Questions to ask yourself before the holidays

The holidays are basically here. The impending sense of overwhelm and warm fuzziness is here as well. I’ve dared to drag out the holiday decorations at least a few times. The other morning, I downloaded the Living Well Spending Less Holiday Planner and scrolled to my favorite section: Holiday Goals.

In the free planner, there are pages dedicated to outlining budgets, gift ideas and tools to plan your holiday meals. All great stuff. But the questions section is my favorite.

We were just finishing breakfast one Sunday morning and I decided to open up a word document and start typing up my family’s responses.

What three things can we do to help others this year?

KIDS: Hold the door for others, buy food for someone on the street, donate baby clothes to friends and family. Help someone pick up their room, surprise visits to friends or family, give clothes to friends, help someone with their yard work.

GROWN-UPS: Donate to a food bank for people less fortunate, buy a toy from giving tree, donate old clothes to local charity supporting young children.

What are five things we can do as a family this year?

KIDS: Build a dollhouse with sibling, make paper snowflakes, watch Christmas movies, rollerblading or ice skating.

GROWN-UPS: Local light and holiday festival, go sledding, take ski lessons, Christmas ships, caroling bonfire by lake, decorate house with lights, breakfast with Santa event, New Year’s with grandparents.

What are three things we don’t want to do this year?

KIDS: Didn’t have a response for this question.

GROWN-UPS: Work (jokingly); make everything homemade (food, etc.), set a budget and not go over it, not over-schedule ourselves.

What is least important to us this year?

KIDS: Play kids dancing game on Nintendo Wii, don’t stuff ourselves, eating a lot of sugar.

GROWN-UPS: Lots of presents (for us or for the kids), experiences are better versus things. We don’t have to go somewhere else all the time. Spend time at home. Gift cards just to get someone something. If we want to do something with someone (set a date and extend the invite but not worry about who makes it). Feel like we have to do a bunch of big traditional events.

What is most important to us this year?

KIDS: Family, getting to see our family more, not spending a lot of money, painting to give pictures to family, breakfast with Santa.

GROWN-UPS: Seeing friends and family. Remember the reason for the season, make memories with family, treasuring the remaining “magical years.”

Take a few moments to ask yourself (and your family) these questions. It’s really helpful to understand what everyone’s expectations are for this time of year. Case in point: I had already scheduled some activities for us in the coming weeks, I’m going to take a look at what I’ve done so far and do some tweaking to make it more in line with our answers above.

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