Have you visited a major retailor or craft store lately?  You have probably seen the all too early reminders that the holiday season is fast approaching.  While aisles and aisles of holiday decorations and supplies should bring back happy memories and induce feelings of joy and festiveness…the holidays often bring unwanted stress and financial burden.  Traditions that began in gratitude and spiritual celebration for many families end up triggering events that lead to regret and financial uncertainty in the weeks following.

Rather than sticking with the status quo and accepting what seems like an obligation to overspend, you can begin new traditions in keeping with the spirit of the holidays.

  1. Food for the Soul:  Trade in the long grocery list and day of labor in your kitchen for a day of service.  During the holiday seasons there are a number of extra opportunities to help serve meals and gather supplies for those in need.  Make it a family activity centered around giving and gratitude.
  2. Creative Gift Giving:  How many gifts do you give or receive that end up being returned or regifted?  As an alternative to items that may not get used or you are unsure will be appreciated, think outside the gift box.  Make a donation in honor of your giftee to a worthy charity or one he or she feels passionate about.   A small donation will go a long way in benefiting others and making your loved one feel good.
  3. Less Means More:  If you love gift giving too much to scale back, give yourself the gift of holiday savings by making your own list and checking it twice!  Take the extra time to come up with one thoughtful gift for each person that has meaning rather than focusing on many gifts that may not stand the test of time. Remember, thoughtful does not necessarily mean expensive.  Some of the most special gifts include family photos, and other creative ways to capture memories that are very reasonably priced.
  4. Adopt New Tradition:  In the spirit of the holidays, engage your family to adopt a family or a child who may not be as fortunate.  Rather than stressing out about whether you’ve found the perfect gifts, redirect some of those funds to making the holidays amazing for others.  By exchanging your long list of gift recipients with one or two who really are in need, you will feel great about your choice and the savings you experience.   Get your extended family involved and when you gather for your holiday meals, celebrate the gift of charitable giving.
  5. Draw Out Savings:  In an effort to make the post-holiday weeks easier on your entire family, engage them in drawing names for gift giving.  Set a price point that feels comfortable for everyone and then set out on your quest for a gift for that one special person whose name you draw.

If you have children in your life, any of the ideas above would set a great example.  To help further drive home the importance of financial responsibility and charitable giving, check out our ThriveTime game available here on Amazon.  An investment in financial education today will reinforce the lessons that will come from the strategies above.
To Your Success!