Here we are just weeks away from the holiday season. The stores are already setting up their holiday displays, and you remember the shock of opening last January’s credit card bill.
The holidays are a time to come together as friends and family. It is a time to enjoy the spirit of the season. But somehow, we have commercialized it in our modern day celebration.
Making the holidays fun!
Below we are going to ask you some questions. Be honest with yourself, and you will save money and relieve stress related to gifting people.
Make a list of all the people that you are gifting. Are you giving them a gift out of obligation because they always give you one? Does giving to the people on your list make you happy or stressed? Are you blowing your holiday budget giving to people that you like, but would rather not give send a gift. If it were not the holidays, would you buy this person a gift just because you care?
Do not feel bad. We’ve all been there and some of stayed so long we got the tee shirt. It is time to bring the spirit of the holidays back to your life. First, break your list down into three lists.
- People you want to gift (family, close friends, your kids)
- People you have to give to
- People you enjoy and like but do not want to include them in your holiday budget.
Working from the bottom up, let’s find some solutions.
People you like, but do not want to give a gift too. This may include:
- Your children’s teacher
- The lady down the street that gives you the same fruitcake every year
Select a charity to give a donation. It can be any charity you hold dear, like the American Heart Association or a children’s hospital. Or, just stop at a Salvation Army bell ringers station. Make a donation of any size. You may want to donate a dollar for every name on your list, or just drop a $20 in the kettle.
Sit down and select a card for each one. Inside write a personal message wishing them a great holiday. At the bottom of the card write, I wanted my gift to you to be a special one, so I have made a donation to “X organization” in your honor. Happy holidays.” You do not have to disclose how much the gift was. You have made a donation to charity and crossed 15 people off your shopping list.
People you feel you have to give to
Your brother is bringing his new girlfriend to Christmas dinner, or your Aunt Sally will be there with handmade scarves for everyone. These are people you need to give a gift to, but it does not have to be expensive store-bought gifts.
Order your holiday candy in bulk. You will find all the candy you need here. Of course, if Aunt Sally is diabetic, you will order some sugar-free candy. As for the guests, you do not know, stick with allergy safe candy.
Make them a special holiday Pomander Ball. These are usually made with oranges ribbon and cloves. You wrap the orange with ribbon so that you have four sections. Leave the ribbon long enough that you can curl it at the top. You can use a few cloves on the fruit and around the bottom of the fruit to release the wonderful scent of the orange and cloves. Using a hot glue gun, glue individually wrapped candy to the strips of ribbon. You can use peppermints, Butterscotch, Chocolate Kisses, or whatever you like. Put a bow at the top of your candy pomander and tie it to the pieces of ribbon. Leave enough string to hang the pomander in their home.
Rock Candy Christmas Tree Ornaments
Candies can make beautiful tree ornaments. Tie a bow under the ball making a circle to hang the candy. You can wrap the sticks in glitter ribbon and hot glue a piece of candy in the center of the bow. They come in many colors. Place these in sets of 6 in a box filled with tissue paper. This is a really pretty way to decorate.
- Set your budget and stick with it – don’t let the overspending to ruin your holidays
- If you are cutting back this year, tell your adult children so they can prepare the young children
- Watch for online sales. Some stores are offering Black Friday sales online
- If you are 55 or over, you get a 15% discount at Kohl’s on Wednesdays (many other places have senior discounts too)
- Instead of the adults around your tree exchanging gifts, have each adult bring a dessert and exchange the treats. Other ideas are candles, ornaments, or coupons offering their service (wash your car, babysit, rake your yard, or something silly like singing to you while they rub your feet)
There are many easy ways to adjust your spending for the holidays. Just change your focus from the gifts to the guests and every moment will be cherished.