Holiday traditions are comfortable, fun and well…a tradition. But sometimes the budget doesn’t love them quite so much. When you get trapped into doing certain things and having certain foods during holidays, spending beyond your budget is a distinct possibility. It leads you to dread the holidays and just brings stress.
How can you get away from paying more than you want to for these traditional foods and holiday entertainment year after year? It may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but when you see the savings, you’ll be glad you learned to break away and make some changes.
Traditions May Have To Fall
It is often difficult to break with tradition, especially during the holidays. However, if you’re hosting a holiday gathering and you have a budget to consider, you may have to step on some toes. I won’t say it’s going to be easy. The struggle may be internal, in your own mind. Or, the struggle may be external, family members telling you that you “simply can’t” skip Grandma’s special six-hour-twelve-layer-dessert that cost as much to make as your son’s orthodontist bill.
Personal feelings can play a big part in these traditions. If you break the news to the family that you can’t see your way clear to make something or do something, and you’re met with shrieks and tears, then suggest that someone go ahead and take on that particular tradition. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but be honest. Then, if someone wants to take up the mantle, by all means, let them. Everyone wins, tradition is intact if someone feels it should be, and you are off the hook for the expense. And remember, not everyone in the family is in love with the tradition that you’ve been trying to figure out how to eliminate from your plans. Do a fact-check in your family and find out before you spend the money and time on something nobody really wants.
Brainstorming New Traditions
If you and your family agree that a tradition must be lovingly set adrift, it is time to begin anew. This is where everything starts getting interesting, and fun. It’s time to get everyone on board and start brainstorming. So the question is put to the family; if we’re going to let go of the huge meal and all the other expense surrounding a holiday, what do we replace it with?
A fun idea to break away from tradition is to set a theme for your holiday dinner. Have everyone bring one dish that they feel is consistent with that theme. For instance, make your dinner about the immigration of people from all over the world. Feature dishes and decor from any region you think would be interesting. Choose areas of the world that are unknown to you, or celebrate your own heritage, or share a dish you enjoyed from your travels. Have fun with the variety that a themed event can provide. But, don’t stop there. How would you like to host a beach party for Christmas? Or a picnic for Thanksgiving? Or a traveling meal, going between a few houses instead of one person responsible for the entire meal? The brainstorming session is all about throwing ideas on the table for everyone to consider. Let your thoughts run wild and have fun with this new experience.
If this new tradition doesn’t cut it, then you just brainstorm a new one for the following year. You aren’t pigeon holed into the same old routine any longer.
You Don’t Have To Do It Again
Now that you are excited about brainstorming new ideas, it’s time to remind everyone that even THIS new tradition doesn’t have to be a tradition. Next year you may forget the theme and just have hot sandwiches and movies. The following year maybe you will host a Christmas breakfast instead of dinner. Nothing is written in stone – even traditions. We’ve had years of Christmas just being soup and sandwiches, movies and jammies all day when we weren’t going to have family over.
The idea is that if you have the privilege of hosting a holiday gathering for your family and friends, then you have the say about exactly what sort of event it will be. Are you going to tote out Grandma’s celery seed biscuits again, and throw them all out again, or are you going to get creative?
You don’t have to stick to traditions when they don’t workout for your budget. And when you try new traditions, you don’t have to do it again. Don’t let traditions dictate your budget. Find a way to break free and enjoy what’s really important – spending time with people you love and having some fun!
Never worry about what's for dinner again. I've got you covered with the meal plans in the Once a Week Cooking Club. Cook once, eat all week.
Please be aware that some links used are to affiliates. They are almost always to products I use and love.