Take a moment to pause and envision the upcoming holiday season. How do you feel? Is there a sense of joy and excited anticipation, or does your body tighten with anxiety? Is some of that stress related to money? How do you want to feel during your holiday season?
Let’s start with Thanksgiving – the holiday that is about Gratitude, but is traditionally a big day of eating and drinking. What kind of Thanksgiving do you want to have?
For the past few years, my husband and I have celebrated two Thanksgivings – one on the day of Thanksgiving with friends and one with his family on the day after. This year, we’ve decided to have a low-key Thanksgiving day with a hike and some rest and relaxation. When I think about that day, I am envisioning a sense of calm and gratitude.
What’s your Thanksgiving vision?
Plan ahead for what you want to eat or avoid and visualize a feeling of comfortable satisfaction after the meal. Plan your spending in advance (more tips below). Think about ways to focus your holiday on gratitude. I love to hear from everyone I’m with about what they are grateful for. Gratitude opens our hearts and can create a sense of connection in a group with diverse ages, lifestyles and values, as can be the case in family gatherings.
How do you want to feel?
Now consider the December holidays. Are you at risk of getting swept into spending more than you can afford? Or losing your serenity over shopping or excess activity? The most powerful way to create your reality is to imagine yourself in the situation, and conjure the way you want to feel – serene, joyful, grounded…
If over-spending is a vulnerability for you, it’s likely that the pressures of the season will trigger this unconscious reaction. The more awareness you can bring to your patterns, the more at choice you will be, and the better you’ll feel.
Start today with setting your overall spending limit for the holidays. Then create a plan: list your spending categories and estimate your costs for each. Categories to consider include gifts, entertainment, decorations, food, clothes, and travel. List each person you want to buy a gift for, and be sure to include yourself!