The Holidays are a sweet time of wonder and family. But they can also be stressful, overwhelming, and draining. So let’s stop trying to create a picture perfect card on the outside and really connect with our kids this year in new and meaningful ways. Let’s create memories that won’t fade after the ornaments have been put away.
Include them in the preparations– Even if your child is too young to use the stove they can shred lettuce, wash potatoes, and help set the table. I often find that during the business of getting ready for the holidays makes me shoo the kids away from the kitchen rather than bring them into it. Many a memory can be missed by doing this so welcome them in.
Start a new tradition– Caroling, volunteering at a soup kitchen, driving around in your pj’s to look at Christmas lights, or a cookie swap. Whatever your family enjoys. Include your child in the choosing, planning, and execution of the tradition as well so they really feel a part of of it -not just like they are along for the ride.
Commit random acts of kindness– Tape quarters to vending machines, let your child see you pay for the person’s coffee behind you in the drive through, or allow them to pick out gifts to donate for an angel tree. The possibilities for showing and sharing kindness with your child are limitless- volunteer, give, donate, help- your pay back will be watching your childs pride in you an themselves.
Keep it low key– Over planning and too much excitement will lead to burnout for your and your kids, which in turn will lead to frustration and fighting. Decline invites that are not extremely important and stay at home snuggled up on the couch with a good holiday book. Extended family will just have to understand that your peace of mind and immediate relationships come first.
Be playful– Spend time throwing snowballs, playing board games with a cup of hot cocoa and popcorn, dig into the craft stash to make homemade ornaments, play fun little tricks on theme, tell goofy holiday jokes-Your little one will remember and cherish this more than the gifts under the tree.
Have a movie marathon– Put on your pajamas, grab a stack of your favorite holiday movies and binge watch. Bundled up under the covers with your little one on the couch you can forget about bad weather, the stack of presents not yet wrapped, and the deep cleaning that needs to be done.
Do things instead of buying things– Your kids probably have wish list a mile long, and there is no reason why you can’t treat them but consider using some of your budget for activities instead of material items. Tickets to the circus, or their favorite band with mom or dad. How about a family weekend out of town, family passes to the local theme park, or the promise of a cross country RV trip later in the year? You could also decide to skip the presents this year and start a new savings account together.
The holidays are for focusing on moments that matter. But for many Americans, financial stress can get in the way. This year, you can make small changes that make a big difference for your financial well-being.
In this holiday planning guide, you’ll find tips for getting organized and making a plan for holiday spending so you can feel confident in your ability to stay on track with your budget. You’ll see how other Americans are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving in ways that make the holidays cost less, but mean more.
For more holiday planning advice visit holiday resources
Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.