Why I’m “Going Big” This Holiday Season

by Erika Torres

christmasBelow is a guest post from one of my favorite blog reads, Frugal Portland

Hi friends! Erika was kind enough to allow me to write something in her space. She’s super nice. In fact, she’s one of the first people who was ever nice to me online! You don’t forget those people. If you’re new at blogging, you think you’re in it alone, typing out into the ether. But then, a friendly voice comes through. It makes all the difference. So, thanks! Join the discussion on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter.

I’m celebrating Christmas this year, in a big way. Bigger than I have ever celebrated before. I bought a tree, I bought all the trimmings that go on the tree, I bought lights, I’ve decked the halls, and I have an elaborate meal planned. There are reindeer-themed things everywhere you look and lights on the patio.

In the past, I’ve celebrated small, or not at all. For a while in my 20s, I dated an Orthodox Jewish guy who celebrated by going to Chinese food and a movie. Then there were a few years where instead of putting up decorations, I got to travel with my family to exotic destinations. Then, of course, there were the debt years, where every single purchase on my credit card was laden with guilt (read more about credit card debt on debtconsolidation.com).

This year, though, I’m not traveling. I’m not having Chinese food (although I still might go to the movies!). I’m just celebrating, in a big way. And here’s why.

I’m not in debt anymore

This is the first year since college (wow) that I don’t have any debt. I paid off my student loans. I paid off my car loan. Read about the other things on my 2013 love list I’ve accomplished here. I have a mortgage, but I’m comfortable with that. It’s not considerably more than rent was, and hey, I have to live somewhere, right?

I have a new home

I bought a condo this year (read about that here, if you want!). The condo is brand new, and it’s time to start introducing it to holiday traditions. Hey, condo, you look pretty sweet with a big tree in your living room. Oh and you have a mantle where I can hang my stockings with care! Awesome.

I live with my sister

My little sister and I are living together, and she moves out at the end of this month. It’s important to me to start holiday traditions in Portland, with my sister, so she always knows she has a place to go back to (complete with a stocking) every year.

My boyfriend is moving in (eek!)

Sister out, boyfriend in. I’m as sad about her leaving as I am excited about him moving in. it’s a real mixed bag, I tell you what! But we’re building a home together, and that home is the kind that celebrates Christmas, okay?

It’s my job now

My mom passed away at the end of August (here’s the text of the eulogy). She loved the holidays. Thanksgiving was her favorite, for sure, but Christmas was a very close second. My dad isn’t going to decorate now that she’s gone, and I’m the oldest daughter. I feel her in the decorations and traditions we’re starting.

I’m hosting Christmas dinner

And you can’t host Christmas dinner without having a Christmasy home! What’s a prime rib if there aren’t any decorations up? Still delicious, I’m sure, but not a Christmas dinner.

To hedge against sadness

The holidays are hard when you’re missing someone you lost. But you know what? I think the twinkling lights go a long way toward “keeping spirits bright” and I’m doing the best I can.

If I’ve learned anything at all this year, it’s that life doesn’t always (ever) go the way you plan. But you can look for reasons to be happy, or you can look for reasons to be sad. I miss my mom every day, and I always will. But it’s better to do things she loved than to skip them altogether. When we go look at lighted ships, we’ll be smiling through our tears. But that’s better than sitting at home doing nothing, wishing we could do those things with her.

So I’m going big.

Are you?


5 Good Reasons Not To Shop on Thanksgiving Day - Newlyweds on a Budget November 16, 2017 - 10:10 am

[…] numbers of retailers are trying to move the start of the holiday shopping season to Thanksgiving day. Here are five really good reasons to avoid the so-called sales that start that […]

Emily @ DavenportDIY December 16, 2013 - 6:36 am

Hugs- love that you’re taking it on. Your mom would be so proud 🙂 I hope it’s a wonderful holiday filled with memories of her!

Mo' Money Mo' Houses December 14, 2013 - 8:19 am

That’s awesome! I’m sort of going big. Since my HB and I live away from family and are just doing Christmas the two of us, I want to make sure we both have a good time so I’m making sure everything is prepared and I may have spent a bit more money on everyone this year too.

Weekly Blog Love - Baby It's Cold Outside | MoMoneyMoHouses December 14, 2013 - 8:16 am

[…] Why I’m Going Big This Holiday Season by Newlyweds on a Budget […]

Kathleen December 13, 2013 - 5:16 pm

Thanks, Erin and Kali! 🙂 It has been fun.

Erin @ My Alternate Life December 13, 2013 - 11:21 am

These sound like great reasons for going big, Kathleen 🙂 And congratulations on the BF moving in, that’s great!

Happy holidays!

Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial December 13, 2013 - 5:37 am

Usually I’m not one for going all out during Christmas, but these are some really wonderful, beautiful reasons for doing so Kathleen 🙂 This post made me smile, and I think you are going to have a really fantastic Christmas with your family. I’m sure they will love and appreciate all the work you put in to go big this year!


Leave a Comment