Financial Crisis? Make Your Holidays an Event

happy holidaysIt’s that time of year. The Holidays are just around the corner and it’s time to think about gift-giving, parties and such. On top of it all is the ongoing meltdown of our financial institutions.

I was already considering how to handle the holidays with my children and their “gotta haves” from Santa when the financial debacle hit. We don’t go as overboard as some people do, but this year it seems we should scale back to make sure we continue to have money to fall back on.

Instead of everyone feeling deprived, I want to use this holiday season to bring our family time into focus. I want my family to find other things to do besides shopping. This year I’m going to make our holiday season event-centered and, of course, low cost.


Our community has a variety of volunteer opportunities, from working at the homeless shelter to reading to small children. Scour the newspaper and the Internet to find something the family will enjoy. It could be a great lesson in helping those less fortunate.

Visit friends and relatives

Is your family across the country and it’s just too expensive to fly, much less rent a car, eat at restaurants, and stay in a motel? If you and your relatives have a high-speed Internet connection, fire up your computers’ cameras and talk face-to-face. It’s a great chance to see the family across the country more often and share the latest news.

The holidays are also the time to get together with loved ones who live near your home. If you’re usually out of town during the holidays, invite people over whom you usually don’t see until after the first of the year. What a great opportunity to reconnect!

Scale down the party

Are you giving a party this holiday season? Make it a potluck to cut costs. Create a theme and advise your guests what to bring. One of the best holiday parties I went to was a chocolate potluck. Whatever you choose, it’s always a treat to taste other people’s creations and always a pleasure to provide a place for people to visit during this happy time of year.

Holiday displays

There are some truly lovely light displays in our neck of the woods, and it’s worth a quick trip around town to view the creations. One of our local parks also lights up its garden, creating animals and other shapes in the foliage. The park host serves cider and cookies. Best of all, it’s free!

Visit Museums, Aquariums

Are the kids home from school? This is a golden opportunity to visit the museums and aquariums that were missed during the summer. They may even have special hours – maybe special rates? – during the holiday break to encourage more people to visit them.

Make your gifts

Buying the supplies to make a gift can be as expensive as buying one off the shelf, but shop the sales! Getting a handmade gift is always a treat. Consider a baking project with the kids and wrap up the fresh bread and cookies to give away to friends and neighbors.

Movie and popcorn

What could be better on a cold day than renting a few movies, popping some popcorn and snuggling with your family? We use a movie vending machine, called Redbox, at our grocery store that only charges $1 per night per movie – if we haven’t found what we want at the library.

The Big Day

What about Christmas morning? Our family will certainly scale down the presents, but add several events to make the day special. Cooking together is always fun: baking the traditional coffee cake breakfast together and preparing the dinner. I think we will also add some movie time and a stroll around the neighborhood.

I hope that our added activities this holiday season will continue through the rest of the year. Whatever you choose, may your holidays be happy and your family close.

Image courtesy of annia316

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2 Responses to Financial Crisis? Make Your Holidays an Event

  1. Kelly says:

    These are wonderful suggestions. We have two toddlers and want to minimize the focus on receiving toys for Christmas and rather focus on these types of traditions. With our extended families, we have drawn names each year and it is a lot of fun. And, we are begining to do the same with the cousins. These past few years we have used elfster, which is always fun. We start early, like August or September, so we can be thinking about the person we drew and we can be creative. I suggest this to all my friends who feel the pressure at the holidays.

  2. Gail says:

    With no grandchildren, as we’ve grown older our gift list has grown much shorter! I try and make some of the few presents that we give and I cash in any credit card reward points and use them for presents and a nice night out for hubby and me. Lots less charging this year(we had been building a house the year before) so much less on the reward cards, but so far a $25 visa gift card and a $25 Borders card will give us our favorite kind of night out–a simple meal and hanging out at a book store.

    Our neighbor was having financial difficulties last winter and was telling us she ONLY spent $200 for presents on her 3 year old. That was more than we spent for everybody and everything last year! Spending what you can afford and put aside is the way to have a lovely Christmas where you can truly remember what christmas is all about.

    I just remembered that I put our Christmas club on automatic deposits of $10 a month last year so we have over $100 saved which is all we need!

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