The holidays can be both a source of joy and stress for many, but none so much as a family with children below the age of 12. If you have young children, you’re likely not only entertaining kids during their time off while you’re working, but also buying gifts, dealing with cold and flu season, and potentially hosting others in your family. This is a discussion of planning for the holidays in advance to maintain some semblance of sanity when the holiday frenzy rolls around.
Entertaining Your Kids
Keeping your kids entertained over holiday breaks can be both a mental and financial strain. Here are some things you can do to entertain kids and save on costs:
- Arts and crafts: You can get your kids in the spirit, boost their creative side, and gain low-cost holiday decorations by encouraging arts and crafts like paper snowflakes, holiday chains, popcorn strings, and gingerbread houses.
- Bedroom makeover: If you want to keep your living room clean but encourage your kids to get into the holiday spirit, you can encourage them to decorate their own bedrooms for the holidays. This can be a solo task while you’re working.
- Inviting their friends: There is often no better way to keep kids entertained for long periods than adding a friend or two to the mix.
- Games and puzzles: Do you remember how enamored many people became with puzzles during the Covid-19 pandemic? That’s because games and puzzles are a great way to pass the time and keep your brain engaged.
- Lean on your friends and family: They say it takes a village. If you’re having a difficult time getting through the holidays and you have nearby friends and family, there’s no need to go it alone.
Buying gifts can be a top financial stressor during the holidays. Bankrate estimates from a 2021 study that nearly 65% of the $998 average holiday cost per person are for gifts to friends, family, and co-workers. For each person you are purchasing a gift for, you can save costs by:
- Setting a total gift budget and sticking to it.
- Thinking ahead and shopping Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals.
- Keeping a detailed list of who gets what.
- Supplementing gifts with homemade creations like fudge or ornaments.
If you are in a family that purchases gifts for both adults and children, that gift list can feel overwhelming depending on the size of your family. For the adults, you can consider speaking among your family and proposing something like a Secret Santa so that everyone saves on costs and family members can afford something a little nicer for the one person they’re in charge of getting a gift for.
Hosting can look a little different to all families. Here are some ways of keeping costs down if you’re entertaining guest this holiday season:
- Propose a potluck: If everyone in attendance brings one dish, then the costs and labor won’t all fall on you.
- Host in the afternoon: A holiday gathering doesn’t have to include a meal. You can invite family over in the afternoon and just have some light hors d’oeuvres available for snacking.
- BYOB or signature cocktail: Alcohol can end up being big ticket item at holiday gatherings. Having a wide variety of choices can quickly add up in costs. One way to mitigate this is by having one signature drink available (potentially with only one or two alcohol types) or fully asking guests to bring their own.
I know many people who stress about the cost of the holidays. Putting yourself into debt is not what the holidays are all about and can be avoided. Try to remember to have fun, have gratitude, and feel the love and magic of the season. With these planning tips, I hope you’re able to have a happy and stress-free holiday season.
This informational and educational article does not offer or constitute, and should not be relied upon as, tax or financial advice. Your unique needs, goals and circumstances require the individualized attention of your own tax and financial professionals whose advice and services will prevail over any information provided in this article. Equitable Advisors, LLC and its associates and affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice or services. Equitable Advisors, LLC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN) and its affiliates do not endorse, approve or make any representations as to the accuracy, completeness or appropriateness of any part of any content linked to from this article.
Cicely Jones (CA Insurance Lic. #: 0K81625) offers securities through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN) and offers annuity and insurance products through Equitable Network, LLC, which conducts business in California as Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC). Financial Professionals may transact business and/or respond to inquiries only in state(s) in which they are properly qualified. Any compensation that Ms. Jones may receive for the publication of this article is earned separate from, and entirely outside of her capacities with, Equitable Advisors, LLC and Equitable Network, LLC (Equitable Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC). AGE-6081253.1 (11/23)(exp. 11/25)