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Holiday shopping destroying the holiday spirit

By Guest Blogger(view all posts by Kelli.Bhattacharjee)
at 9:30AM Tuesday November 26, 2013
under Holidays

Well, the shopping season is upon us. Do you find yourself overwhelmed and beyond stressed out during this time of the year? Are you desperately fretting about finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Are you consumed with worries about money and the cost of all these gifts? If so, you aren't alone. For many individuals, the quest for the best deal or perfect gift overshadows the reason for the season.

Black Friday sales are leaking out and sprouting up everywhere and the Thanksgiving turkey hasn't even been carved - or cooked for that matter! Every year the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. In fact, many families are now finding their Thanksgiving dinners rudely interrupted as deal seeking members head out to the stores to save a few dollars on the PlayStation 4 or new iPad. Believe me, as a deal dishing blogger and avid money saver myself, I can appreciate saving a buck. However, I do not allow scoring the latest and greatest deals and freebies to come at the expense of my family.

Over the years, I've noticed that this season has become less and less about giving thanks for our blessings and spending quality time with loved ones and more about competition and materialistic items. Thanksgiving is no longer a holiday - it's simply Black Friday eve.

This year, why not challenge yourself and consider an alternative option? I'm being so bold as to suggest a simpler holiday. "Simpler" doesn't have to mean less fun; in fact, it can mean more fun. Take the time to reevaluate what is important this holiday season. Remember that these moments with your loved ones can never be regained so why waste a single second fighting mobs at the store when you could be with your children, your parents, your friends, and your family?

Rather than stretching yourself and your budget thin, consider giving DIY gifts this year. You don't have to be Martha Stewart to create beautiful and useful gifts that your loved ones are sure to appreciate.

Not sure where to start? Try a delicious gift like a Mason jar recipe. Just try not to eat all the ingredients yourself! If you have little ones, steal some extra quality time and help them make adorable Christmas crafts like a footprint reindeer or paper plate gingerbread man. What grandparent or school teacher will be able to resist charming, thoughtful gifts like these?

Those most opposed to the concept of a "simpler" holiday will be the kids. Sure, they'll have a blast exercising their imaginations as they concoct fun, creative DIY gifts for others, but they'll still be expecting the latest electronic gadget to appear under the tree Christmas morning. I'm not advocating a gift-less holiday season. I'm simply proclaiming that it's time to retake the holiday seasons and spend it in our festively decorated homes sipping hot chocolate, eating delicious unhealthy treats, and surrounded by our friends and family - not standing in line for hours and hours to save $10.

If your budget allows you to splurge on the "hot" items this holiday season and you think your little one deserves it go ahead. However, going overboard and covering the floor with presents at the expensive of paying bills isn't good for them or your wallet.

This year, when the kids are writing their letters to Santa, encourage them to only ask for one major gift and a few smaller, less expensive gifts. Managing their expectations early on will help them be more appreciative if they receive extra surprises on Christmas morning. To give them ideas of less expensive gifts to ask for (not that they'll need it!), have them check out this list of cheap stocking stuffers.

Then, once their Christmas list is complete move away from the "stuff" that's filling up the holiday season. Make some non-materialistic memories. Make Christmas decorations, go ice skating, teach them Christmas carols, and make Christmas cookies. Show your children that Christmas is so much more than what is (or isn't) under the tree.

Do yourself and your family a favor this holiday season, rather than rushing to snag the hottest doorbuster sales, spend time with your family making memories.

Kelli Bhattacharjee is the owner of Freebie Finding Mom, where she blogs about the best daily freebies, coupons, online bargains and savvy money saving advice. The advice Kelli provides comes from world experience and a financial background. She is passionate about helping consumers save big money and have fun along the way.

(Source: Savings.com)