This is such a glorious time of year. Music is playing, decorations are up and we are anticipating good times with family and friends celebrating the season. Sidewalks are crowded with people rushing around looking for that perfect gift. As the mad rush continues towards the last few weeks of December, let’s pause for a few brief seconds before January comes around and the bills start to pop in the mail.

This time of year can be a time of over spending as we get carried away with giving.. Most of this spending comes from an emotional place.

  • We get carried away with the “sale” tags and feel like we are getting a good bargain.
  • We get carried away because it is a season of “giving” so we buy random gifts for neighbors, co – workers and acquaintances.
  • We get carried away because we want to make everyone “happy” for the holidays. Especially the kids.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spends approximately $1,050 during the holidays. This spending is for gifts, travel and goodies. This is up 5% from $1,000 last year. So, let’s come up with a plan for the Holidays!

Plan for the Holidays – Money

Approaching the holidays with a spending plan keeps us in check. This way, we are spending consciously. Inside of pulling out the credit card whenever we see a sale sign, we have a plan in place.

The plan would include; name, amount and item to get for each person on your list. Include a 10% cushion of any last minute purchase that you may have to do. Once you have a plan in place, you have to stick to the plan.

Sometimes, sticking to the plan is makes you very uncomfortable or even anxious. If you have trouble with this step, pause and take a deep breath. Overspending is caused by emotional reasons. Once you feel grounded and centered, what are you feeling? What emotions come up for you? Whatever emotions come up, it  takes 90 seconds for your body to process it so hang in there and it will pass. Chose to spend consciously using the plan you have created for yourself for this holiday season.. Your bank account will do a happy dance in January!

Plan for the Holidays – Connection

Humans crave meaningful connections with each other. We are feeling increasingly disconnected to ourselves and to other people. This is happening for a variety of reasons; cell phones have taken our attention, constant “busyness” has become addicting and life in general has become over complicated leaving us feeling alone and isolated

Instead of focusing on buying gifts, spend some time planning “connection” time with family and friends. This connection time does not necessary include spending. Here are some ways you could spend doing some meaningful connection over the holidays..

  • Baking party where friends gather to make holidays cakes and cookies.
  • Sightseeing outing to see the holiday lights, Christmas tree etc.
  • Ice Skating to holiday music (indoor or outdoor).
  • Volunteering at a food pantry.

All of the above are ways we can increase connectivity around each other. I am sure you can come up with a few of your own.

For this holiday season, focus on connection, instead of finding that perfect gift.