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With all the concerts, parties, and gifts we are required to attend, enjoy, and purchase, this time of year can get stressful. Things get exponentially worse when money is tight and expectations are high. Here are a few tips that I have seen (and used) to help alleviate some of the pressure and stress of the holiday season.

  • Address the Santa issue. From the time my kids were little we have explained to them that even though Santa and the elves bring magic to the season, they still have to be paid. Because of this, the kids can’t ask Santa for crazy extravagant presents. Mom and Dad have to pay the bill and the kids need to ask for things we can afford to pay for. This has worked wonderfully for us and eliminates the “why did Santa bring my friend that new… but he can’t bring one of those to me?” questions.
  • Make a plan and stick to it. My husband makes fun of me for making lists all the time but lists help me stay organized. It is easy to get caught up in a buying frenzy and WAY over-purchase, especially when buying for kids. I have found that if I know exactly what I want to get for each of my kids, I stop looking for “extra” little things that add up in a hurry.
  • Give experiences instead of so much stuff. People in general already have a lot of “stuff.” Why do they need more stuff? It clutters their houses and lives. Why not give an experience (a small trip, a free concert, some company around a fire, an act of service, etc.) instead? Experiences are much more memorable than stuff and take up much less space in the garbage can…

It is not worth mortgaging your life away and paying for the holidays all year long only to start the whole process over again as it comes back around the next year. Make a budget and try to stick to it. Save all year BEFORE you get to Christmas so you have the budgeted amount you want to spend and enjoy the experiences of the season!

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