I love Christmas. I have fond memories of spending time with family, eating cherry tarts and gingerbread men, watching holiday movies, midnight mass and the magic of the season. I love the sights, sounds and smells of the holidays.
That being said, I think that the holiday season has become a bit twisted and overwhelming. The stores are packed with toys, decorations and everywhere you turn there is an opportunity to spend your hard-earned money. Children's gifts are getting out of control and the season has become less about love and more about excess. People go into debt over the holiday season. How can we avoid having the holiday season get out hand? I think the answer is simple. You have to plan and be intentional.
First you need to decide what makes the holidays special to you and your family. That should be your priority. Next, you need to decide what you are willing to spend on the holidays and budget accordingly. You should do this early in the year, but if you haven't started saving for the holidays, there is no time like the present. You need to stick to your budget and refuse to go into debt. Spend within your means.
I also feel that it is necessary to mention that no gift will ever be able to convey love so we shouldn't even attempt it. Gifts are a nice part of the season but should not be the focus. Your children don't need a pile of things under the tree to make the season special. We have found that our daughter is quite happy to receive any gift at Christmas and doesn't expect things to be extravagant. Even if you have done this in the past, you can simplify this year. Things are not love. What matters most is time spent together.
I hope to delve more into holiday season prep in the coming weeks on Frugal Friday. I would like all of us to be able to relax more around the holidays and truly enjoy them. Happy Friday, friends!