The holidays are an overwhelming time whether we have a tight budget or have enough to freely
spend on others. Pressure, tension and frenzy all lead to exhaustion and eventually a burst if
emotion. Overspending and acquiring debt that created excess material stuff in our homes that
will soon be forgotten.
Instead of all the trappings, emphasize the experience. There need not be the running around
and frenzy associated with the holidays. Time and experiences are worth the while. Remember
that things go away with time; memories and experiences never do. We do not need a special
set of dishes for each holiday. Or store bought decorations. Use what you have. Make what you’d like. Decorate a cake or cookies to represent the holiday.
Have get-togethers that are potlucks where everyone is included but the contribution is manageable. Light some candles, play music. Bring some old traditions and create some new ones. Read, play dvd’s of movies or home movies. Remember family members who are gone but that you have beautiful memories of. Light a candle for them. Cook something they would prepare for the holiday, the smell and taste will bring back memories. Display flowers in their honor they would have loved.
Gift yourself with gift certificates. A meal at your house. A hike. A walk on the beach. A drive
through the country. A house cleaning. Babysitting. Anything a person may appreciate.
Make homemade gifts. Jams and canned items from your garden or local farm. If you are
talented in any way for making things, use this talent for giving.
Make homemade ornaments and decorations. Make tons of paper snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling. Make cards. Incorporate nature. Sprigs from a tree, flowers in a vase, river rocks in
a dish, sea shells strewn about the table. It is important to remember that we do not have to
buy things to create meaning during the holidays. Use what you have to make costumes out of old
clothes and make-up you already have.
Call family and friends during the holiday season; don’t wait to just call them on that day alone.
Make the people in your life, not things the priority.
Enjoy free festivities. Go to a boat parade. Take a drive to see the Christmas lights. Take a thermos of tea or hot cocoa and a container of cookies.
Have a traditional Christmas breakfast or Halloween chili or Easter cake. Give attention and
time for a shared experience that has meaning and will give memory to each other’s lives.
Stock your freezer with food ready to heat up or bake so you can easily and spontaneously make
visits or invite people over. Bake cookies and have them ready to give.
For once try to avoid the stores, the malls and the frenzy. Go to the grocery store early in the
morning to avoid the crowds and long lines. It’s up to you to create meaningful holidays.