Well, here we are, in the midst of the Holiday Season and yet one more person, a finance planner no less, is going to presume to tell you how to enjoy the Holidays this year. That’s right, but with a twist. Since I really don’t presume to have all of the answers, I’m going to suggest you take this advice from someone else, not me.

The free eBook from Family Circle Advisers: Hip Family’s Guide to Happier Holidays is, quite simply, a little gem of a book by Lisa Parker, designed to help you and your family put the Joy back in the enjoyment of your end-of-year Holiday Season. The book is just five pages, but I believe they just may be five of the most important pages you’ve read in years.

  • Building Rituals and Traditions – within your family structure is a wonderful way to increase sharing and the joy of giving to each other. This does not require spending money, but it does require creative thinking, in a collective setting; a setting of family.
  • Sharing stories – of favorite holiday experiences builds a bond that expensive gifting can never match. Asking older family members to share with younger, stories from a simpler time perhaps, will help everyone to appreciate the wealth and abundance you already share, rather than focusing on that hot new thing on TV.
  • Giving and Service – to those less fortunate than ourselves is a great way to teach children the value of community. It is also a real rush to help others, creating what is called the “helper’s high.” Doing good feels good, and is good for you, and your family. The simplest of things can make a world of difference to someone who has less than you and, since time is your most valuable asset, encouraging your family to volunteer to help others can bring great rewards.

Ms. Parker encourages families to ask three simple questions before they begin to make these changes to the way they view the holidays. This year, she suggests, ask yourselves these questions and, based on the answers, set yourselves up for a more joyful Holiday Season.

  • What are our favorite memories of holidays past?
  • What would make this holiday special, if we did not get gifts?
  • What holiday tradition do we hope our own children and grandchildren will remember with love, and continue with their own families?

Experience teaches us that expensive gifts rarely add much to the Holiday experience, no matter how eagerly they are wanted or how expensive they are. As parents, we feel the need to give our kids everything they ever wanted. But stuff rarely lasts beyond the initial glow. Instead, this year, use the holidays creatively to think of gifts and celebrating differently. Traditions lead to memories and this is what is meaningful and lasting.

Tamarind Financial Planning is here for you, with individual financial planning strategies and personal investment management techniques to help you meet and exceed your financial goals.