Every year, in place of buying gifts for one another, we take a family vacation for Christmas. This year was an exception. The year got away from us. With no extra funds set aside for travel, we decided to spend time together at home. To compensate for not traveling, we exchanged gifts with one another. We made many of the gifts, but we still felt like we needed to buy everybody something. This was way more work than we remembered. Spending money in such a short window of time for so many people, and not knowing if it is something they would like, need or want --is stressful.
It was joyful being together and has been a very laid-back week. But we all agreed that from now on: 1) each Christmas, we will start planning for the next year's trip. When everyone is together, it is easier to negotiate the dates and destination selection. 2) We will budget a savings plan for the trip that stretches over a 12-month period. The ultimate gift you can give yourself is to pay for a trip out of savings vs. on credit. 3) We will go back to drawing names for a Secret Santa, with a dollar amount cap on spending.
We all agreed that in the future, if we feel tight on time or funds, we will find a way to at least take an overnight trip as a family. We didn't appreciate how much we enjoyed our Christmas vacations until deciding to not do it this year. What a great way to help us all gauge the value we find in the investment.
Hope all is joyful where you are at this holiday.