Whether you have a large family or a small group of friends, the holidays are a time for joy and gratitude. So why do we feel so much stress?! The holiday season has a track record for piling up debt that many of us will continue to pay off well into the new year. So how do we experience more joy and less stress this holiday season? We have curated a few strategies to help you come out on top.
When we spend on what brings us joy we receive greater value from that dollar. Research shows that when you spend on what brings you joy you actually get more utility per dollar. What brings you joy? Spending time with family and friends? Gifts don’t always have to be tangible. You and your family may experience more joy by planning a family walk or an afternoon of holiday decorating.
Make a Plan
You have a Plan for your money, why not have a Plan for your holidays? Start by making a list of everyone you want to buy for this season. Research shows that we underestimate the cost and inflate the value of purchases considered out of the norm, extraordinary, or infrequent. When we go holiday shopping for friends and family and shop for each person individually (extraordinary, infrequent, and unusual) we spend more money on each gift! By making a list ahead of time, we make those same gifts more normal in our minds and will end up spending less overall.
Create an experience
Again, gifts don’t always need to come in the form of something wrapped. Can you create an experience that will bring you and your guests joy? This could be an intimate dinner cooked by you. Is your circle of friends and family spread out across the country? Invite everyone to a virtual gathering. You could host a game night, a family feud, or even a paint night where you exercise your creativity.
This one is especially popular for large families. Set a reasonable spend limit and draw names. You will experience joy in the challenge of selecting that perfect gift within the spending limit and if everyone gets together to exchange Secret Santa gifts you have built-in family fun time!
Keep joy at the heart of everything you do and thoughtful planning, we will experience a holiday season with less stress, less debt, and loads more joy.