Three ways to make this year’s holiday even warmer
The holidays are supposed to be about family, friends, spending time together, being of good cheer and probably a bit of religion thrown in as well. We’re supposed to be merry and maybe smile a little bigger and spread our love. I’m not quite sure when it became about spending the most on gifts or decorating our homes to within an inch of our lives (think I’m kidding? Just google “extreme Christmas decorations”).
I admit that this is an unusual year, so we likely not only need more holiday cheer, but may need some new ways to find it, since we may not be able to have the traditional parties and gatherings. Here are a few ideas.
I confess that I haven’t begun to decorate yet, but I feel uplifted seeing lights on my neighbors’ trees and displays in their yards. And, if that gives you pleasure, then by all means go for it. Just make sure you aren’t going into debt or sacrificing your other goals to buy the trimmings or lights. You don’t want those good feelings to go away when that January power bill arrives.
Consider setting a budget for what you want to spend on gifts. You could even set a budget that includes everything you want to spend on gifts, decorations and food during the holidays and begin saving for it in January, depositing 1/12 of the total into the holiday account each month. Then when December rolls around, you’ll be golden.
And even though it’s too late to do that for this year, it’s not too late to set budgets overall or for each member of your family. Parents often want to give their kids the world—and likely, especially in a year like this where you feel they’ve lost far more than they’ve gained. However, it’s still a good idea to put a limit on things or at least go in with a budget in mind to help you keep things from getting too out of control.
Another idea that can help warm your heart this year is to give a little more. There are more people in need this year than ever before. And even though you won’t see Santa on every corner, there are many ways to give. Did you know that in 2012, the National Day of Giving, or Giving Tuesday, was created as an antidote to the commercialism from Black Friday and Cyber Monday? It’s true. But we shouldn’t need just one day to give. We should be making a plan to give to the causes that matter most to you throughout the year.
Try to determine which organizations you want to help and how much you feel comfortable giving and then stick to it. Don’t be swayed by those sad puppy-dog eyes in the ASPCA commercials and go over-budget (guilty as charged!). If you’re not sure where to give, check out www.Charitynavigator.org—an independent non-profit organization that helps you evaluate the choices and determine the best places for you to give.
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