Especially when kids are involved, it's easy to focus on the material aspects of Christmas - new toys, new clothes, new gadgets. Of course, it's not really any better if only adults are involved, the toys just get more expensive!
Many of us have a lot less money to spend this holiday season than we have in recent history, and this year is the perfect time to revisit what the holiday season should really be about: family, love, and generosity to your fellow man (or woman!). If you are facing the reality of spending less this year, or you just want to reevaluate your family's holiday traditions, consider the following ideas:
- along with the daily ritual of opening an advent calendar window, challenge your children to do something kind or thoughtful for someone else every day. As they eat their chocolate, they can tell you about it.
- Convince your extended family to participate in a gift exchange rather than purchasing individual gifts for each person.
- To keep yourselves entertained, you could also have an "white elephant" exchange: each person brings a silly gift of $10 or less. Put all the gifts in the middle, and have one person choose a gift and open it. The next person can either choose a gift from the middle, or choose to steal the first person's gift, whereby the first person gets to open a new one. This gift exchange game is sure to bring lots of laughs!
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. As you help others less fortunate than yourself, remember all the things you have to be thankful for.
- Bake holiday treats instead of buying gift baskets for work associates.
- Don't be a snob - shop at Walmart or even the dollar store for basic items.
In short, just be creative! There are plenty of ways to make the holidays memorable without spending a lot of money, and we're confident that you can make it happen.
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