiday Season.

I believe family traditions keep the magic of Christmas alive and bring families together. When we make the shift from associating Christmas with avarice to generosity, we find our joy in the simple moments all year long. Is there a better gift we can give our children?

Deeper and profound meaning that will last your child a lifetime and be passed to the next generations. Now, isn’t that better than another video game?

Frugal Family Fun contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.