Creating a memorable and cherished Christmas for your children doesn’t have to be overly expensive or complex. To prove this point, just take a minute and think back on when you were a child. What do you remember and cherish most about Christmas? As I did this, three main things game to mind:
1- Helping and serving others.
It’s amazing how vividly I remember helping and serving those in need when I think of my Christmas experiences as a child/youth. I remember shopping for ‘Sub for Santa’ gifts for children who would otherwise not get them. Collecting food for the Food Bank for the homeless and hungry is a great memory. I would often do ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ for those who were lonely or didn’t have much family. I remembered the times that we went around and shoveled the walks and drive ways clear of snow for others. I enjoyed caroling to neighbors. These memories are meaningful and make me feel good.
Each year we put on the Nativity Christmas Play (scripts and costumes here). I always remember and look forward to this reenactment of the Holy Night. My family had several other traditions as well: going to see the lights with family, baking and frosting cookies together, making and delivering neighbor gifts, going to Christmas concerts, attending the Festival of Trees, and watching Joyeux Noel or other Christmas movies.
3- Spending time with loved ones
The reason I love Christmas traditions and the Holidays so much is the time spent with family. It really is my favorite thing! As a child, my cousins and I would always be so excited and happy to get together. I was always excited that I had time off of school so I could spend more time with my family.
What about gifts and Santa you may ask?
Well, to be honest, at times I will remember a specific gift that I was given. Like the pogo stick I got or the Easy Bake Oven I wanted very badly as a little girl. I loved the magic of Santa and I enjoyed shopping, making, and giving gifts to those I love. That said, I find that this statistic, “According to the National Retail Federation, the average American planned to spend about $800 celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa last year” disheartening. You don’t have to spend almost one grand to enjoy or create a memorable holiday season for children.
In fact, the vivid memories I have of Christmas as youth didn’t have to do with receiving presents. Most of what I remember and cherish can be done at little to no expense. To make Christmas memorable you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Yes gifts are nice, but they shouldn’t be the focus. Christmas will be just as enjoyable—if not more so, if we focus on sticking to our budgets— download a free budget calculator here, stress free planning— holiday guide here, and incorporating things that really matter: people, experiences, and service to others. Doing this will not only create a Christmas your children will enjoy and remember, chances are that you will enjoy it more as well!
Note from the sponsor of this post:
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
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.