You Don’t Have to Stress over the Holidays

Holiday bow and gift box.

Christmas is drawing near and I am maybe half way done with my shopping! Do you have family members that are hard to buy for? They have everything they need, don’t collect anything, like a different type of style than you or they say “I don’t want you to buy me anything.” Maybe you have children and you are on a tight budget or you want to cut back from last Christmas, but are not sure how or what to do! I want to share a few ideas I use personally and some from friends of mine that I want to pass on! This year, I want to focus on less spending, more family time, unique ideas for yearly traditions and enjoying the reason for the season!

One thing I see a lot is parents stressing over what to get their children for Christmas. Let’s not put high expectations on children for “wanting” for Christmas, which must start early on. I found an article about how to unspoil your kids this holiday season and loved it. It discusses several things I was going to talk about, so I decided to share it with you! Instead of the main focus on gifts, think about things you can do with them this holiday season to make lasting memories. Check out the abundance of ideas below:

  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen, food bank, nursing home, hospital, children’s hospital, senior citizens center, schools, local charities – this could be serving food, helping them with Christmas meals, crafts, singing, read stories or fellowship. Ringing the bell for Salvation Army, donating toys to local charities, sponsoring an Angel Tree child/family, donate to the local schools Family Resource Center.
  • Make your own ornaments and give them to family members, take them to nursing homes or hospitals, or keep them as a keepsake and decorate your own tree!
  • Participate in local activities like going to see a play, musical, ride through a neighborhood or park that has lights, visit Santa at local events (cheaper than the malls), church festivities, look online to see if your area has a website or community calendar listing all the activities that will be taking place.
  • Play in the snow, go sledding, read Christmas stories/books, watch a movie (could be the same one every year), cut down your own tree, Advent calendar, Elf on the Shelf, write a letter to Santa, set out homemade cookies for Santa (decorate/make your own plate – check out pinterest for ideas), camp out in front of the tree one night with the lights on, fill out Christmas cards, play board games or have a tournament (like billiards, darts, etc) with the family!
  • Bake cookies and give them as gifts and/or have them at your holiday meal. You can make them festive by putting them in holiday tins, wrapping them in cellophane and tying ribbon around it.
  • Set aside a day to put up the decorations as a family, put on Christmas music or a movie to play in the background, make hot chocolate, or light the fireplace.
  • Give the gift of yourself! Make gift certificates or give a card with a note that says any of the following: I’ll help you paint your living room; wash your car; clean the basement; clean the garage; babysit for a date night; paint your nails/toes; ideas are limitless!!! Apprisen has some great free gift certificates you can download and print off.

Now for the gift giving ideas on a budget; check out the following websites for ways to save. These are just the few I use, but there are a ton more!

  • Black Friday – Browse the ads, make a list of where you are going and what you are going to buy, make sure you have created your budget already, do your homework on the best deals, shop with cash. Don’t forget about Cyber Monday!
  • Ebates – Open your internet browser to Ebates, join as a member, click on the store you wish to make a purchase from, get discounts for purchases made and then you will get a check with the amount you saved.
  • Google Chrome – Honey extension – You must add this extension to your web browser. Click on the “H” at the end of the address bar and coupon codes and discounts pop up. Add items to your cart, hit the “H” and it automatically applies the discounts.
    Groupon.com – Discounts on local products and services. Put your zip code in.
  • Pinterest.com – This is not a site you can purchase from, but it gives you tons of ideas. Ways to make your own gifts, recipe ideas, decorating ideas and so much more. They also have a search feature.
  • Etsy.com – Similar to pinterest in the sense it gives you great ideas and you could make them yourself, but you can make purchases from this site.

Don’t stress over holiday spending. Instead, enjoy the season!

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