The holidays are a time that we should be enjoying the simple things in life: family, friends, and expressions of gratitude.
Is that true for you?
Unfortunately, for many people, the holidays have turned into an emotional and financial monster. Lots of travel, family stress, and over-extending your budget. A recipe for a not-so-simple holiday season.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. With some intentional decision making, you can keep your holiday season simple and enjoyable.
Less Busy, More Relaxation
Relaxation and reflection are an important part of living a healthy life. The holidays should be a time that you get a chance to unwind. You don’t have to be busy!
- Limit travel to one or two locations.
- Be thoughtful about event invitations you accept.
- Take time off of work to extend your holidays.
- Host gatherings only if you have the time/resources.
Embrace the spirit of the holidays, not the clutter.
It’s easy to get carried away with wanting to decorate your home for the holidays. But keep in mind that all of those decorations cost money and requires storage.
Set reasonable expectations for your home decor. For us, we put up a real Christmas tree, a wreath, and outdoor lights on two or three trees. This is enough to get us in the spirit, but only requires two small boxes of storage for the rest of the year.
Gifts That Matter
Giving and receiving gifts is a way to cherish the relationships you have, and show gratitude for people in your life. It should be a a great thing.
But with consumerism rampant, and marketing in our (and our kids) faces, holiday gift giving has turned into into an expensive mess for many people. Lots of gifts, lots of money.
It’s important to remember that nobody wants you to break your budget to buy them a gift. Don’t let holiday gift giving burden yourself or other people. Keep your gift giving simple and meaningful.
- Create a realistic budget based on your finances.
- Gift items that are useful.
- Suggest drawing names for large groups.
- Create a list of people/gifts before shopping.
The Holiday Mindset
Most importantly, you need to remember what the holidays are all about. You should go into the season with a focus on gratitude and togetherness. Spending meaningful time with people that are most important to you.
It’s a joyful time of year.
If you feel yourself getting stressed out, stop and identify what is causing it. Is it the busy calendar? Is it the gifts budget? Is it the hassle of decorations?
As you identify aspects of the holidays that are stealing your joy, you’ll probably find a commonality amongst them: they are optional. You don’t NEED to be busy. You don’t NEED to buy a bunch of gifts. And you don’t need to have the best decorations.
Actively try to focus your mindset on the important values of the holidays.