How to Make the Holiday Season Special on a Budget

thanksgiving-austinIf finances are tight, you may be worrying about how to make the holiday season special for your loved ones while sticking to your budget. Offer yourself the gentle reminder that the holidays are really about love, not money, and that the gift of your time is truly the most precious thing you can offer another person. Here are some ways to make the most of this holiday season without breaking the bank.

  1. Throw a PotluckIf you love to have holiday parties but don’t have much money for entertaining, keep in mind that you can throw a fantastic party without spending much money at all. Instead of burdening yourself with providing drinks, appetizers, a main course, and desserts, have everyone chip in. You can choose what you’ll be providing, and rest assured that it is typical for potluck hosts to provide either drinks and an appetizer or drinks and a dessert. You don’t have to go all out at the grocery store.
  2. Host a White Elephant Party These crazy gift exchanges are tons of fun, and you can set parameters on the gifts to be exchanged so that no one feels badly. Specify that it has to be something you already own or keep the price very low, say at ten dollars maximum.original
  3. Give to Others – Gather your family, friends, or co-workers for a day of serving in a soup kitchen or another organization that helps those in need, have your children gather toys and clothing that are still in great condition but no longer used to sponsor a family who can’t afford to give their children anything, or start saving your change as a family to donate to a charity that matters to all of you.
  4. Give the Gift of Handmade – Homemade gifts are wonderful, and almost everyone enjoys receiving them. For pennies on the dollar compared to what you would spend on store bought gifts, you can provide unique and thoughtful gifts that are less likely to end up stuffed at the back of a closet or given to a thrift store in a few months. If you’re feeling short on ideas, a quick Google search or a spin through a website like Pinterest will provide you with more ideas than you could ever use over the course of a dozen holiday seasons.
  5. Build Traditions – If you have children, it can be tricky to help them navigate our culture’s focus on consumerism, and they might protest mightily if it is something you haven’t done in the past! But over time they will appreciate the memories you build with them much more than this season’s must-have toy. Family baking sessions, holiday movie marathons with hot cocoa, decorating together, and any other ritual your family holds dear will be time well spent. If your family doesn’t have many (or any) holiday traditions, create your own. It can be as simple or as intricate as you’d like, and over time, these are the things that get handed down from one generation to the next.

fabulous_drinks_for_the_holiday_seasonThe less money you spend on the holidays, the more creative you will be about making them special, and the more likely it is that you will spend time meaningfully engaged with the people who matter the most. Will they be perfect? Probably not! But this is your life, not an issue of Martha Stewart Living. So unless your livelihood is dependent upon the sales of photographs and descriptions of your picturesque holiday relax and enjoy good enough. Your family will probably be relieved that you did.

Devon is a Personal Life Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, licensed mental health/substance abuse counselor, experienced consultant, and nationally certified teacher.  As a Life Coach, she focuses on supporting and encouraging achievement of personal best outcomes or goals in a specific challenging area.  Her expertise, enthusiasm, energy and educational background serve to create a unique blend of services and techniques employed to help you reach your goals.  For training, coaching, or counseling sessions, please contact her at 505.469.0779 or