Although it is also a joyous period of time, the holidays can be tough emotionally, mentally, and even financially. The current economic status of our country is stressful and frankly, a bit scary. Record high gas prices and increased prices at the grocery store have all of us feeling a bit spooked. In combination with the holiday season, some people may be feeling more like the Grinch and less holly and jolly.

However, money does not define the holiday spirit. In fact, many Americans live through the holidays with nothing at all. If you are struggling with finding joy this December, you are not alone. Keep reading to learn how you can find the pathway to holiday season joy throughout this recession.

Redefining what the holidays are to you

Regardless of whether you celebrate a holiday in December, discovering your own intention throughout the holiday season will help you find your own spark of joy. Take some time to sit down and be serious with yourself: what do the holidays mean to you, really?

When you think of the holidays, do you think about all the new gifts you will be receiving? Do imagine the end of the year full of friends and family laughing with one another? Or is there a combination or something else entirely?

The holiday season does not have to be full of trendy clothes, cutting-edge gadgets, and shiny new toys. They can simply be a time of reflection and gratitude for all that you do have and all that there is to come.

Take a serious inventory of your finances

Of course, you want to give your loved ones everything they have ever wanted and more. However, being financially responsible now will pay off leaps and bounds in the future.

Take some of the following tips into mind when planning out your holiday shopping list.

  • Gift within your means: Although seeing your child’s face as they open up the new Nintendo Switch they wanted may warm your heart, it is so important to gift within your means. Going overboard will be detrimental to all of you in the long run.
  • Create a realistic budget: Now is when you must be realistic. List out everyone you plan on buying a gift for, as well as travel expenses and fancy holiday dinner budgets. From there, you should be able to create a well-rounded budget.
  • Do not dip into your savings: Even though now is a time when you want to spoil friends and family, it would be more of a letdown to spend all of your savings on presents. Your loved ones want you to be financially secure this holiday season, not another gift.

Create new traditions

Traditions always start with a change. This year, try implementing new traditions that fit better into your budget.

  • If you usually go on a vacation on the holidays, try exploring the town you live in instead.
  • Try a gift exchange instead of buying for each member of your family individually.
  • Give the gift of time instead of objects! For example, mow your mom’s lawn or clean out her gutters instead of getting her a new sweater.

The most important thing to remember throughout this season is that the holidays are not about what you have, but rather who you have. Surrounding yourself with family, friends, and other loved ones is bound to create more joy than any physical object may.

Tough financial times such as these are bound to bring on feelings of anxiety and depression. Seeking out therapy may be a great option for you to spark some more joy and happiness in your life. If you are looking for a trained professional to talk to, feel free to reach out to me today.