Holiday for Less
The holiday season is upon us. I feel the joy of giving burning a little ember in my heart. I love everything about Christmas. The lights make me happy. The brightly colored presents under the tree make my heart burst with joy. Decorating the tree, sipping hot chocolate, caroling with our friends, and giving gifts to the people I love. It is all so wonderful. But this year I am committed to having a happy holiday for less.
But can’t the holidays be stressful? I mean heart wrenching, nerve-racking, hands shaking, heart palpitating, with total nervous breakdown type of stress. Every season my wallet becomes damaged goods. My bank account quivers. And my nerves are shot by January 1st. February is almost over when I finally feel like I am recovering. Is that fun? Does that make for a happy holiday? NO!
Last year I saw a story on the news. A woman was being interviewed after losing everything she owned in this terrible economy. She said she learned not to try to keep up with the Jones’ because the Jones’ don’t have anything either. I think it is safe to say that we are all in the same boat in this economy. Nobody has come through this terrible time unscathed. We have all had losses and our entire world is suffering financially. Is there more suffering on the horizon? Yes, clearly, there is.
So why go through the pain? Let’s not. We can make our holiday wonderful, filled with love and warmth. Yet, I think we can do it with less. Don’t you?
Let’s Do It For Less!
We can have a happy holiday season for less by implementing 6 simple tips to keep spending under control and stress at a minimum.
1. Opt for paper instead of plastic at the grocery store and use your brown paper bags for wrapping. A simple string tied in a bow makes for a beautiful package.
You can dress it up further by tucking a sprig of greenery from the yard into the bow. Is there anything more wonderful than opening a gift wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string? I think there is even a song about this!
2. Instead of buying Christmas cards, send a personal letter or an email telling your friends and family what you have been up to all year.
3. Give home-made gifts or home-baked goods instead of store-bought items and save a load of cash. We like to make a hot chocolate in a jar recipe and give it to our friends. It is very inexpensive but so much fun and easy to do. The kids help me and so it makes for a warm holiday family time as well.
One year my sister gave us a couple of jars of her homemade jam. We enjoyed that jam more than I can say, especially Doc. He goes gaga over home-made jam. Now, what did my sister give me last year? I don’t remember. But I remember that incredible jam. Case in point.
4. Remember everyone is suffering financially. Your entire family has been affected one way or another. Call them. Ask them if they would like to forgo gift giving this year. Instead celebrate your love for each other with a Christmas feast and the gift of time spent together. I bet they will take you up on that!
5. Instead of gift giving, do a recipe exchange with your family and friends. Pull your favorite most treasured recipes from your cupboard and write them down on index cards. Hole punch them in the corner and tie them with a beautiful ribbon. This is a gift that is sure to be treasured for a lifetime. By the way, this is just what I want for Christmas. Just saying.
6. Exchange acts of service. Instead of giving a tangible item, give of yourself. Wash someone’s windows, mow their lawn, weed their garden, give a helping hand. Put your acts of service in the form of a home-made gift card and hang it on the tree. Is there any greater gift than giving your time and helping someone you love and cherish.
What ideas and traditions do you have for making a happy holiday for less? Leave me a comment and I will post some of your ideas in my side bar. Let’s make this a wonderful stress free holiday season filled with love and warmth and the wonder of giving to others. But let’s make it a happy holiday for less.