The holidays are a magical time of year when families can come together. However, for families on a tight budget, making ends meet over the holidays can be stressful, especially if you have kids.
On holidays when I felt like I couldn’t give my kids the presents they wanted, I felt like I had completely failed them, but I’ve learned over the years that I can make the holidays special in other ways. If you’ve fallen on hard times and are struggling to make it through the holiday season, here are a few tips to keep in mind to make the holidays merry and bright.
No matter what religion or background you come from, the holiday season is a time to come together with loved ones. If you celebrate religious holidays, center your traditions around the simple, faith-based meaning of the holidays. If you aren’t religious, center your holiday season around family time. The kids have time off school. You probably have time off work. Maybe your extended family even celebrates together.
Create traditions that reinforce the idea that time spent together is the greatest gift of all. Whether that’s a special meal together, a movie you watch together, or a special place you like to visit as a family. Your kids want to spend time with you. Think about it. Do you remember all the toys you ever received over the holidays? Probably not, but I bet you remember the time you spent with your family. Create those memories for your kids.
At the end of the day, the decorations aren’t what make the season special. Certain décor like twinkly lights, ornaments, wreaths, welcome mats, serving dishes, and so on, can really add up and often get thrown out or damaged in the off-season.
Instead of purchasing holiday decor, include the kids in making DIY ornaments and decorations with inexpensive materials you may already have in your home like popsicle sticks, cookie dough, dry pasta, or popcorn.
The truth is, your kids don’t care about store-bought decorations, but if you give them a chance to make their own, they’ll be much more special for everyone and less expensive for you—not to mention you’ll have fun making them together!
When it comes to presents, go for quality over quantity. Think of one present that would be special to them. If it’s too expensive, try shopping Black Friday sales or gently used toys.
I used to feel guilty for not giving my kids a bunch of presents. One way I made more out of less with presents was hiding them. Try making a scavenger hunt with your kids’ presents, rather than displaying them under the tree or in a central location. Not only does this make it more exciting, it also takes a little more time to open all of them.
If you celebrate Christmas, don’t make all of your kids’ Christmas presents from Santa. Instead, give them one gift from Santa and explain that the rest of the presents are from you. This helps them understand that the gifts aren’t just magically appearing out of nowhere.
When it comes to gifts for your spouse, discuss a small budget for each other’s gifts or just skip presents altogether. Instead, commit to spending quality time together over the holidays or doing a special activity you both enjoy.
The holidays are undoubtedly a time of consumerism when people focus on purchasing gifts and getting holiday deals. However, if you’re running short on cash over the holidays, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season without overspending.
Creating activity-centered traditions with your loved ones is a great way to make the holidays fun and special without having to spend money at every turn. Here are a few simple ways to enjoy time with family this holiday season.
I hope this gives you a few good ideas to try this holiday season! Remember, it’s not about the presents and décor, it’s about love and family. Happy Holidays, everyone!
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