4 experiences you should prioritize around the holidays
When I was younger, I remember Christmas was such an exciting time in my household for my siblings and I. We couldn't sleep much the night before, and the next day, we'd run down the stairs to eat breakfast and start opening gifts. For children, the most exciting part of the Christmas holiday is the part that involves opening gifts. But looking back, I don't remember much about any of the gifts I received. I know I received some nice things, but I can't go year-by-year listing out the gifts I was given by my family. In order words, I forgot!
Now that I'm older and a parent myself, I'm realizing that the holidays are about more than gifts. It's about experiences. Whether you're old or young, you probably won't remember all the gifts you bought and received for Christmas. That's why it's best to focus on experiences and traditions that will create lasting memories. Plus, experiences don't tend to be costly around the holidays and if they are, make sure they align with your values.
Here are some of my favorite holiday experiences that I'd recommend enjoying with your loved ones.
1. Decorating the House
If you like to decorate your home for the holidays, it can put you in a better mood to embrace the season. Plus if you have kids, it's super exciting for them.
We tend to put up a Christmas tree every year and use the same decorations year after year. This year, we may buy some new Christmas lights to add to our stash, but that won't cost much at all. Each year when we put our tree up, we turn on a holiday movie and make hot chocolate. Nothing beats sitting next to a beautifully lit up Christmas tree and enjoying some delicious hot chocolate. It's a priceless experience.
2. Spending Time With Family
Many people are looking forward to seeing their families during the holiday season, and they should be excited about it. If you don't get to see your immediate or extended family regularly, the holidays can be a special time to bond and catch up.
Whether you're traveling to see family or hosting guests at your house, be sure to be present. Carve out time so you can give your loved ones your undivided attention. Pull yourself away from your cell phone or computer for at least a day or two.
Watch movies with your family, play video games or board games, tell stories together. Cherish the time you have and be grateful for it.
3. Cooking and Eating the Holiday Meal
If you're a foodie like me, you might be highly anticipating all the yummy food that comes with the holiday celebration. Make it out to be a fun experience by cooking and sharing a meal with your family and friends.
Social dining is a great experience, and again, if you don't get to spend a ton of time with your family throughout the year, try to prioritize the experience and make the most of it. I see my mom and siblings a lot because they live close, but I hardly ever share a meal with them or come over for dinner. My mom brings me food she cooks for lunch sometimes, but it's not the same.
For the holidays, we all like to pitch in with preparing the meal and eat together. Recently, I started preparing a cultural dish that is very important to my family. My great-grandmother passed about a year ago, and I decided to keep the family tradition going and prepare the delicious dish every year so I could continue to pass the recipe down to other family members.
It's costly to prepare the dish, but my husband and I split the costs and we only make it once a year on Christmas. That is just another holiday experience that I love to prioritize over gifts.
4. Holiday Traditions
Other experiences you should be sure to prioritize this holiday season are your holiday traditions. Sure, opening gifts each year is one of the main traditions, but there are so many others depending on what your family likes to do. Some people attend church on Christmas Day, others have a big brunch, head to the movie theater, make Christmas cookies for nursing home residents, or simply stay home all day and watch movies.
There's always room to create new holiday traditions as well. Kwanzaa is a holiday I recently started celebrating, but it requires a bit of preparation. However, I love it almost more than Christmas because it's so thoughtful.
It takes place from December 26 to January 1, and it's a celebration of life that centers around five common sets of values and principles including themes like unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, and more. It's really a fun holiday, and anyone can celebrate it. The point is making the holiday season about what you treasure most, not what the media tells you to treasure.
What are some experiences that you're looking forward to this holiday season?
4 experiences you should prioritize around the holidays is a post originally published on Everything Finance