I think we can all agree Christmas is supposed to be a blessing, relaxing and time to be thankful for family and friends. But, Christmas is very often not any of those things, but rather stressful, mindless spending and building of debt, and for some even depressing. Spending mindfully during this holiday season can help you avoid the stress, debt, and sadness that may come with Christmas this year.
How to spend mindfully:
1- Make a list. Compile all of the people you know you will need to buy a gift for, and maybe add 2 extras for unexpected gifts. Only include people you feel you need to buy for. It is nice to buy for everyone, even people who really are not family or friends. But, this often leads to mindless giving. If you can not afford to do this it will only add to undue stress and strain in your life.
2- Make a budget. After you have made your list, make a budget of the max amount you can afford to spend. Then divide that amount by the number of people you have to buy for, and that is your limit per person. People may not like this, considering you cheap. If people on your list are only worried about how much you can spend on them, rather than the thought of a gift, then they probably don’t need to be on your list. Making a budget is especially important if you live on a fixed income.
3- Try to give family gifts, rather than individual gifts. Say there are 4 people in a family some ideas could be state park passes, zoo passes, free homemade dinner once a week, movie passes, etc. With so many food services now available if you can’t cook a meal, maybe give them a month of meals that will be delivered. Give a gym membership, or another health-related gift like a massage, or pedicure.
4- Watch for sales and the best deals. Try not to buy a gift just to give a gift. Be mindful of what you are giving. Yes, you may need to be frugal but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a quality thoughtful gift.
5- Consider saving throughout the year. Start in January, next year, and put aside money each month that will be specifically for Christmas gifts.
6- Make homemade gifts. Have you always wanted to learn a craft? Jump in and make some Christmas gifts. For example, I love to paint, make jewelry, crochet, etch glass and garden. I don’t enjoy sewing or baking so much, but those are great gift-giving ideas too.
7. If you know there is a charity or cause, you enjoy giving to each Christmas then be sure and be mindful of that in your expenses.
This year we are limiting our Christmas spending. We have set a strict budget, and how we will divide up the budget. Our gift to our family is a big family trip next Summer. That is our gift to ourselves this year.
If you would like to learn more about Mindfulness, making a budget, or dealing with stress, use the contact form at the bottom of this post to message me for a free meet and greet.