The Holidays are in full swing and before you know it the New Year will be here! I know around this time of the year it’s easy to become overwhelmed and believe it or not, the season that is meant to bring you great holiday cheer can turn into a big holiday drag. According to a Forbes(**) 2016 article, Americans were expected to spend over 1 Trillion dollars during the holiday season. Let that sink in…ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!!! I can only imagine how much the number has drastically increased in two years.
What many people don’t like to talk about during this time of year is the financial strain the holiday season can really be to the average working class family. In an effort to be more fiscally responsible (because life goes on after the holiday season and bills still need to be paid Jan 1st), I’ve put together a list of fifteen affordable ways that you can participate in showing your friends and family that you love them without breaking the proverbial bank.
1. Phone Calls – It sounds so simple but when was the last time you actually called someone to check up on them and express to them how much they mean to you? Pick up the phone today and give that uncle, aunt, or cousin a call. They will be so glad you did.
2. Lunch Date – There are plenty of establishments offering daily lunch specials so this can be a fairly reasonable way to treat someone out to lunch and show them some appreciation for being your friend or favorite Auntie.
3. Greeting Cards – I just caught on to the Dollar Store card section and it’s the bomb! Super affordable and some cards even cost less than $1. If mailing out cards isn’t your thing, you can search online for ways to send personalized e-cards to your friends and family.
4. Home Visit – Call and schedule a visit! Bonus points if you bring a small gift like a bottle of wine or even some delightful candles from my super talented cousins at Marcish Market (www.marcishmarket.com).
5. Potluck – Host a potluck style party. Everyone brings a dish so the burden won’t solely rely on one household. What’s not to love about food, fellowship and fun?
6. Cookie Exchange – Attend a Christmas cookie exchange party and make goodie bags out of the mounds of sweets you will come home with from the party. I attended one last year and it was so much fun and a great way to learn and try new recipes.
7. Volunteer – Organize a group of family and friends and reach out to a local organization like Metropolitan Ministries to see how you can help out in your community. Volunteering is a great eye opener and a good reminder to be thankful for what you currently have.
8. Prepare-A-Meal – Cook your favorite meal and invite a friend over that may not have any close relatives in town. Who would turn down a home cooked meal?
9. Childcare Services – Offer childcare services to your friends and family who have young children. I don’t know anyone who would turn that down!
10. Small Business Support – Does your friend or family member run a small business? Then support them throughout this holiday season! I love supporting my friends over at Jon’s Gourmet (www.jonsgourmet.com).
11. Send Flowers – News flash! You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to send that special someone a bouquet of flowers. Go ahead and surprise them by brightening up their day!
12. Coffee Date – Meet up at your favorite local coffee shop to catch up with friends and family over a cup of tea or coffee.
13. Bake your favorite holiday treats – Pull out your family recipe’s that your Grandma passed down to you and share with your friends and family. Who wouldn’t love a homemade chest pie, sweet potato pie or fresh made bread!
14. Park Meet Up – Did you know there are plenty of family friendly local parks in your area? If you live in a state like Florida, where we never participate in the Fall or Winter weather, meeting up to do outside activities are still possible. Plan a family meet up date and bring a picnic and some games the whole family can enjoy. It’s nice to get outside and be amongst nature.
15. Family Photo Session – Who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? With so many cool features like an amazing camera, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on family photos. Coordinate your outfits (be creative, think holiday festive) and get a tripod and snap away!
I hope you find this list useful and find ways to celebrate the holiday season without breaking the bank. Comment below with some ideas that you plan on implementing this season. Wishing you love, peace and joy this holiday season from my family to yours!