by Mira Reverente
Today, I voted and I am hopeful. Just like many Americans, I will await election results with bated breath and hope for the best for our country and for our kids.
Meantime, I am also hopeful about the upcoming series of holidays and festivities. I want it to be special just like years past but at the same time, I would also like it to be more relaxed and less rushed, so that we don’t miss out on the true meaning of the season.
So here’s my 10-step guide to rocking the holidays:
1) Declutter. Before you start giving and receiving presents, take stock of what you have. You may have extra presents gathering dust or jars waiting to be filled with homemade treats. Donate or toss what you don’t need before you start accumulating again.
2) Create a budget for gifts. It’s easy to go overboard with gift-shopping. It is the season of giving after all. But will you be as giddy in January when you see your sad bank account and when you get credit card statements?
3) Or better yet, make homemade gifts. In a future post, I’ll share my go-to homemade treats which are inexpensive and requested by friends and family year after year.
4) Or even better, give the gift of your time. That friend you haven’t talked to since the second Bush was the president, call her. Or that neighbor with the young kids, offer to babysit.
5) Keep it simple. Don’t go overboard with anything – food, decor, gifts or entertaining. Reuse old decor. With entertaining, the company is more important than all the shiny chafing dishes combined.
6) Be socially selective. I have to give credit to Courtney Carver whose blog BeMoreWithLess.com I faithfully follow. She says, “you aren’t required to say ‘yes’ to every invitation.” I’m with her!
7) Tune out the marketing noise. Sure, your inbox will be flooded with every sales and marketing pitch known to mankind between now and New Year’s Eve. I click on “unsubscribe” every time or send the emails to my junk folder. I tell myself that if I need an item, I will go find it. I don’t need daily reminders to upgrade my phone or buy my dog that Fair Isle sweater.
8) Avoid the temptation to “do it all.” So you always host Thanksgiving dinner? Make it potluck this year or if someone else offers to host, say, “please and thank you.”
9) Volunteer. Toy drives, food drives, soup kitchens, nursing home visits and the like abound this season. Some will even allow you to bring younger kids with you, depending on the activity. Enter “volunteer opportunities” in your search engine or check out sites like volunteermatch.org or createthegood.org, for opportunities near you.
10) Take care of yourself. While the turkey is roasting or the kids are sleeping in, take a walk, go to the gym or get a massage. Do something for yourself and your sanity, so you don’t come out of the holidays feeling like you need another break!
How have you “rocked the holidays” in the past? Do share!
Mira Reverente is associate editor of CVH and a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in many local publications. Her first book on money came out last fall. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for more money savviness tips or check out her new blog.