My Take on Christmas/Holidays: Travel & Financial

Being the frugal person that I am I always try my best to minimize my expenses around the holidays. I do this partially by continuing my tradition of traveling to a less expensive country overseas. For the Christmas holiday I visit family. This can get expensive as holiday travel always comes with higher prices.

Most years I drive back home for Christmas. The airfares are usually too high so even though I have to buy 3 tanks of gas I still come out way ahead. It also makes it easier to transport gifts. I like having my car for getting around back home (a small town). I always check airfares for great deals but they tend to be rare. They were all too high for me this year so I am driving!

For gifts I make it a point to get something practical that I know the recipient will use. Nothing is worse than getting "more junk" that you have to sell or donate (or worse more clutter). I really dislike when others buy me clothes as they are rarely what I want. I find that about 90% of the clothes that are gifted to me get donated with the tags still on. This is why I give practical gifts. I believe if it is just going to sit on the shelf it can do that just fine at the store without me having to buy it!

Over the years I have greatly reduced the gifts that I give. I make it clear to almost everyone that I do not buy gifts and expect none in return. December is usually a rough financial month for me and this is how I combat it. I offer to do dinner or drinks instead of gifts as I enjoy the time with the person more. This also is part of my anti-consumerist streak showing. We don't have to exchange gifts to prove we are friends.

I normally am happy once December 26 comes around. The shopping headaches are over, I can visit with family and friends without stress, and I can look forward to the new year. I admit that Christmas is one of my least favorite holidays and to me is another financial battle to get through. I have to remind myself that it is about family and friends and not money. This is difficult as money seems to fly out of my hand at the same time. Traditions can be expensive!