What are your favorite holiday traditions? Do you go berserk each year trying to decorate or do you gather the family and enjoy a leisurely afternoon installing the decorations of the season? Wherever you land on this continuum, it might be time to check on the “we always do it this way” types of activities. Shoulds are not allowed in Santa’s pack!
From a financial perspective, these traditions are expensive, especially if it turns out nobody is that interested. One way to tell if a change is needed is if you are the only one getting it all done. When measuring the cost, don’t forget to consider time, talent and treasure (money).
Travel: Do you travel for the holidays? Have you tried some alternative techniques, from taking the train instead of driving to offering to book a nice B and B (or Airbnb) for the visiting family members?
The Tree(s): How many? Fake or real? Lie down for a nice nap and decorate the rosemary bush instead? Holidaze….
Entertaining: Whether you prefer a bountiful dinner party, an ‘Open House’ or gathering the clan together after a school concert, make a plan and set a budget in advance.
Gifts: many families organize gift giving around experiences, or gifting locally. Some make things at the do-it-yourself ceramic place, cook together, or offer to take someone else’s kids out for an afternoon of shopping or the movies. Looking for gifts made just down the street ensures more of the funds stay in your community. Another strategy is to give everyone the same thing, from tickets to the local playhouse to down slippers or cloth napkins you made yourself.
Think about why you do certain things in December, and if they still bring you joy.
Will they bring family and friends together?
Could you have a low-key gathering on Boxing Day instead (12-26)?
Attend the live reading/playing of Handel’s Messiah at church?
Can it involve recycling such as a ‘white elephant’ exchange or Bill Cosby sweaters?
Donate or do something for others in your community-or make time to do something special for a family, non-profit or school AFTER the New Year has begun.
Whatever your decision, and especially if you have a new household, be intentional about your traditions this year. You will enjoy them more and maybe even save a little ‘green’.
- Christmas Spirit; It’s Free (becomingcliche.wordpress.com)