One of the most challenging parts of the holiday season can be navigating our finances. Whether we are unemployed, pay-check-to-paycheck, or experiencing something else, this time of year can present challenges to our financial life and our well-being. There are some considerations we can make and some steps we can take to navigate our financial well-being during the holidays.
Stick To Your budget
One of the hardest things for some of us to do this holiday season will be to pick a budget for holiday shopping and stick to it. However, when we decide what we want to spend (whether per-gift or total) we give ourselves permission to respect our money and ourselves. We don’t take on unnecessary debt and the fear and feelings that such debt brings. We also invite our mind to play and create, especially on a limited budget.
The Value of Quality, Time, and Experience
While getting multiple expensive gifts for loved ones might be the way that we feel we “should” show our love and appreciation this holiday season, it may not be possible or authentic for us to do so. There is great value in the quality of hand made items, in spending quality time with loved ones, and in deciding to opt for “experience presents” and “presence” over physical presents. Perhaps this means baking everyone cookies this year, on giving out cuopons for “coffee dates”, or on offering people our full undivided attention through visits or calls. One thing that we can be sure of when we focus on quality, time, and experience is that we will make memories and that can be a very powerful and joy-filled thing.
Stay Away From Comparison And Choose Gratitude
As it can be easy to compare our gifts to those given by others or to compare our meal to the ones we see on television or in magazines, we can fall into the comparison trap. One way to free ourselves is to choose gratitude and appreciation. Perhaps we are grateful to have a home, a heater, a blanket, or a loved one. Perhaps we appreciate how kind our friend has been to let us stay at their home or how someone held the door for us as we leave a building. There is great value in even brief moments of gratitude or appreciation. This is especially true when we write or say aloud those things for which we are grateful or share with others what it is we appreciate about who they are to us.
Find A Way To Give And Watch Your Gift Grow
The title of this section may make us wary. “I can’t give. I can’t donate. I can barely make my car payment…” we might say. While we may be limited in how we can give with regard to money, the world presents us with many other ways to give this time of year. Perhaps we can volunteer. Perhaps we don’t have time to volunteer but we can hold the door for a stranger, help someone carry in their tree, welcome a new person at our meeting, or share words of encouragement with a stranger or friend. When we give, even in what we see as small ways, we can watch our giving grow. In the same way that your holding the door might lead to someone else holding it or your helping someone with their leaf raking might give them more time to spend with their family, our joy expands and our gifts grow into larger experiences than we might even know. If you have the chance to give this year, even in ways you think are small, you may be surprised by the impact of your kindness.
Find Comfort In Community
Finally, when you feel financially overwhelmed or worried, it can be helpful to seek out a community to offer compassion, support, and resources. Here at Root To Rise we are not in the business of finance, but we understand the role this topic plays in recovery and well-being. If you have question or need help finding resources in your community, we can work to be of assistance. We also offer lots of donation-based events that may help you to take care of yourself while respecting your budget. We’d love to have you reach out to us, to seek comfort in our community, and to be a part of our awesome community!