Hobbies on a Budget: Thoughts on how to enjoy the holiday season

Published 9:00 am Monday, November 21, 2016

By Sharon Williams

Contributing columnist

As we enter the holiday season, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the responsibilities and holiday plans. Let’s take a few minutes to breathe and prepare so we can enjoy the season instead of just survive.

Plan ahead: Now is the time to get started on all of the things that you know you are going to need to do this holiday season. Can you stay up an extra hour and knock out some online Christmas shopping this weekend?

Maybe you can take care of the teacher gifts now instead of waiting until the night before. Are you planning to send Christmas cards? Get them ready this afternoon.

Start early: Chances are that many of us have procrastinated and already feel like we are behind. Once you get behind, it’s easy to start comparing ourselves to the others who look like they have it all together.

Remember that just because someone looks like they are getting it all done, they are probably feeling the stress on a level you just don’t see on social media.

Stick to a budget: With all the shiny new things being advertised everywhere you look, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending more than you can afford.

Put a cap on your spending and budget your dollars so you won’t go into 2017 owing for this holiday season.

Start new traditions: Don’t repeat the same thing you did every year. Traditions are wonderful but are not meant to be exactly copied each year. Remember, traditions must evolve as people and lives change.

Remember why you celebrate: This is the time of year the whole world thinks about baby Jesus. Take the time to sit back and consider why we celebrate and spend some time being thankful for more than Santa.

Do what works for you: If you don’t want to do Christmas cards, then don’t. But don’t judge someone else for spending hours creating the perfect homemade card.

Just because you may not want to make six dozen of the most Pinterest-worthy Christmas cookies doesn’t mean that it’s crazy for someone else to do it.

Let each person celebrate the season with the traditions, crafts and activities that work for them and their family.

Live in the moment: The Christmas holiday season is a very nostalgic time of year. Don’t let worry of what could happen tomorrow ruin today. Don’t let “what if” take away the joy of what is.

When you start feeling yourself get overwhelmed, don’t let yourself wish away the season by rushing through the events. Enjoy each program, pageant, party and event. Treasure the moments; embrace the holidays and take lots of pictures

Only do what you can: The holidays are full of amazing opportunities. There is a definite trend to say yes to everything. Instead, think about what you want to say yes to and then learn the art of saying no.

Wrap presents early: This one is especially true for the little ones. It’s always tempting to sneak a look and see what is hidden behind the closet door. In our house, we wrap presents as soon as we buy them. That way there are no unplanned, surprise discoveries.

Give back: Not everyone is as blessed as you are this season. Don’t just be a taker. Find a way to give back to someone. Do something small to share the joy of the season with the ones around you.

Be creative with the truth: Well, actually it’s OK to stretch the truth in some situations during the holiday season. Tis’ the season for sharing, surprises, conspiracies … and a few white lies.

After all, it’s pretty tough to hide the fact that you bought someone’s special gift at their favorite store without doing a little creative story telling. Remember our $5 holiday gift traditions we have with the kids? There are definitely some creative stories being told.

Are you ready for the holidays? Got any suggestion for loving the holiday season? I’d love to hear.

For more ideas on hobbies and life, check out Hobbies on a Budget at www.hobbiesonabudget.com.