Monday, December 16, 2013

Make Memories, Not Payments... Just sayin'

Getting ready for the holidays? Me too! It has been a long time coming, but Christmas is finally here and you have a lot to do. Decorating, shopping, wrapping, and then the meals will keep you smiling or pulling your hair out depending on how well you can handle the stress.

What if we decide to spend quality time with our families and build more memories instead of spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars buying things we don't need. Things that get shuffled in with the rest of the "stuff" we also don't need.

No time was so clear to me than last Christmas. When days later, the tree was packed and the wrapping paper was thrown out it hit me... everything I handpicked with care or worked overtime to buy was tucked into a nook and forgotten. I didn't make a difference with all of the money I spent. It was just an expectation that I had set that I didn't want to maintain anymore.

The thought has been around for a long-time, but I had a hard time deciding that this is something that I am going to fully embrace. Why? Because when you build an expectation, then back off... it upsets the status quo. But, this year... I did it! Here are some tips if you want to try it too:

1. Quality not Quantity: This year, I looked at the list that my kid created and decided which thing she really needed and how each gift would bring her closer to her goal of being more independent. I decided on the car. Yes! The car was the one thing that I knew she would really appreciate.

2. Gift Exchange: Instead of digging deep into my pockets for my entire extended family. I initiated a gift exchange. This way, I only had to buy a few high quality gifts instead of trying to make everyone happy. Because making everyone happy isn't possible at any price.

3. Volunteer to help others: This is a great time to volunteer to help others. Make direct donations of time like clean an elderly neighbor's home. Bake cookies for a friend. Donate a toy to Toys For Tots.

4. Plan a Trip. Make memories. Too soon, your kids will be  grown and out of the house. Find a place where you can relax and eat a nice dinner out. Take your mini tree and decorate your hotel room with a few of your cherished ornaments.

Christmas is a great time to celebrate everything you already have! That's what I am doing this year. So when you don't get a Christmas card from me this year, please know that's it's not personal. I thought of how much your friendship means to me... I promise!

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