How many holiday seasons are there every year nowadays? Christmas and Halloween have turned into major advertising pushes by companies desperate to increase their profits. The downside of this for you as the consumer is that you are the one that has to shoulder the burden of paying for it all.
The sheer cost of the holiday seasons can be extremely stressful, particularly with the subtle advertising aimed at making children want more and more expensive presents. The following tips will help you to reduce the stress of the holidays and enjoy them more.
Firstly, it's important that you decide upon a budget, either on a per person or per holiday basis. I know people who have a wonderful Christmas, and then spend the rest of the year struggling and stressing to pay it off. Don't fall into that trap. Make sure you spend how much you can afford to. If this means saving regularly throughout the year in order to avoid Christmas debt, then do so.
Find some different ways to give gifts. You can make some gifts, or make cakes or other foods for people. Remember that the spirit of the holidays is about giving, not the gift (despite what the advertising companies want you to believe). A handmade, well thought out gift is much more treasured than a mass produced gift bought from a faceless store.
If you want to entertain people then find inexpensive ways of doing this. My family came up with a great idea when everyone was having some financial difficulties. At any family gathering we held a buffet. Everyone bought along different foods and we had a really great meal with lots of interesting food. A potluck party or bring a plate buffet will help you keep the costs down and perhaps even introduce you to some interesting new foods!
When it comes to going out and enjoying yourself, people often make the assumption that these have to be expensive and costly. Having children I've discovered how true this is. The best days with the children have cost absolutely nothing! I took them to the mountains and spent the day hiking, identifying and climbing trees and spotting animals. The kids had a great time and it cost nothing more than the cost of driving there (we even took packed lunches).
People wrongly make the assumption that in order to have fun you need to spend money. With a little bit of creative thinking and a sense of fun, you can enjoy anything at all (I've even been able to get the kids to enjoy washing up and cleaning!).
And perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give people is the gift of letting them know you care. If someone is alone a lot of the time, just turning up and spending time with them is a wonderful gift - and it costs you nothing. Many people feel very lonely in the holiday season, and giving the gift of company may be the best thing you can give them.
Gift companies would love us all to believe that the holiday seasons have to be expensive, but as you've just learned they do not. If you take some time to plan, to think and are willing to be creative then you can have a fantastic time with minimal cost. Reducing the costs of the holiday seasons will help to reduce your stress and increase your enjoyment of life.