Tis the season to be stressed out over money because you’re trying to keep up with your neighbors. Seriously, I remember growing up there was a literal competition between my dad and the neighbors during Christmastime. Every year, more lights would get added to the house and more decorations put up outside just to one-up the family next door. It was all in good fun and certainly never put my parents in a hard spot financially. However, many people do the same thing with how many gifts are under the tree or creating the Instagram-perfect family get together. They compare to others and spend a fortune trying to keep up with the Joneses. When we start creating traditions in our family, we have decided to place more importance on experiences and spending time together.
The Reason for the Season
It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of what many people refer to as the “shopping season.” The real reason for the season is often forgotten. For many people, it is a time to celebrate faith and love. You celebrate giving and spend time with the people nearest and dearest to your heart. When I think back on holidays as a kid, I think about the Christmas morning breakfast we had each year when my Nana came over.
I also think about the smells in the house, how I’d put on a fashion show with all my new clothes, and we’d curl up on the couch, calling all of our family that wasn’t able to be there. Then, dad would spend the day helping us get our new toys set up while mom cooked a yummy meal. That warmth is something I am reminded of often when thinking about how we can create our own traditions.
How We Are Creating Traditions
Now that we have a little one, it’s time for our family to start creating traditions of our own. My husband and I have been spending time talking about the things we’d like to do with her each year. Obviously, this year she’s still too little to do much of anything but next year and the year’s to come we can continue to build on our traditions. We will also carry over some fun things we remember from our own childhoods (Christmas lights and dressing as Santa).
I recently talked about how we prep for the holiday season and keep things within our budget. The biggest thing was to find things you can experience together with family. While we do plan to do things like matching pajamas and ugly Christmas sweaters each year, the main focus of the traditions we’re creating won’t be material things. We will do small stockings and one big gift each year. Our holidays will be centered around having a fun time with family, showing love and appreciation for each other, and being thankful for the amazing lives we have together.
Readers, what are your favorite holiday traditions?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.