The Christmas Poll

Christmas is coming.  Yes, it may be a few months away – and we may try to push it out of our minds as long as possible – but it’s coming just the same!  Which brings me to a new Reader Poll: When you think of Christmas, what are the first words that come to mind?
Now I’m not talking about what you SHOULD think about – I’m talking what you REALLY think about.  Okay – here are my Christmas worries.

Tis the Season for:

1) Stress, stress, and more stress!

2) Regret. Each Christmas I look back guiltily – wishing I’d had the time to make those special cookies, or done that fun craft with the kids, or just plain enjoyed the season.

3) Debt. No matter how much I try to hit those holiday sales – I always end up putting things on the credit card – which weighs heavily on me.

And honestly, I immediately think of several other things that have nothing to do with Baby Jesus, and Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men.  That’s just the truth, no matter how much I wish it weren’t so.

Well friends – that’s all about to change.  This year the Time2$ave Team has been working diligently behind the scenes on a big Christmas Project!  Starting tomorrow, we’ll begin unveiling our grand plan to help you organize, prepare, and take little steps together to make this Christmas a joyfully different experience.
Would you like to take this journey to a stress-free Christmas with us?  Then stay tuned throughout the next few months as we plan with purpose for a PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS!

Now for the Reader Poll:

Tell us what YOU think about when you hear the word Christmas.  What causes the most stress and takes away that joy and peace that we all want during the season?  Leave your comment below, and on Wednesday we’ll give a prize  to one reader who comments !


  1. Roni Kemp says

    I started to think about Christmas at the beginning of the month. I live in Ohio and my folks live in PA. Usually, I go home for Christmas and spend the entire month of December with them. My kids with me of course. This year, I won’t be able to do that due to car issues and money issues. I’m a full time college student and do not work. Being a single mother as well … money is always tight.

    I expressed this to my mom during one of our daily phone calls. I was getting very depressed. My kids are 26b – 18b – and a 14g. My mom started to let me know that at their ages, they should be well enough aware of finances to not demand anything huge from me and be happy with simple gifts and time together.

    I thought about it for a long while. I eventually worked myself out of the depression and figured that she was right. I talked to the kids, and told them 1 gift each, preferably under 100 dollars. They’ll also get small stockings with the normal things inside, deoderant, razors, cologne, and those type personal items. Christmas eve, we’re going to spend out time at the soup kitchen, volunteering and helping those who have even less than we do. Then on Christmas day, we’re going to cook dinner together, rent a few Christmas movies and spend time being a family.

    We’re going to put up a tree, ‘tho not a huge one, and we’re even going to make ornaments with cinnamon dough. I’d like to start donating time through out the year, to remind us how very lucky we actually are.

    I thank God for my mum. She’s been my rock and guide in becoming more close to my God, and helping me through the past few years that have been some of the hardest.

    I thank God for this site too. I’ve made use of coupons offered, and freebees for little “extra” Christmas gifts for the kids. You guys are awesome!!!


  2. Crishelle says

    OH, I almost forgot that we decided after Christmas last year that we would start a new tradition this year. Thanksgiving evening we will each suggest an idea for a “Gift to Jesus” and it will be an act of service that we can do as a family. This goes beyond the toys for tots donations and the shoe boxes, of course, and has to include physical activity or personal experience of some sort that will help another individual or family. I am so excited to see what my whole family can come up with! If anyone has creative suggestions, feel free to express them!

  3. Crishelle says

    Just two years ago I stopped stressing out at Christmas time because I started shopping early and every year I am DONE the day after Thanksgiving. It is my last Christmas shopping day of the year. I even buy a few generic type gifts for anyone I may have forgotten. Now I can enjoy the holiday and make cookies etc. with my kids. This is also important because I am a Foster parent and last year I got a new placement less than a week before Christmas and I had free time to run out and get him a full Christmas, eventhough I limited myself to get it all done in one day. It was wonderful! I can’t believe I ever did it differently now! i REALLY get to enjoy the season! And, now with couponing, my goal is to not have to step foot in any store the entire month of December! I love it!

  4. sam burgess says

    Christmas is my favorite time of the year!! I grew up with everything I needed, but my mom was a single mom of seven kids, so we never got anything we “wanted” for Christmas– we always got needs, like underwear, socks, etc. But we still LOVED Christmas– it was the one time of year that everything felt “right.” I always think of my mom blasting Harry Connick, Jr Christmas CD’s/tapes at while we all put up our tree November 1st… I carry those things on with my family… even before we had kids, my hubby and I would put up our tree Nov. 1…. he hated putting it up that early at first, but the idea of not just seemed so wrong….

    On Christmas Eve, Mama always had a big tin of the three-flavored popcorn, read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and gave us one gift (always pajamas!). I love to carry on these traditions, but I’ve always only done it with my baby brothers and sisters until now…. this year, my own babies are 2 and 3, so I am beginning to think about them barely remembering these early years and I want them to have the same memories/feelings I do! I don’t want Christmas to be about wants, but since I’m a little more fortunate than my mom was financially, I want to give them wants…. My biggest stress factor with Christmas (maybe- my ONLY one?!?) is thinking, “If I do this, will my kids understand the real reason for the season, or are they going to associate Christmas with gifts?” I want to raise my kids with the same beliefs I was raised with, but I’m so nervous that it’s not going to work, because so much emphasis is placed on gift-giving, etc……I knew I couldn’t possibly be the only one with holiday stress— as much as I hate that anyone else stresses over small things, I’m comforted in knowing that I’m not alone!

  5. Beth Barbee says

    When I hear the word Christmas I get stress out because of money. I instantly think ” Oh my gosh, how are we going to come up with the money to buy all the gifts this year” We have to buy for so many people with out buying for ourselves and our children we spend $600.00 on just other family members. That makes it to where we get nothing for ourselves and our child dosen’t get very much, This year though I am finding deals that you post on here and saving alot of money. It is helping out alot.

  6. Darlene says

    All of the stress of going to many places and last minute baking adds a lots of stress to this Wonderful holiday. Christmas being my most favorite of all ,The Birthday of Jesus. No doubt I will be saving money for gifts and will have much more to give to those in need and family.. Thanks so much for all your time you girls put into helping us use those valuable coupons.Looking forward to a less stressful holiday in 2010 because of Time 2 Save ,I will have more time and more gifts to give .What more blessings could I want.?

  7. DM says

    When I think of Christmas I have all of these “GRAND” illusions of the house all decorated inside and out, all of the presents are EXACTLY what everyone has always wanted & wrapped with care, the Christmas cards done & mailed out, making all the life long Christmas memories while making goodies in the kitchen with my girls and EVERYONE on BOTH sides of our family getting along. Well like I said i have a GRAND ILLUSION !!! In reality the house doesn’t get decorated until the last minute because I have a serious case of ADD and can’t get the house cleaned and decorated at the same time. The gifts are unfortunately never what they have always wanted because I am NEVER able to afford what they really want. The cards don’t usually go out until the day before or day after because I spend November & December trying to pick out a design. The Christmas baking is never done because I am trying to get last minute gifts for all of my family, my extended family and my husbands family while having the normal Christmas functions. As far as both sides of the family (mine & his) getting along well, I think that is pretty much a lost cause. They all think that the Christmas traditions that we had when I was a kid should still go on. No one wants to acknowledge we have our own families and new traditions to start (we do his parents & sisters family Christmas Eve, then Candle light Service, we jump to our feet Christmas morning get the kids dressed & let them look at their Santa gifts as we walk by on our way out the door to his parents to have Christmas morning breakfast. We then go to my moms house where we have another breakfast and let the children pass out and open presents. We then pass out ALL of my (3 brothers & wives, 1 sister & husband, 1 niece & her husband) families gifts. The opening usually takes 5 hours. We then clean up & start preparing for dinner ( full formal). During this time I go with my husband & our girls to his aunts & uncles with all of their kids to celebrate Christmas. We hurry open gifts snack on
    hor’dourves, then pile into the car & go back to moms to do the “dirty Santa” game with all 13 of my family members & 4 family friends. The day usually winds up around 10 ish. When all is said & done I am exhausted, broke & no family memories. I SO SO wish it was different. We are TOTALLY missing the WHOLE POINT !! EVERY YEAR I say I want it to be different !!! So stress yes i know stress at Christmas

  8. Grooms says

    I’m sorry but, I love CHRISTMAS… I’m a stay at home mom of 2 beautiful children and while the budget is tight and the gift list long nothing excites me more……… In fact I get so excited my tree and all the decorations go up the end of October. That way we get 2 full months of Christmas bliss.

  9. Gail says

    I usually stress about the money!! I am not going to have enough money to get all the gifts and buy all the food too. But no stess this year I am going to be stocked with food ahead after using all my coupons. The stress will melt away when I do not have to purchase all the food. I will be free to enjoy giving to my first grand-daughter. I have three son. SO it is soooooo much fun to spoil a girl. I also will have extra food so that I will be able to give to those who will be in need this time of year

  10. jbc says

    I think about not being able to spend time with all of the extended family. Someone always gets their feelings hurt. They all want to see those little ones.

  11. Megan says

    I absolutely LOVE Christmas time!! The decorations and lights and food and family get togethers!! Unfortunately, the first thing that pops into my head is, ‘How in the world are we going to pay for everything or what can I make to reduce the cost??” I am so glad you will be helping us to deal with this because I would love for main focus to be on Jesus but it’s so hard when all the stresses of life get in the way!! Thanks again!!

  12. says

    Kasey here – chiming in a little late.

    I have to admit, I do think about stress. I so want to make wonderful Christmas memories with my children that have nothing to do with gifts. However, the business of the season catches up with me and I feel total mommy guilt. I want my kids to wake up to the same breakfast that my mom always made my family on Christmas morning. I have so many craft ideas and recipes that I have put aside to do with my kids that illustrate the true reason for the season. I want to see those cute little Christmas tins in my cabinets and fridge filled with fudge, homemade cookies, and chex mix. Instead of buying each other a bunch of gifts I had rather, as a family adopt children off an angel tree and spend time together shopping for that family, and pray for that family each night together. No matter how much I WANT to have a peaceful and stress free Holiday season all of the responsibilities that come along with decorations, family get togethers, Christmas parties, Christmas cards, family photos, even church services (it’s not that I want it to be that way) and I end up feeling very overwhelmed.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the decorations everywhere and the smell of Christmas. I want to put my tree up early so that we can really enjoy it before taking it down again. I love buying gifts for other people and the thoughts of homemade fudge makes my mouth water now. Nevertheless no matter how much I love the Season, it still evokes a lot of stress.

    Why? We travel to two states, to see both of our families. Then I try to balance home school, family responsibilities, the business, and the things in life that scream they need me right now. Really underneath all of the things I really want are unmet expectations that I set up for myself that are impossible if I don’t make some kind of plan. The things I want are not impossible, but they do have to be intentional.

    Three years ago my family spent Christmas at Hospice with my dad. Our family joined us for Christmas Eve dinner at Hospice in the family room, we opened gifts in my dads room by his bedside. Although the doctors had told us that he would not make it through Christmas I am thankful they were wrong and we had two more months with him. The craziness of that year along with the next two years of adjusting to Christmas with my dad I am ready to step back and focus. This year I have made a commitment to honor my dad and truly celebrate the joy of Jesus’ birth. In order for that to happen, there is change coming in the Trenum home and I can honestly tell you I am excited! We are changing our direction and the path that we’ve now chosen will take us to a different destination. A Purposeful Peaceful Christmas.

  13. Krisy says

    I LOVE Christmas time. I have learned my Gift is giving, so for Christmas I do stress alittle but it is b/c I want to try and get the best suited gift for each person. I love thinking about what each person would appreciate and this year I am really trying hard to be creative with my budget. Other than the stress of finding a great gift I love the smells, weather, decorations, kids just the sheer joy. I enjoy being with family especially since all our family live in Fl and we are here “by ourselves.” I Love watching the joy on my kids’ faces during all the special moments that come with the season. I really try to use this time as an easy way to share/show my love of Christ during this time. Hope this does not sound too cheesy and cliche’.

  14. Kelly says

    One of my biggest stresses at Christmas time is scheduling! Working around everyone’s schedule, trying to be at 3 places at once! Sometimes it really just drains me and really takes away from the whole meaning of Christmas worry about it.

  15. Erin Young says

    I totally think about MUSIC when I hear the word Christmas!! I listen to christmas music all year long. :) And I start to smell all those wonderful Christmas scents that Yankee Candle has out during the season. Fa la la la la la la la la!!!

  16. Marcia says

    Unfortunately, I along with lots of others, let the stress of shopping for those perfect gifts ruin the true meaning of Christmas. However, in the last couple of years, I have started cooking and baking treats that we place in tins and give to friends, especially older people in our community. I also try to put up relishes and/or make jellies during the summer months that I might put in a basket along with some treats for family members. My husband and I also made Kahlua and bottled it for gifts one year. When we gather for Christmas with my husband’s family, the young children usually get gifts, but we have started exchanging “white elephant” gifts among the older children and adults. Has gotten to be that even the younger children had rather do this than get a true gift. We have received such “gifts” as an old stinky tennis shoe to used/no balance gift cards. It’s really funny to see what everyone brings/receives each year. All of this helps to take pressure off finding that great gift, when we truly already have it, if we accept God’s love for us even when we are so undeserving. Merry Christmas!

  17. Jessica Reed says

    When I think of Christmas I see $$$$$$ and then ????? after it! We have 3 children and then a TON of family on my side and my husband’s.

    I think the thing that causes the most stress and takes away the fun and peacefulness of it all is everyone expecting gifts. There are some families decide to only buy for the kids, or to not do gifts at all, and then there are some that expect us to show up with 20 something gifts for everyone who is there. That’s impossible, especially when we have 3 kids of our own and about 50+ people to buy for!

  18. says

    ahhh…Chritsmas…well to honest I think it will have anew meaning for me this year. I have just recently come to know the Lord,and I already have felt a newfound peace over my everday life. I konw that this year the stress of wanting to buy Everyone I Know a gift won’t be such a burden, because I will be looking more a t the big picture now. Helping,donating,(thanks to you guys and your website) and just not worrying so much about what the kids have to have,but trying to show them what it;s really about. That is what I hope will happen…Will it? I will be praying for sure.

  19. Caroline says

    The one word that puts a serious kink in all my Christmas joy is TIME. It seems like no matter how hard I organize and plan there is never enough of it!! Every year I tell myself I will be more prepared just to find myself in a mad dash to the store at the last second for the toy I forgot to pick up or the cookie dough because we didn’t have time to bake or even the ham one year!!

  20. EVE says


  21. kt says

    it’s horrible but i pretty much dread all of it. from halloween through new year’s day we have 4 major holidays, 4 birthdays in our house (not including the 6 extended family bdays) and all of the month (plus) long celebrations outside of the home for Christmas and Thanksgiving. while i should love it i hate it. there is no way to stretch our money out to even modestly cover all of that. and having 2 children’s birthday parties amidst the “ho-ho-ho” is hard–hard-hard.

    i hear it all the time “don’t buy Christmas – DO Christmas”. we purposefully set out to DO that last year. Only the kids received gifts and modestly at that. we didn’t exchange even a small token with adults. the week after school started my daughter’s 6th grade class had a “show & tell” (I KID YOU NOT!) where each girl shared what wonderful gift(s) they received. the majority showed new iphones, androids, or other phones and laptops. my daughter, already quite & shy was mortified to show her “big” gift which was in no way electronic, glamorous or envy-inspiring. it was horrible.

    this year things are even more tight, with extra bills and an extra out of town trip to celebrate the matriach of the extended family. who knows when we’ll be able to get everyone together before she passes.

    sorry girls – everything about the christmas season makes me want to vomit just anticipating all of it. (if you collect prayer requests add me to it please)

    my favorite holiday? EASTER so rich spiritually and not (yet) blow out of the water commercially and there are no birthdays, or other celebrations around that time. I love Easter!

    • Jamie says

      KT – We totally understand! Christmas is hard-hard-hard. And we have 2 birthdays thrown in there as well! I want to focus on Christ and family and making memories with my children – and no matter how good my intentions are – there is always just SO MUCH TO DO!!! Sigh. Anyway – that’s why we’re asking. We want to help everyone out this year!

  22. Tammy says

    And one more thing, we chose to retire here to NW Ga because we fell in love with the Chattanooga area, we usually have a house overflowing at Thanksgiving and Christmas, because I always “adopt” single sailors or sailors with their new families who can’t go home either because they have no leave, too far, or just can’t afford it. Or just a bunch of wives and children when they sailors are deployed, so we can be together to support each other. Last year was the first year I didn’t, and I felt lost without it. Because for the first time, we are not near a base and don’t know anyone to “adopt”. If you know of any reserve families that have been activated (because I think that’s all there is around this area) or if you know someone near a base, please adopt a “soldier or his family” so they can be part of your holiday if they can’t be home. I usually have 30-50 people in my home every holiday, and that is the one thing I DO miss with being away from a base.

  23. Lynn says

    We have 3 boys, ages 12, 9 and 5 months. We know from experience how fast our kids grow up. Christmas is so stressful with the busy schedules not to mention all the money spending. I would love to really enjoy Christmas this year with our boys and start new memories ecspecially now with the new baby in the house. Looking forward to your Peaceful Christmas Post!

  24. Tammy says

    I do love the Christmas season, but the most stress for me has always been worrying about my husband missing the wonderful memories with my kids. We have 4 kids, 22, 18, 16 & 15. Oldest 2 boys, youngest 2 girls. My husband just retired from the Navy Dec 2009, and I can’t even count how many Holidays he has missed. In 2007, Thanksgiving weekend we took a special vacation to a place we had never been and isn’t even big on the map, Blowing Rock, NC. It was the most amazing and special Thanksgiving we have ever had, because the Monday after Thanksgiving, my husband got underway (for 4 weeks), But 10 days after he left, our oldest son left for boot camp in the Navy. I was terribly stressed and concerned about how he was doing in boot camp and praying for him to at least get a good dinner and a “break” for the holiday, and I would have given anything for a phone call from him (a mom dreaming, I know). Well, February he graduated and it was so amazing, and we did Christmas with him then! After so many years of my husband missing Christmas, and then my son, I was so grateful that my son was able to come home this last Christmas (2009) and we had family pictures made, the last ones with both of them on Active Duty. It was extra special, because we knew it COULD be the last year for awhile to have ALL 4 of my kids here. I was right, because my son went overseas in June and won’t be able to come home until his tour is over next June. Now deja-vu strikes again…. I knew this day would come, but a mom is never “fully ready”. My youngest son is at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) today as we speak, he won’t have his ship off date yet, but will within the next few weeks. My biggest fear is having a Christmas without both my boys. BUT I know to expect it, and that no matter what, my heart swells with pride and love for them and that I am just proud to have raised such wonderful children and its cool they took over where their dad left off to support and protect us. My Hope? Is that every one of our Military members have at least a warm meal and a few minutes to enjoy their holiday and able to reach out to the ones they love and talk to their wives, kids and parents to be able to tell them they love them…. no matter where they are and what they are doing. Thank you to all that serve and protect.

    I know this isn’t probably exactly what you were looking for, but for me, it isn’t about what you can buy, it is about the memories you have, and recording the ones and sending to whoever is deployed so they can at least see the joy and what they missed and so we can reflect later. I never use credit cards for Christmas, I put money away little by little throughout the year when I find a few extra bucks, buy things I find good deals on if I know they will still like it by Dec (harder as they get older) and then shop like mad on Black Friday to hopefully get it all done. This year will be no different, but honestly, I will be lucky to get my tree up and decorated when I know my son has no tree, decorations or anyone to spend it with and also knowing the possibility that my youngest son could be away for the holidays too. They grow too fast, hold on to your children, love and cherish every day….because before you know it they grow up and go off on their own in the “real world”.

  25. ladybugbob1029 says

    Right, wrong, or indifferent, I immediatley think of my gift list. I think of what I need to get each person and what the total cost will be. I try try try to save during the year to fund my Christmas expenses but always fall short, so I’m really excited about the Peaceful Christmas plans you are going to be sharing!!

  26. Crysta Davis says

    Christmas: Blessings, Happiness, Thankfulness! Too many people concentrate on the other things. There should be none of the unpleasant things. It is what we make it and try not to take away from it. All things are possible thru Christ!

    • Jamie says

      Crysta – I agree, we shouldn’t concentrate on all the stress and gift lists and unpleasant anxiety – we should get to revel in our blessings and happy times with family and friends! And that’s EXACTLY why we’re starting so insanely early this year with this big Christmas Plan – we want to have the hard, stressful stuff taken care of long before it’s cookie-baking time, and carol-singing time, and family gathering time!
      Here’s to a DIFFERENT kind of Christmas this year – one where we can focus on EXACTLY what you’re talking about!

  27. Kim Bowen says

    With Christmas on your mind, you hope that Jesus would the greatest gift of all, but we all seem to lose sight of the real reason of Christmas – JESUS. Last year with funds being low, we opted to just get the kids something, not each other or my family. Just to see them happy and enjoy what that got is the greatest. Plus we spend Christmas morning with my dad and my sisters family for breakfast is the greatest. Besides Jesus, my family means the world to me. We are just glad to have another year together.

  28. Andie says

    My husband and I have three boys, 19, 15 and in a momentary loss of a sanity, a 6 year old. We decided several years ago to do really *good* stockings and travel. Our kids have been to Disney, NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, DC. It has been a great move for our family! The boys have had great experience and tons of memories. So, instead of worrying about if we got the perfect gift and did we spend enough real family time, we know we accomplished. As a result, the Christmas season allows for us to spend that extra time with our extended families, make those Christmas cookies, and reflect on how blessed we are, not how big the credit card bill will be in January.

    Our oldest son has joined the Navy and will be graduating basic training about the second or third week of December. We plan on going to Waukegan which is just outside of Chicago for his graduation. We will spend the weekend with him in Chicago, visit some friends in Illinois, then plan on heading to St. Louis for a few days. This will be a change for us, we usually travel the week after Christmas!

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