The holiday season is an exciting time. But it can also be a stressful time as people scramble to round up money to pay for gifts, go on trips, host parties, and so on. This can shift your focus to money-related concerns: maybe this leaves you trying to figure out how to save or earn more money for the holidays, or how to get the best deals on gifts.
While budgeting for the holidays and spending money on gifts is perfectly fine, the concept of money shouldn’t consume you during this special time of year.
The holidays are about more than money. Here are a few ways to help you focus on some other ways to enjoy the holiday season that don’t directly involve personal finance.
Worry About What You Spend Time On
The holiday season should be about slowing down and spending time with people who matter most in your life. Throughout they year, every day can be fast-paced as we pack our schedules with work and other tasks and often put off our relationships with loved ones.
This is one of the best times of year to rekindle your connection with loves ones and spend some quality time together. Invite distant relatives over, visit family members, or you can meet up with an old friend to catch up, share stories and create memories together.
There are many relaxing and low cost things you can do with loved ones like hosting a potluck or a movie or game night.
Give, But Know Your Limits
Giving is an important part of this season. But it’s also important to know your financial limits and avoid trying to buy someone’s love, affection or respect. If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase a gift for everyone you know, you don’t have to stress out over how to get more money or work through the holidays non-stop.
Earning extra money is great, but not at the expense of your well being. There are quite a few other ways to give without having a ton of money and they just involve a little creativity.
You can give your time by volunteering with an organization to help someone in need. You can also make homemade gifts or cook or bake for people you know. If you have any special talents in the kitchen like being able to make yummy preserves, you can make batches of food items for others to enjoy.
Brainstorm a few ideas of items and services that customize that will add value and meaning to someone else’s life or simply just brighten their day.
Prepare for the Upcoming New Year
Before the year ends, take some time for yourself to relax and reflect on your life and your goals for the following year. Clear your mind from all the busyness of the holiday season and reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far and what you’d like to accomplish in the following year.
Take time out to declutter your home and purge things that you don’t want or need to take into the next year.
Create Traditions and Have Experiences
If you have kids in your family, holiday traditions are probably a must. But even adults enjoy holiday traditions and experiences as opposed to piling up a bunch of material items.
If you ask an adult or child what gifts they received for Christmas 5 years ago or how much money they spent or saved, they probably won’t even remember. But if you ask what their family’s holiday traditions are, they might perk up when they reminisce about the fun experiences they have each year proving once again that experiences and traditions usually outweigh money and gifts.
Play holiday-themed music in your house, bake cookies, attend a free tree lighting festival in your town, go sledding, take pictures to create and send out seasonal e-cards to distant loved ones -- or make up a totally new tradition.
Money doesn’t need to be everything during the holiday season, and there are plenty of other areas of your life to focus on during this time. You’ll be able to make the holidays more fulfilling and enjoying this year by taking the time out to reconnect with friends and family, self-reflect, and create some new traditions.
About the Author: Chonce is a freelance writer who's passionate about helping others get out of debt and work toward financial stability. You can connect with her on her blog, MyDebtEpiphany.com.