These wonderful days are, by far, my favorite time of the year. The fire place, the cold weather, smell of fire and cinnamon. Hot chocolate. Christmas songs. Holiday decorations. Reading Rudolph book for my kids, the beautiful music everywhere " Chestnuts roasting on the open fire"
How come with all these beauties, it became one of the most stressful times of the year? It suppose to be filled with joy and happiness. What happened? Why?
Yes. when it is holiday season, all people think about, is how much shoping they have to do, how much money they have to spend, how to make time for all the shopping. Last minutes shopping has become one of the greatest source of stress. Not to mention the Credit Card bills that will follow in January. So what is the solution? How can we have a wonderful holiday like good old day without going broke?
Here are some tips.
- The first thing you need to do is , change your mindset about holidays. Don't look at it as a chore needing to be done and over with. Think about how wonderful and beautiful it is. Look at it as a beautiful and joyful experience, not a source of stress.
- If you have time, buy ahead of time. When you see something on sale, or something that you know for sure would make someone happy, buy and save it ahead of time.
- Reduce your expectation and teach you family member to reduce theirs. You don't have to buy the biggest and the most expensive gifts. Get used to giving small meaningful gifts in stead of huge and expensive purchased gifts.
- When you give a simple, yet meaningful gift, the other person will appreciate, not feeling obligated to go out and shop for an expensive gift for your the next year.
- Give gifts of services or experiences, instead of unnecessary stuff. We all have closets, garages, pantries, cabinets and rooms packed with stuff. When you give a gift of service ( Massage, restaurant's gift certificate...) the person can truly enjoy it without adding to their clutter.
- You don't need to buy too many gifts for your kids. One nice present ( Something they need) and some mini stocking stuffer should be enough. Help your kids write a letter to Santa ahead of time and let them know that Santa can only bring 1-2 presents, so they need to choose their favorite and make it easier for Santa.
- Don't fill the stocking with cheap plastics. Place some edible, or educational gifts. Candy or cookie along with an old fashion,wooden or knitted ornament or toys are something kids will be looking forward to. One quality ornament per year, created a tradition in our home. It is easy to buy, inexpensive, makes my kids happy and it will not end in the landfills or trash can or clutter our home. They deeply value and always keep these ornaments.
- Make Do-It-Yourself gifts if you have time. Holiday cookies, Home made soaps and some other home made products are wonderful gifts with some personal touch.
- Make a list of all the people you want to thank, tip, or give gifts to, ahead of time. Start with writing their Holiday cards ahead of time to reduce the season's stress.
- For tips for your mail person or gardener..., it is better to write their names on an envelope ahead of time with a nice card, then plan ahead and fill the envelopes with the cash needed. This way, you wouldn't have the last minute stress. You can paper clip them to your calendar, so you would not forget about it.
- Buy only for people that you are close to. You don't need to go too far with gift giving. A small gift, like a plant or home made Wine or fruit basket with Farmers Market fruit, would make an awesome gift for business related presents.
- For your family member, keep an eye on what they need first. Don't go out and buy your husband anothe massager or golf related item , just to buy something, while he does not even play golf.
- Make sure you give them local gifts that helps the small businesses around you as well. It is rewarding too.
- Keep the wrapping to minimal. If you can use reusable gift wraps or bags, that would save you money and also is not creating waste.
Keep it simple and pleasant, so you can enjoy your holidays as well as your other family members. Happy gift giving.