A different one, that is for sure. With a pandemic in full swing and a recession to match it, along with bitter political division in this country, it is hard to imagine a warm, fuzzy, . . . normal holiday season.
It’s also easy to fall into a funk thinking about all that, plus the hardship that so many people are facing right now. But it is difficult to be proactive and productive when we’re down in the dumps, so let’s focus on the positive, shall we? A more subdued holiday season offers its own gifts. Let’s take a look.
The chance to save money
Reduced travel, fewer gifts to buy, and less entertaining all add up to one thing: less money spent. Sure, it’s a bummer to contemplate a leaner holiday, but think of the bright side! The money you are not spending on extra gifts, entertainment, and travel this season can be used to further other financial goals.
You can pay extra on your debts (or at least not add to your credit card debt with holiday spending!) or beef up your savings. You might want to create a special goal for next year or the following year when the world is fully functioning again. Maybe that is a large purchase for your home or a special post-pandemic trip for your family. Sock that money away!
The chance to rewrite some traditions
Maybe you were tired of the hustle and bustle the holidays tend to bring. Now is your chance! Plan a quiet and safe holiday at home. Instead of lamenting the traditions you might have to skip this year, make some new ones. What are some fun things your family can do at home that you always wanted to do at this time of year, but you never seemed to have the time?
You might schedule the “12 Days of Christmas Movies” and choose some of your favorites plus some you might not have seen yet. You could string popcorn and other critter-friendly food to deck out a tree or shrub outside this year. Baking cookies is a great tradition, but it is often pushed aside in the bustle of the season. Be sure to query your family to find traditions that appeal to everyone.
The chance to slow down
As if we haven’t slowed down this year already, right? The holiday season is typically an overly busy time of year. If we are cutting back our travel and our entertainment, and if we might also be cutting back our gift giving (and thus shopping), we have the opportunity to slow down. This might go nicely with the new traditions you might try out. Instead of running around like a crazy person shopping, perhaps this can be the year you make gifts by hand. Instead of running out of time to send Christmas cards, maybe this is the year you get the opportunity to handwrite greetings to your friends and family.
The chance to model better behavior for our kids
If you have ever had the sense that the holidays were just out of control, a gluttony of consumerism and an exhausting nightmare, this is your chance. Dial it way back and explain exactly why you are doing it to your kids. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to “make up” for what your kids have lost this year in terms of activities and opportunities. Instead, redirect their focus to one of gratitude and family togetherness. Make the holiday time together be fun and rewarding, and maybe you and your kids will never look back.
As you can see, there are many ways we can make the best of this strange holiday season. Give some thought to the ways you can alter your habits to create some new traditions and experiences for your family.
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