5 Minute Read
We all make mistakes—especially around the holidays.
It’s easy to overdo it for the sake of others. But when we’re exhausted and stressed, we miss out on the whole purpose of Christmas.
This year, bring back the magic of the holiday season! And don’t let these five simple Christmas mistakes zap you of any more time, money or meaning.
Five Christmas Mistakes You Might Be Making
Mistake #1: Focusing on the External
If you can’t be content until your house is Martha Stewart-perfect and your menu is Barefoot Contessa-worthy, you may need a change of perspective. Christmas isn’t about buying and serving the finest of everything. It’s about being around the people you care about.
Solution: Don’t be Clark Griswold on the quest for the most perfectly decked out house on the block. Remember what this season is really about—faith, generosity and family. If you want to deck the halls of your home for the holidays (and you can afford that hefty electricity bill), go right ahead. But give your full attention to what matters most. Everything else is just decoration.
Mistake #2: Buying Gifts Without Meaning
Choosing a gift for Dad is impossible. Every year, you play the what-do-you-want game for weeks until you finally give up and grab the first World’s Greatest Grandpa sweatshirt you see. You both know you’re wasting your money, but you have to buy him something!
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Solution: This year, give him an experience he’ll actually remember. It can be as simple as a round of golf for him and his buddies or donating to his favorite charity. And don’t forget the personal touch of a DIY gift! Just show him you took the time to remember him. That’s the best gift you can give.
Don’t forget to keep moderation in mind when you’re out buying gifts. Sure, Dad probably needs a gift—but does Aunt Susan? And Uncle Stu . . . and your cousin Linda? Don’t get so caught up in the holiday shopping madness you throw your original Christmas list (and budget) out the window.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to Stop and Rest
You wouldn’t think of working during your summer vacation, but you hardly sit down during your winter break! What gives?
Solution: Okay, there’s a lot to do. But do you have to do it all?
You really don’t need to be at every Christmas shindig this season, and your kids will be fine if you don’t make it to every Santa-inspired community event across the state.
Take a step back and set some new, realistic expectations of what you can do during the Christmas season. You can’t be everywhere and everything to everybody. And that’s okay! Leave some breathing room in your schedule so you have time to regroup and savor the season.
Block off a few days just for you. Don’t go shopping for anyone or start making a mental grocery list for Christmas Eve dinner. Just cozy up on the couch and read a good book. Consider it a mini Christmas present to yourself!
Mistake #4: Getting Everything on Your Kids’ Wish Lists
Your pre-teen has been begging for the latest gaming console for months. You can’t afford it, but you bought it anyway. Then you start to feel guilty for not spending $400 on each of your kids.
Solution: Here’s a better idea. Set a reasonable budget, determine what’s fair for each kiddo, and stick to it. Be sure you’re following realistic gift guidelines before you go out shopping.
Your kids don’t need a mountain of toys on Christmas morning. And for every new toy they do get, think about donating one to your local Goodwill or thrift store. Have the kids go through their unwanted toys to give to those less fortunate.
Mistake #5: Not Saving for Post-Holiday Sales
Retailers spend tons of money promoting their Christmas merchandise. But as soon as December 26 rolls around, they want it off their shelves—fast. And they’re willing to discount it heavily.
Solution: Instead of spending every last dime on gifts, remember to budget for the holy grail that is an after-Christmas sale. And only buy items you will absolutely use again next year, like bulk wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper, and ribbon. Or even a fake tree, if that’s your kind of thing.
When you stock up on Christmas decor now (that you budgeted for), you’ll end up putting money in your pocket later.
Take Back Your Christmas!
Don’t overspend or overwork yourself to extremes this season. Do what you can, and let everything else go. Remember what this season is really about and keep that as the top priority in your mind.
Don’t let your biggest mistake be that you’re so focused on the superficial things you miss the important memories of a Christmas well spent. Enjoy spending quality time with family by creating memories and starting new traditions to remember for years to come. It’s time to trade in your past holiday mistakes for a more magical and meaningful Christmas!
Stick to your budget and plan ahead of time instead of wondering how much you should spend on a gift while waiting in the checkout line! Help yourself stay on track with one of our envelope systems. 'Tis the season for creating better money habits!