So the first week of the “All Done by December 01” is the toughest one to tackle – the gift list and budget.
The Christmas season is so stressful because people feel obligated to spend a ton of money on gifts, and to have extra on hand just in case someone drops by with a gift who was not on your list. By all means, that kind of social awkwardness would be too much to bear.
But would it?
So make a list and check it twice. Are you giving gifts to people because you truly appreciate them, or because it is expected? And are these your own expectations that you have placed on yourself or that have been handed down through years of family or social obligations?
Start paring down the list from there. Where are areas that perhaps you could have a group of friends together for coffee at Christmastime, and make it a fun a memorable gathering? A cookie exchange? A trip out to the movies or a hayride to look at Christmas lights? Time is a very important gift, and one that would be more appreciated than another coffee mug or tiny soap.
Once you have your firm list, work on establishing a budget. Do not get in to debt over Christmas gifts. That is not the point. Make sure that your budget is a realistic picture of what you can truly afford.
Let’s face it, we would not want our loved ones spending beyond their means to make us temporarily happy. The happy gift exchanges should not lead to months of misery and anxiety trying to pay off debt. That is not the point.
So this evening, my husband and I will sit down and go through this very process. By establishing a plan, we can make sure that we are able to have a realistic picture of where we are going through this season, not overspend or over gift, and enjoy what is important about this time of year – time with our loved ones.
Without the financial hangover….