My question to you….”What do you want from this holiday season?” I have been reading and following Danielle LaPorte lately and she would ask “How do you want to feel?”
Whatever it is that you want, the best way to get there is to plan for it to happen.
While I am super excited about this blog, I can not believe it is that time of year. Christmas time that is! Well, not exactly Christmas time but time to plan for it so you can enjoy it and also so you can come to January with no financial regrets! As a Health, Wealth & Freedom coach my blogs will be covering all these areas over the next 2 months so you can truly enjoy the season.
Let’s start with basic planning!
What do you want from this holiday season? Peace, lots of presents, community, lots of good food, rest and relaxation (yes, this is possible!), or maybe new experiences. This year my daughter and I have planned some new experiences and are also returning to some old traditions. I am not sure if it is the planning for the holidays that I like more or the actual holidays themselves. I am such a planner! None the less, it makes the holiday season so much more fun and yes relaxing.
The holidays can be such a stressful time for many for various reasons. This often happens when there is conflict in families (whose home is everyone going to, expectations, etc).
Pause for a moment and think, is this the year to set some boundaries and maybe new expectations? Just putting it out there for a thought. I go back to my initial question. What do you want from this holiday season? Our current society is so materialistic and I would like to encourage you to possibly look to experiences this season rather than material possessions. Yes, having no gifts for the kiddies would not go over well and I am not suggesting this at all. I am suggesting that there be a mix of experiences and gifts as a place to begin to change their perspective.
I admit that I used to buy tons of gifts for my daughter, only to learn that what she really wants is time with me. This year we will be attending some concerts, plays and community events and of course will be opening some presents. Time together is the most important and never take your loved ones for granted.
Giving back for a new meaning of the holidays.
We also do a fair bit of giving over the holidays and this year will be no exception. Every year I sponsor a family through Presents for Peace at the YWCA and also do a few other community things as they arise. To show my gratitude I cook a brunch for my 16 staff in appreciation for all they do during the year. My success is because of them and I am grateful for each one of them. One of our other traditions we started a few years ago when we moved into our new condo unit was to make little present bags for each of our neighbors on our floor. These are filled with our favorite baking….and those who know me well, I love to bake. Stay tuned over the season for more good stuff on that! The neighbors love them and interestingly we have started something because they all reciprocate. It is so much fun dropping them off at their door….and to receive them too! It was the bridge to building a closer community right where we live.
Now speaking of receiving. This is the perfect time of year to practice our receiving. Whether it is a compliment or a gift. Always be gracious and DO NOT deflect any compliments. This is a real challenge for many! How many times has someone said “you look fabulous today” and you respond with “my hair is not at it’s best today” or “you look great too”. Deflection at it’s finest! This is not how the flow of abundance works in our universe! Simply say “thank you”! It is really that easy….and maybe smile too!
Let’s Talk Money!
Let’s talk about the budget now! OK, don’t run away and turn off the computer now! This is equally important so when you come to January you have no regrets! Be realistic as to what you can afford. Get creative. Don’t buy just for the sake of buying something. Put some time into a thoughtful gift and you will find that you do not have to spend nearly as much money if it has some real significance to that person. Again you may be asking yourself, why am I reading something about Christmas now, in November! Well, that is all about planning too. To get the best prices on things, pay the lowest shipping costs on things, you need to plan ahead. I am not asking you to put up your Christmas tree or anything like that….just simply grab a cup of tea and think about the holidays and do a bit of planning. Also, starting early helps spread the cost over a longer time so it is not such a big hit at once.
I read a recent article by Erica Alini in the Money section on Global News that stated that a reasonable gift budget is 1% of your gross annual income. Hmmm…not sure I totally agree with this methodology. She did go on to say that this was a starting point and you still needed to consider what you can actually afford. For the average Canadian family, this would be $700. PWC expects Canadians to spend over $1500 on average over the holiday season. We often forget the cost of wrapping paper, ribbons, all the extra food and travel costs.
Take some time to think what is important to you this season, how you want to feel throughout it and what you are going to do about it to make it what you want. It should be a time of joy, community, and love. Not anxiety, stress, and exhaustion. You choose! It is your life! Enjoy it!
To help you with your Christmas planning, download my FREE 12 Ways to Save this Christmas budget planning sheet to help you get started on this!