Preparing for the Holidays

Joann Wolwowicz

Thanksgiving is over and the leftovers are all gone. You know what that means. The holidays are here again, and it’s time to get into the spirit of the season. No sooner do I feel like the holidays are over then they are back again, and it’s time to prepare all over again. Sometimes it can get very hectic. What should I get for that special someone? How much should I spend? What will I cook for that holiday dinner? How much should I spend? It’s not even December yet, but it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with everything. But never fear, because here is where planning will help take some of the stress off.

Now that we can officially listen to Christmas music, and I mean yes now you are allowed to listen to it. If you listened before Thanksgiving then you should be ashamed of yourself for making Thanksgiving feel lonely and overlooked. Stores do it all the time. They have a Halloween aisle and a Christmas aisle midway through October, and poor Thanksgiving seems like a holiday no one cares about. In reality, everyone looks forward to the food and the family and the break from school. It always seems as if the holiday season is rushed upon us because people are anxious to start preparing for them. However, then December comes as a shock and suddenly there are only 24 shopping days left until Christmas. Oh no!

Since December comes the same time every year, usually after November if my calendar is correct, we should be more prepared for the holidays instead of going crazy come Black Friday. My first tip would be to budget well before going out and just shopping. It’s easy to go nuts and spend, spend, spend, but in the long run you have to decide if it will take you until next Christmas to pay back everything you bought for this Christmas. Another tip would be to be more conscious of what you spend your money on. When buying a present for someone, put more thought into it instead of just thinking about how much it costs. The more you spend does not make the gift any better. Consider if the person will use it, if they will like it, or if it’s something they actually want. Putting those things into perspective can alleviate unnecessary spending on gifts that just go under the bed on December 26.

Also, when you are out shopping, be sure to pay attention to the deals that some stores claim that you are getting. Sometimes what looks like a really deal isn’t really a deal at all. If the item is the same price it was a week before the store was having a sale, then it’s really not a sale now is it. You could also do some browsing. See what that item you’re looking for goes for in other stores or online. That way you know you are getting the best price for your item, while getting the most out of your budget.

Finally, since it is the holiday season, consider volunteering or helping someone in need. It feels wonderful to be able to say that I helped someone either by donating money, food, or just even your time. The holidays are more than just about the gifts, money, food, and decorations. It’s also about helping others so that they can have a holiday too. Don’t think you can help? You could always volunteer your time at a soup kitchen serving food. Do you have any old clothes that you don’t wear? How about donating them to someone who can use them to stay warm? There are many people in need out there. The holidays are a great time to show them that you care.