As a Sandwiched Boomer caring for parents growing older and kids growing up, perhaps you’re feeling under more pressure this week. The days are flying by and there’s still so much to do for the holidays. And you may not be finished shopping for your Hanukah, Christmas or Kwanzaa presents. How about a few more ideas that won’t break the bank?
Photo by Brainedge – Flickr.com
Give of yourself. Enjoy time with your friends by inviting them over for an evening of fun. Organize a potluck and have them bring their signature dish. Cut down on expenses by exchanging memories instead of presents. Or express yourself and create some of your holiday gift items. Make a coupon book filled with orders for good deeds. Add a personal touch by baking and decorating cookies with the kids. Show others you care with an IOU to babysit so they can have a much needed night out.
Give to yourself. Take some down time over the holidays and get comfortable with you. For a couple of hours each day, try not to focus on your problems. Curl up with a great book from the library, watch the ballgame with your teens or take your grandkids to the park. Enjoy peace of mind by paying down your debts. Hold back from buying lots of gifts or taking the family on an expensive outing. Decide together how to spend a fun and relaxing day. Your family will understand and grow from the experience.
The holidays don’t always have to look like a Norman Rockwell painting.
You create more stress if you stick only to old routines and traditions. Try not to operate on automatic pilot. Begin to lay the groundwork for change in your gift giving rituals. As you can see, it doesn’t have to cost you anything but time. And when money is tight and life is challenging, connection and support can mean the most.
It will be a gift to yourself when you recreate the joy of simpler days. Small changes can represent a new beginning. Take heart as you give a little that feels like a lot. And in these hard times, that’s a good lesson for all of us.