Thanksgiving is coming up, with Christmas following soon after. In our home, we have a birthday in between the two holidays, but even without that it is easy for this time of year to become exhaustingly busy. November and December are my favorite months of the year, and they can be yours too! Today I am sharing some of my favorite ways to create a meaningful holiday season. Suntrust Bank – who I have collaborated with a few times, now – asked to work together on this topic. They have provided both a holiday planning guide and a holiday budget to help you get organized so that you can focus on what matters most this holiday season. Their site is full of resources to help you create a meaningful holiday.
How to Create a Meaningful Holiday Season
Colder winter months are a wonderful time to share family stories. Tell true stories, tell tall tales, and read books out loud together as a family. Last year we started a picture book countdown tradition. It was a big hit with the kids, and it helped me remember to sit down and enjoy a book with them every day. I don’t love close to most of my extended family, but a Family Christmas Book where we share memories, stories, and more each year helps to bridge the geographic divide.
It is easy to fill calendars up with holiday parties, concerts, and events. I have learned to choose carefully what I say yes to so that we can thoroughly enjoy those experiences. I have also learned to cut out certain things that I do the rest of the year during November and December so that we can take on new projects without becoming overwhelmed. I try to shop for and make gifts early so that I can focus on the meaning of the season. I have pretty strong Scandinavian and farming roots, and I think those combine to make me see winter as a space to regroup and restore myself and my family.
The holidays provide a wonderful opportunity to connect with the people we care about most – from spending time with family and friends to expressing gratitude to teachers, mail carriers, and others who transform our lives and those of our children.
Every November, I start thinking about making things out of felt. This is because, when I was small, my mom helped us make felt Christmas tree ornaments. It wasn’t something that happened every year, but it happened often enough that it became imprinted on my craft-loving soul. As I grew older I often sewed felt gifts for my siblings instead of tree ornaments.
My kids have made very simple felt ornaments, but our strongest new-with-this-generation addition is our gratitude trees, hands, leaves – the doing changes year by year, but the underlying theme is always the same. From my own parents I inherited a love of Christmas music and the nativity story, which I have carried through with my own children. I need to research gluten-free gingerbread house recipes to see if we can continue that tradition this year.
At their core, the holidays are about saving. Saving time for family and friends. Saving memories. Saving stories. Saving our communities – through service, outreach, and friendship.
What are you doing this year to create a meaningful holiday season?
The holidays are for focusing on moments that matter. But for many Americans, financial stress can get in the way. This year, you can make small changes that make a big difference for your financial well-being.
In this holiday planning guide, you’ll find tips for getting organized and making a plan for holiday spending so you can feel confident in your ability to stay on track with your budget. You’ll see how other Americans are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving in ways that make the holidays cost less, but mean more.
For more holiday planning advice visit holiday resources
Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.