Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prepping For The Holidays 2013

As Thanksgiving Week settles in our nation, thoughts turn from turkey dinner, football, and pumpkin pie to endless Christmas lists. The need to decorate, purchase gifts, wrap, and organize a fabulous Christmas exists all within the desire to have budgets that leave us less anxiety-ridden in January than we’ve ever been before.

There are ways to make Christmas “lavish” without the outrageous price tags. It takes a little time and effort – and a strong resolve – but it can be done.

First, it’s important to be realistic. In this material world we live, do we need more stuff? In the interest of making room, take two to four days to sweep through your home and discard old toys, clothes, appliances, and the like that are still in working order but don’t work in your life. Donate them so others may reap the benefits of their greatness still left.

For broken toys, games with missing pieces, soiled clothes that can’t be fixed, and anything unusable, throw out. Just purge, it’s time.
There, look around and see what you’ve gained by taking things OUT of the house!

Next, time to think creatively about how to make this Christmas spectacular. Is it the latest game, toy, electronic, or clothing that your family will always remember? They all tend to be discarded and forgotten about a few months (and in some cases a few hours) after Christmas.
Of course there need to be presents, I’m not suggesting otherwise, but a fresh approach needs to be taken.

First, find out the one gift on the recipient’s list that they truly want – just one. Make sure it is a reasonable item that will be used, loved, and appreciated. Tall order but an important fact; what we buy nowadays must be “worth it” as money is a scarce resource.

Next, fill in gifts around the main one that are awesome but not necessarily advertised to the person.

For children put the toys of old out: jump rope, kick ball, bubbles, hacky sack, baseball and glove, sidewalk chalk. These items aren’t overly expensive and promote activity, especially outside. If you are fearful the children won’t like them because all they asked for is video games, it is imperative you go this route! To sweeten the deal, tell the child you will go out and show them how to play with these toys. Children simply want our time and attention. They are so used to being told to watch television or play a video game they seem to not care, but they are hungry for interaction with parents/adults.

Children of all ages might enjoy a fresh pack of Crayola crayons and a coloring book/sketch pad depending on their creativity/skill level. This can either be a main gift or a stocking stuffer. Add lined paper and pens/pencils for the inspiring writer/story teller.

Consumables are always a great idea. These are items you use and then are finished – food, hygiene staples, cleaning supplies, candles. Whether you replenish what you know the recipient has and uses or try to introduce them to a great product you endorse, these gifts are usually welcomed. They are not items that “take up room” “require dusting” or “waste space”.

This is not the time to buy the dollar store potent perfume, food that smells funny, or deodorant that is untested. Be sure your gift is not added to the “circular file” and thrown out behind your back. That serves nobody.

Finally, take a tip from elementary students everywhere who lovingly craft “coupon books” for their loved ones. Instead of “I’ll clean my room” you can create your own special coupons for the loved ones in your life. The sky’s the limit and, again, spending time together or offering a service will be remembered and appreciated far longer than the “must-have” item.

Christmas can come with high expectations and an even higher price tag. By planning ahead and taking control of the mood of the season/big day, you can make Christmas spectacular and more meaningful than ever.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas season!

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