Stopping that Holiday Stress

It’s the holidays, and  that means big dinners, family gatherings, gift exchanges, and piles of cookies and other sweet treats. Sadly, for many, it’s also been proven to be the most stressful time of the year. Not only on your emotions, but also on your wallet. Want to prevent some of the strain on both? Check out these tips.

If you’re hosting a meal:

- Set a budget and stick to it. We all like to go all out for the holidays, especially when it comes to our families. But, the economy is still pretty rough. Set a budget; say that you want to spend no more than a certain dollar amount on dinner and stick to it! Coupons and grocery store fliers can help you in making this number a reality.

- Consider hosting a potluck. If you’re hosting the meal, anything goes. If the price may be a little heavy on you, consider asking each of your guests (or, if they’re all different families, set it by family) to bring a side dish or two. Some families have a specific person who always brings dessert, year in and year out. If that will help you from getting stressed and going broke, do it! Everyone else probably appreciates that you’re the one sacrificing a clean house to the holiday festivities.

- Or, just go out to dinner. More and more restaurants are open on Thanksgiving day, to allow for people to eliminate their stress totally and come in for a nice meal prepared by someone else. If your family is willing to change tradition a bit, maybe this is a great option for you.

If you’re buying gifts:

- Consider setting a dollar limit.  Like with making a meal, set a budget for your holiday shopping. My grandmother used to spend $100 per grandchild every year; I have no idea how she afforded that, but she set that number and stuck to it. Whether you set the dollar limit per person or for your overall holiday shopping plans, set that limit and stick to it. 

- Utilize Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.  The best deals happen on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Also, many stores announce their sales way ahead of time; do a search on Google and you will find countless websites that have already done all of the work for you. You simply have to search for the item you seek and see if there’s a sale on it. Also, make sure to stick it out to Cyber Monday; electronics and other big ticket items can be delivered right to your doorstep for significantly less than what you may have spent ahead of time. 

- Organize a gift exchange.  Most of the kids in my family are now adults, and the topic of a Secret Santa-style gift exchange  has come up. No one’s really willing to budge, but, it’s a thought that has come up. Instead of having to buy for everyone, the gift exchange would make it so each of us only had to buy for one person, making each of our Christmas burdens significantly cheaper. If your family is in a similar boat, why don’t you consider doing this too?

So, eliminate the stress of the holidays and enjoy it as you should! Have a great weekend!

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