Since the holidays are almost over, it’s a good time to reflect. Instead of waiting until next year, right now while you are putting away the decorations and cleaning up from all of the holiday madness, think about which traditions and activities brought the most joy to you and your family. Perhaps even have some discussions with family members to get everyone’s top 5 moments. Those can be the ones you focus on for next year, and if there are things that didn’t make anyone’s list, maybe those are the ones you can do without.
How We’ve Cut Back
In our family, we’ve gone through many iterations of what Christmas looks like for us as far as gift-giving. First, it was everyone got everyone else a gift. That worked okay when our family was small, but when it started to grow, it became monstrous. And expensive. And overwhelming, especially, I imagine, to the adults that were in charge of all the shopping and wrapping. That was when my mom had the brilliant idea to forgo presents and spend the money on a charity and a trip together instead of things. After a couple of years, we added in a drawing, where each person made a wish list, and someone else gifted them, but kept it under a certain limit. That morphed into only the kids in the drawing, and the adults doing a Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa with a family or household gift. This is currently what we do. When that doesn’t work for our family anymore, we will probably come up with a new plan. The idea is to keep evolving as our family does, and keep the overwhelm to a minimum.
How Can You Cut Back?
Take some time to sit down, before your memories become clouded with nostalgia, and contemplate the holiday season in your household. Take notes and put them in your calendar for next year, or even in the box of decorations. Ask yourself some questions. Where can your family make some changes to create a less stressful time for everyone? Which activities bring happiness to family members, and which are things that everyone does because that’s what you always do or what other people do? This doesn’t include only those things that cost your family money, but also your time since the busyness of the season can cost us our enjoyment of it.
Envision Your Perfect Holiday
Think ahead to next year. What is your vision of a magical holiday season? What do you think you will be reflecting upon at this time next year? With a little consideration today, you can help your future self have that perfect holiday season with less stress, fewer bills, and more joy in the next 365 days.