If you could do anything to celebrate the holidays regardless of tradition, what would you do? Holiday spending was down last year and it is expected to be down again this year.
It seems Americans have found more frugal ways to celebrate as the recession brought liberation from excessive shopping and over indulgence in food and alcohol. Unemployed families with maxed out credit are being creative when it comes to the holidays so that everyone can still enjoy the holiday season. Here are some modern new traditions:
1. Volunteering at Charitable Organizations
The recession has created a lot more need for food and shelter through charitable organizations. Many would appreciate the extra help from volunteers to serve food, distribute clothing and toiletries or use your talents to entertain the homeless at mass holiday dinners served in various cities. Investigate organizations in your area and take the whole family for a day of giving back.
2. Home Work Days
With a group of friends and relatives, take turns going to each other's houses to complete a home improvement project. It takes a less time to paint a room or clean the garage if multiple people are helping out. The host family can offer refreshments. Make a list of all the little things you've been meaning to do like dusting the ceiling fan or replacing a screen.
3. Go Trick-or-Treating
Recruit your neighbors to each make a dish. Each family then goes door to door to taste a sample. When it's your turn, give out a small sample along with a recipe card. (Don't let your pocketbook become the focus this season. Get some great tips in Holiday Spending Or Spending Holiday?)
4. Adventure Getaways
Winter is the perfect time to travel to cold weather climates, because no one else will be there. Seek out a cottage in the mountains or go ice fishing. You may find discounted pricing and you will most certainly find quiet and solitude which will allow you to reconnect with your family.
5. Internet Parties
For all of your out-of-town friends and relatives, send them a web cam just before the holidays. Include Grandma by recruiting a tech savvy friend or relative to help her set it up. Chat with each person using an internet service such as Skype.
6. E-Greeting Cards
Forget sending the paper greeting cards where you have to buy stamps, address each one and stick a return address label on. Just send e-cards. You probably already have e-mail distribution lists created. (Find out how to avoid six of the worst vender ploys this holiday shopping season in Sneaky Strategies That Fuel Overspending.)
7. Host a Birthday Party
Since Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth date of Jesus Christ, include a birthday cake, party favors and decorations.
8. Move Your Feet
Instead of eating too much then lazing around on the sofa all day, plan a charity fundraising walk or run. There may already be an event in your area. If not, pick your favorite charity and challenge your friends to solicit donations. Present collected funds to the organization with a list of the names of participants.
9. Plant a Tree
Make the world a better place by planting a new tree instead of cutting one down. Visit the local garden store or check online to find a tree farm in your area. (Use these tips for a bountiful Yuletide on a Scrooge-like budget. Check out Avoid Overspending This Holiday Season.)
Make this holiday season the most memorable by making it the most different. Use your imagination to design a holiday customized to your family's wishes.