Holiday Lifestyle * Money Matters

7 Ways to infuse deeper meaning into holiday traditions

Many people argue that the holidays have become too commercial and materialistic. After all, you often see holiday decorations and advertisements as early as October. While everyone purchases gifts, attends parties and sends out cards, deeper sentiments are often lost in the shuffle.

This year, make an effort to slow down and create some thought-provoking traditions that can be passed down the generations. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make decorating a family affair. Purchase a family ornament or decoration annually. It will represent the milestones that you've accomplished during the year. Have the kids help with decorating, and point out any sentimental family heirlooms. It will help youngsters attain a deeper respect for these items.

2. Shop for meaningful gifts. Give a gift that suits the recipient's interests. If she is a budding baker, create a gift basket filled with cooking utensils. If he is an avid fisherman, gather up lures, weights and other appropriate accessories. It's not about how much you've spent, but rather that you understand what the person can really use and appreciate.

3. Help out others. Volunteer your time at a senior center or children's home. Brightening someone's day during the holidays may encourage you to make it a year-round activity.

4. Learn about other religions. Take the opportunity to share in the celebrations of friends or family who practice other faiths. Discover what traditions they employ and see if you can incorporate some of them into your holiday celebrations.

5. Decorate sparingly. Don't frivolously spend your money on over-the-top decorations. With a little ingenuity, you can create wonderful decorations for a fraction of the cost. Put those saved dollars toward a better and more meaningful use.

6. Practice patience and tolerance. The holidays are a busy time. Traffic jams and pedestrian overflow may make your commute or trip to the store more stressful than usual. Malls will be jammed and cashier lines will be endless. Stay focused and patient rather than taking it out on those around you. It's not worth getting upset over something so insignificant.

7. Make gift-giving the secondary focus of your holidays. Stress the importance of family togetherness, faith and the true meaning behind each holiday


About the Author