Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deep Breaths & Shallow Worries: 10 Holiday Changes for Next Year

Looking ahead at a new 2008 calendar, here's how I would like to handle gifts for birthdays, holidays and other shopping-related occasions during the next 12 months. I plan to wrap this list in a stress-free package of self-containment.

1. Purge. We have so much stuff. If my walls could talk, they'd grumble and crumble about the weight of ownership. Next holiday season, I'd like to purge the closets before buying any more games, movies or books.

2. Keep better track of time: I want all of my cards and packages to arrive on time, but I don't want to pay any extra money for air freight or special delivery. Solution: I want to use the bundled software program in my laptop to remind me of birthdays, anniversaries and other milestone events. The system that I now under-utilize, provides pop-up reminders, whistles and bells tied into calendar-linked deadlines. The program, however, is not tied to any upload -your-life online service, so I don't have to worry about privacy issues.

3. Make Gifts: I am so impressed with my mom. She spent hours and hours in a pottery studio and has made all of her holiday gifts. (More on this later). I enjoy embroidery and other forms of needlepoint. There are a wide range of crafts that make pretty, practical and frugal presents.

4. Write letters to friends. Cards are fine. Mass-dispatched holiday newsletters are cool. Emails and e-cards help make timely connections. But I'd like to just breakout the stationary and write good old fashion letters to several friends. I want to be a pen pal. I want to open the mailbox and find real letters.

5. Set up a community service event for my kids. Next year, I'd like to work on a family donation of time and effort to those in need. Nothing too big, just an afternoon or two of giving back and sharing.

6. Bake. I have a few close friends who make delicious breads and cakes. My middle son is also a baker. I'd like to spend a day (with my kids) baking goodies for friends and neighbors.

7. Buy gifts in bulk: I have friends that save lots of money through bulk purchases of gift items. For instance, one friend found a good price on dinner platters and purchased several as wedding presents. Likewise, I want to keep our gift closet well-stocked with a supply of children's gifts and house presents. It really saves money not to scramble for last-minute gifts.

8. Hold a swap party. I'd like to get together a group of close friends and tell everyone to bring a bag of clothing and household trinkets that they would like to get rid of. Then we could all swap, purge, take home and donate our extras to charity.

9. Relax: In my house, the eight days of Chanukah seemed to just fly by. I now worry that I spent more time with my keyboard than with my family. Next year as a gift to myself, I plan to manage my time better.

10. Stop the worries: I even worry about how much time I spend worrying. My 9-year-old daughter even has a prepared mantra that she offers whenever I look at her with my worry eyes. She says: "Yes, you are a good mommy. You spend lots of time with us. You give us lots of attention. Yes, you are....."

My goal for 2008: Deep breaths and shallow worries.

My Previous Posts


How a Red Spiral Notebook Helped Me: The Power of Written Goals

Are You Frugal or Just Downwardly Mobile, in Denial or Just Poor?
Recycled Cinderella: Same Outfits, Different Holiday Balls
Saving Money with CFLs: A Formula for Bright Lights & Lower Expenses



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