The Talk You Should Be Having Now: Next Year's Christmas Budget
When you were a kid, the distance between one Christmas and the next seemed like a million miles. Remember those days? The month of December alone felt like a year. There was nothing more disappointing than waking up each December morning, rubbing your tired little eyes, and racing into the living room to discover . . . nope, still not Christmas.
But now? If you’re like most adults, Christmas kind of sneaks up on you. In fact, maybe the phrase “Christmas is coming!” creates feelings of panic rather than cheer. With so much to accomplish in such a short time, stress around the holidays is almost a sure thing.
That’s why we thought today—right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle—might be the perfect time to talk about Christmas 2018. We know, we know. It sounds like one more thing to add to your to-do list, but hear us out.
Why You Should Start Talking About Next Christmas Before This One Ends
Christmas 2018 is coming.
And we think that with careful planning and early decision-making you’ll not only like Christmas next year, but also love and enjoy it! After all, the holiday season prompts us to spend precious time with friends and loved ones, express our feelings for one another through gifts, and share our good fortune with those who are less fortunate.
Sure, we could wait until January to address this topic and still be way ahead of the curve. But talking about next year’s holiday season while your tree is still up will allow you to really remember what traditions and events you’re enjoying this year and what you’d like to revise or ditch completely next year.
The Christmas 2018 conversation doesn’t have to be a long one. Take a few minutes to think through each of the following questions. Then, be sure to revisit and evaluate your decisions as the year moves along.
Conversation Starters for a Better Christmas in 2018
1. How much do we want to spend on Christmas next year?
You might begin with a reflection of this year’s Christmas budget. Did you have one? If so, how do you feel about the money you spent? Do you wish you’d spent less or more?
Did you pay for Christmas outright with cash or a debit card, or did you use a credit card? How much could you afford if you paid for next year’s Christmas with cash? Imagine how it would feel going into the new year with no new debt, and just a home full of joyful holiday memories.
2. Let’s do the math. How much should we save each month to pay for next year’s Christmas?
With the total amount you’d like to spend next year in mind, divide that number by 12 to see how much you’ll need to save each month. Let’s say you plan to spend $600 next Christmas. You should set aside $50 every month starting in January to reach your goal.
When the 2018 holiday season arrives you’ll be all set to start shopping—and be able to take advantage of early bird sales without worry. Better yet, you might even pull off the coveted Christmas status of people-watching (and no shopping!) in December.
3. What Christmas-related discussions should we have with family and friends?
Look back over the last month or so and note any holiday parties you attended, travel arrangements you made, or gift exchanges you participated in. What events added to your sense of joy and fun? What events felt more draining?
Brainstorm ways to maximize the sense of joy and minimize the feelings of stress and obligation. For example, maybe you could talk to your siblings about drawing names instead of buying gifts for everyone. Or maybe you could organize a Secret Santa gift exchange with your entire extended family. To relax more and stress less, think about shortening your travel plans or even making 2018 a home-for-the-holidays kind of Christmas.
Of course, the best way to way to get a jump start on next Christmas is to plan ahead with your EveryDollar budget.