Benchmarking the Holidays

Pumpkin spice is in the air (and has been since September 6th). While that means different things to different people, it signals the holiday season for me. Thanksgiving, parties, cookies, and holiday cheer! If you’re not careful, there’s weight to be gained. Despite all of the temptation and opportunity for over consumption, the reality is that, on average, Americans gain just over a pound during the holidays1.

In terms of retail consumption, according to Gallup, adults will spend $785 on holiday gifts this year. With that as the benchmark, will you come in above or below? With 51 shopping days left before Christmas, I’d encourage you to make that decision now. Ask yourself, “How much will I (or our family) spend on gifts this year?”

Take it one step further. How much will you spend eating out and on other holiday related activities? Here are some helpful tips from Investopedia if you’re inclined to pinch pennies this year:

  1. Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending
  2. Make Your Own “Naughty” or “Nice” Lists
  3. Budget Based on Your Own Finances
  4. Become a Coupon and Coupon Code Collector
  5. Give Your Time
  6. Give Yourself a Better Spending Habit
  7. Give Personalized Gifts Instead of Expensive Gifts
  8. Organize Group Volunteering Instead of Holiday Parties

This is my favorite part of the year because of time spent with family and the opportunity for introspection. It’s a time to reinforce how grateful I am for what I have. One of my favorite traditions is going to the mall to get a Christmas Angel. If you’re not familiar with this program put on by the Salvation Army, donors purchase a paper “Angel” to put on a tree that represents a gift for a child or family in need. This is a poignant exercise for anyone or families, particularly if you have children, to reinforce perspective and instill gratitude, as well as promote charitable giving.


Have a safe and happy Holiday Season!

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