Holiday DecorIt’s hard to imagine that the holiday season is only several weeks away, but its decent is becoming ever more present every passing day.  As we experience a change in weather and welcome the fall, you’re starting to prepare for your upcoming holiday season.  So before you start checking off things you’ve accomplished on your tedious “to do” list, let me give you a gentle reminder of the three mistakes to avoid before Christmas finally arrives.

Excessive Spending

In years passed, you’ve been successful in getting all the Christmas gifts and holiday décor you desired, but at an extremely unnecessary high price.  Instead of making the same mistakes this year, avoid overspending by taking advantage on the following:

  • Budget: The best way to avoid overspending during the holidays is to set a reasonable and realistic budget you can work with.  Spending more money on things that you can’t afford will definitely hurt your finances in the long run.  Therefore, it is best to check your balances, calculate how much you can afford to spend, and stick to this budget.
  • Shop Early: Don’t wait to start shopping for your gifts a few weeks before Christmas.  Take advantage of holiday deals and promotions, or stretch your strict budget by shopping throughout the year.  You’ll optimize on great sales and find great bargains.
  • Research the Market: Depending on your choice of shopping, be it online or in-stores, make sure that you are purchasing the item of your choice at the lowest price possible.  Shopping around for the best deals will help you stay within your budget and prevent you from overspending. Research online stores where you can purchase both gifts and Christmas decorations to save more and spend less.
  • Don’t Charge It: To avoid interest rates and debt, do not charge your Christmas gifts to your credit card.  Avoid spending the first few days of your New Year paying off your debts that you spent during the holiday season overspending.

I understand the need and desire to find and purchase the perfect gifts for Christmas, but excessive spending during the holidays is unnecessary.  Therefore, it is imperative that stay: practical, meticulous, and smart.

Excessive Consumption

The second, most common, mistake made during the holiday season is overeating or overdrinking.  Americans gain an average of four to five pounds during from November to January. Although it is true that Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime time for celebrating, enjoying festivities, and holiday cooking, the amount of seasonal overindulgence is at its highest then.  Unless you’ve factored spending your money on parties and drinks into your holiday budget, excessive celebratory festivities can greatly affect your finances, if not your safety and health.  Do not fall prey to reckless drinking and driving, but especially do not operate a car after you’ve consumed alcohol. Be mindful of what you consume, and do not fall into temptation of munching or guzzling too much! Stay moderate and classy.

Excessive Expectations

It is important to remember that everyone’s approach to celebrating the Holidays is different.  How you prepare, how you shop, and how much you spend on others is an act unique and individualized to you, and you alone.  Not everyone can afford mountains of lavished, luxurious, and extravagant gifts, but for some reason everyone expects to find such a description beneath their tree waiting for them on Christmas morning.  The third, most important, mistakes made during the holiday season are the excessive and high expectations.

Once recognized as the season of giving and spending quality time with loved ones, it is unfortunate that the high levels of expectations have tainted this season’s essence.  The excessive expectations have turned this season into being based on how much you receive in gifts.

To avoid making this common and frequent mistake during the holidays, it is required that you focus your mind on what you do and give instead rather than what you might receive.  Instead of expecting great things, try to become actively engaged in the festive spirit.  Do not let yourself be fixated on the material possessions of Christmas gifts and gadgets, but rather appreciate what you already have.  Do not allow yourself to be sucked into the false hope that society has instilled upon your mind about Christmas, but try to help and fulfill the dreams of someone else.  Give back to others as much as possible to remember and remind yourself what the true holiday season is really about.

With Christmas just around the corner, you are preparing for the unexpected chaos that may incur.  However, as you start crossing off and completing items on your “to do” list keep in mind what to avoid.  No matter how grand the festivity, do not fall victim to the excessive behaviors and mistakes that occur prior to, as well as throughout, the holiday season.  Appreciate your luxuries as they are now, and accept rather than expect.  Avoid, at all cost, negativity.  Embrace and surround yourself with the people you love, and remember to celebrate this upcoming holiday season in unity.