I will admit for several years now something has been missing when the holidays come around. Perhaps it is the state of the world and all the bad news you hear when you turn on the tv. Maybe its all the pressure you have on you to keep your job in order to be able to provide for your family. I know that for me it is a combination of both of these. What I do realize is that even though I do not have the Christmas spirit my kids do. As a parent I go out of my way to be honest with the kids but I also do not burn them with the day to day pressures of running a household. This is how I see it, being a kid is about the most freeing time in your life you will have. The biggest responsibility kids should have is school. That should be their focus but I realize that many families are struggling and kids are now feeling the same stress their parents feel. I wrote an article earlier this year about Tight Holiday Budget? Teaching Children About Money which covers some great points on try to teach kids about the value of money. I always tried from an early age to help guide my kids when it came to money. If we went to the toy store and they had $20 of their own money to spend they would pick a toy and then go to the scanner at the end of the isle to see what the cost of it was then they would determine if they has enough money to buy it.
To try to save money and time I do most of my holiday shopping online. There are many free shipping offers and coupon code savings you just have to look out for them. This year online shoppers got three big sale events Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday. We have spotlighted the brands that we shop with the most and hope to pass on some coupon savings for you. This year we tried to Shop with Brands that Give Back year-round. Here are some of our favorites TOMS Coupons, Zulily Coupon Code, Kohls Coupon Code, and Crocs Coupon Code.
I know this sounds cheesy to say but the holidays should not be about the presents you give. Actually, the gifts have such an emphasis on them that it causes a huge source of stress for people. Many of us have agreed that we much rather get together and enjoy time at an event or at someones home around the holidays rather than having the stress of buying gifts. Amongst our group of family and friends we agree not to buy gifts for the exception of the kids. Every weekend leading up to Christmas we try to go to show together, a winter festival/carnival, and free craft events at the craft store. It is amazing how many free family events are available you just have to take the time to look.
Something else we do to try to bring the spirit into our home is to play old christmas music. Nothing feels more like christmas to me then listening Johnny Mathis sing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Gene Autry, “A Holly Jolly Christmas ” by Burl Ives, “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt, “Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)” Gene Autry and of course “It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby. I can’t fight it, no matter how stressed or overloaded I am when I hear some of these old songs it does get me in the spirit! Force yourself to unplug and sit and watch a Christmas movie with the kids!
Now that the holidays are even closer we will begin our annual baking and cookie decoration fun. Try not to let the mess stress you out. Remember that your kids will cherish this time with you and these are the memories they will keep with them. Make a list and search the pantry for what supplies you have and what you will need. Try to get everything before the day you bake because that will help relieve some pressure. Accept that you will most likely be left alone to bake once the kids get bored but I always ask their opinion as to what to make the next cookie decoration. It still keeps them involved and they laugh at my lack of art skills! Making decorations with your kids, baking cookies and treats, and spending time as a family at home are special ways to enjoy the holidays without spending to much money. I hope some of these tips help you get back some of your holiday spirit!