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Well, it’s official…the Holiday Season has arrived. And, if you’re like most people today, your Christmas budget just isn’t what it used to be. So, how do we manage financially and emotionally during the holidays, when things are tough financially? Here’s a few tips to help you beat the holiday blues:

Tips to Reduce Holiday Financial Stress:

1. Have a meeting with your family and explain to them that Santa is also experiencing a recession and has asked everyone to cut back this year. He thinks it’ll be better next year but for now, we need to remember that as long as we have each other, we have everything we need.

2. Establish realistic expectations. Know your limits personally and financially and vow to stick to them rather than over-extend and create more stress.

3. Communicate your circumstances to your relatives and in-laws and ask them to cooperate and understand your situation. 

4. Depending on your budget, tell your family they can either have a few small gifts or one more significant gift. Have them make a list and tell them you and Santa will do your best but not to be attached.

5. If you are really cash strapped, plan a White Elephant exchange and have everyone give away treasures that they no longer want, need or use very often. This can be very creative and fun!

6. Set financial limits with family and friends or simply ask everyone to forego gifting giving and simply spend time together instead. Isn’t that what really counts?

7. This is a great year to break out the holiday recipe books and bake your gifts. Last year I made homemade cranberry-pear sauce and gave it away to all my friends in pretty glass jars. They loved it and served the sauce with their holiday dinner.

8. Bake Christmas cookies with your kids and box them up as gifts for relatives.

9. Count your blessings and do something
to help others in greater need than yourself. There is nothing more
gratifying or humbling than to be of service to others during the
holidays
.

10. Keep it simple. Remember, we have a choice about how we spend our holidays. We don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations but our own. Just make a plan and do what you can and trust that it is enough. 

11. Take care of yourself during the holidays. Be mindful to not over-indulge. Eat well, get plenty of rest and exercise to stay balanced and reduce holidays stress.

12. Focus on “togetherness” as the theme for this holiday season. Have a holiday pot-luck or host a holiday film night and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Because it is….just ask George Bailey.

Here’s a Prayer for this Holiday Season:

“When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…

And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.

~- Howard Thurman, adapted

Peace & Blessings!

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