Black Friday "deals" can look attractive, but the reason for going after them can be much less attractive.

I know that “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are right around the corner, but are we really going to miss anything if we don't participate? I don't think we will. I often wonder what’s the purpose of the holiday season? Is it to buy gifts? To spend time with family and friends, or is it even just about the days off of work or school? This year we can make changes to the Holidays so that they will be more enjoyable and relaxing rather than frantic. 

I want to share with you what one of my patients does for the holidays in regards to buying gifts for her kids since her kids get a lot of gifts from extended family. She, and her husband, will buy four gifts for their children: something they need, something they want, something to wear, and something to read. This way she can spend a bit more on these gifts rather than just getting a lot of little things to meet some unnecessary quota of quantity. I think this is a brilliant idea as most of us participate in Black Friday/Cyber Monday for the deals so that we can buy more without regard for the quality of the gift, or its meaning. 

We, as a family (my parents included), have chosen not to buy gifts for siblings or parents. Instead we now only buy for our nephews/grandkids. We already buy what we need when we need it anyhow, and from time to time we will buy what we want as well (funds permitting of course). For me, I’d rather spend time with family, and pay for an adventure instead of buying gifts/gift cards for each other. This has made the Holidays easier for us. One exception to this rule is that my husband and I continue our tradition of buying each other a Christmas Tree ornament each year from some place we have been, or we pick it out for having a specific meaning to us from that year. Our tree is full of these ornaments now, and it makes decorating the tree that much more fun. In fact, we can’t wait to start buying ornaments for our little one on the way.

I would recommend that you all take a hard look at what your typical holiday season has become, and see ways that you can decrease the stress, the clutter, and the chaos. Last week I wrote about planning for your meal needs, but this week I felt it more important to talk about your gift and family needs. I know there are some people that will do their Christmas shopping all year round so that, as they get closer to the holidays, they are done and don't have to worry about it. Most of us are not that organized. However, maybe the four gift plan would be helpful. As an another alternative, maybe just looking at who really needs gifts this year can help you to be more in touch with the season rather than just pointlessly spending because a “sale” exists. 

The more relaxed we are over the holidays then the more enjoyable they will be. So as the Holidays approach, Chris and I would like to wish you all a safe and happy Holiday Season.

Image: asenat29 (Wikipedia) (CC 2.0)