As we turn the corner and head into the holiday season, paying for gifts, travel, and food is often a stress factor for families. Numerous American families go into debt for Christmas expenses. Planning will save you stress and money going into the new year. This article will help you think of some ways to make extra money beforehand, and this article will help you conquer any over spending you find you have done.
Gift giving is a major expense during the holidays. Have you thought about all those toys you buy your kids? What happens to most of them? Your kids might like the box more than the toy you spent hard money on! What about a different idea for gifts?
My family has created experiences rather than individual gifts for the last several Christmas seasons. We have three children and our budget is always very small. We encourage those who would gift our children toys to contribute to a fund for something fun for the entire family! Some people really have difficult time wrapping their mind around not having kids open physical presents.
We have experienced very lovely Christmases with special breakfasts foods and movies to fill the day. Our children look forward whatever adventure we have planned. The average American family in 2019 spent between $800-$900 on gifts! Just imagine if your family members gave you the money for the would be toys to go toward going to a zoo as a family or an amusement park? You would spend a LOT less on the event yourself. We have even experience being able to do several smaller outings with the funds that were gifted over the Christmas season! What about those toys and what are your kids going to do without so many toys?
Many families gripe about the amount of stuff their children have and never seem to put away. How many of the toys they currently have are played with on a regular basis? Your kids will have their favorites and often will neglect the rest most days. How will creating experiences lessen the burden of the post-Christmas toy explosion? Your children will have a great opportunity to go somewhere they don’t often go and make memories with YOU! If you’re worried about downsizing those toys, here is a podcast and an article for you to consider.
If you’re worried about your children not opening something on Christmas, you could always spend a small amount on one toy for each. You might also be surprised at how much they play with that one toy rather than bouncing from toy to toy in a mental overload.
If you’re creative in what you do, the experience, your children be more apt to embrace this difference Christmas experience rather than complain about the presents they didn’t get. It has also been our experience that many times our kids still get a gift or two even with the money given, it can be a win/win for this new tradition.
In closing, the holidays can be a very stressful time for many families. The extra money spent for all the holiday “things” can leave you in worse shape than the rest of the year. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Take the money and spend it on an adventure for the whole family, spending time with your kids and making memories for a lifetime. Many family members will probably have a hard time at the thought of your kids not opening a gift and may give a gift and money. You can do the same if you’re worried about Christmas morning being a “dud”. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I encourage you though, think about how you change the holiday season with your kids. How can you invest in them not just Christmas day, but for the rest of their life?
Are the holidays stressful to you? How do you minimize the stress?