How Much Christmas Costs?

ComEd sent me an email the other day stating that I am trending towards a high electric bill. Not super-high by their projection, but higher than the bill for the same period last year.
No wonder :). I was at home all December since the city officials asked us not to go in without the pressing need. And my Christmas tree and other indoor lights were lit up all day long for the whole month! The baking was more or less as usual in December :).

Still, I started to think about whether I should include my higher electric bill in my Christmas expenses. I started to track my Christmas expenses separately several years ago. My friends are aware of my smart Excel worksheet, which allows me to track my spendings and monitor the trends.

I have been doing it for so many years; I can’t even remember. But the idea of tracking all Christmas -related expenses through the year is relatively new in my personal finances. It’s not just presents and wrapping and Christmas decorations. It is also extra baking supplies, and my insane postage, and boxes for cookies. And more food. And buying Christmas chocolates in October. And in normal years, Christmas shows. And extra charitable donations. Since I started recording my Christmas expenses, I learned that they occur almost every month, with the bulk being obviously in November-December. I spend around 4.5 K on Christmas each year. That does not mean that I am a compulsive Christmas shopper, and it does not mean that I am looking to reduce these expenses. That’s budgeted every year, and every year, I reduce other expenses in December to accommodate this spike. Since I am not exactly a miracle worker, it costs money to have miracles happen, and I am happy to invest this money into the Christmas magic.

It is sad when people say that “this money could be used for some much-needed items.” It is sad that for several years now, we are not allowed to gift something nice to the adults in our “adopted families” and are asked for gift cards instead – I would be happy to do both. Adults need magic, same as kids :).

While I have the means, I will continue to do what I am doing now: being Mrs. Claus for many people all over the world.

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