101 Days to Go! Are You Ready?

101 days doesn’t seem like too far away, but when you say “Christmas,” many probably think, “Oh, that isn’t for another three months or so.”  With school activities and events, jobs, fall festivals, and Thanksgiving to worry about, most aren’t thinking about Christmas just yet.  If you are like me, you probably wait to do your shopping until the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I am an organizing, planning nut (to the point of ad nauseam at times), but I can’t seem to get the planning of Christmas together.

Even though Christmas is an annual event, many aren’t prepared year after year and resort to bringing out the credit card to pay for last minute purchases.  My Grandmother, however, was different.  She used the Christmas Club savings program at her financial institution every year and was both delighted and excited that she was clever enough to use such a handy tool.  Too bad her granddaughter, that would be me, didn’t learn how to use such a program.  Surprisingly, many teens are big spenders during the Christmas season.  My teenage daughter brought that to my attention this week; hence this blog article.

Naturally, I had to check out the statistics regarding teen spending during the Christmas season.  Surprisingly, it was difficult to find any information.  I did find many sites reporting that the average family spends approximately $800 on Christmas gifts.  That didn’t include décor, food, entertainment, travel, etc.

September is a good month to help tweens and teens rethink Christmas planning and spending.  A side benefit is that it will help parents, too.  When helping your kids learn to create a budget, help them calculate a dollar amount that they would like to spend for all things Christmas-season-related.  Then, break that down into a monthly savings amount.  Since we are already into September and the Christmas season is right around the corner, having them budget money to set aside now is a bit counterproductive, so have them start in January.  But, what about this season?

My daughter is already shopping and making her plans, which has prompted me to get started, too.  Remember, this isn’t my norm.  With her input, we have decided to go the “making a gift” for others route for most gifts this year.  Now that we have Pinterest, DIY sites, our options can really be expanded and we don’t have to rely so much on our ingenuity to come up with ideas.  Gifts we can make are crochet items, paintings, drawings, candle-making; the list is endless really.  However, making gifts doesn’t happen in the last week before Christmas day.  It takes planning.

Now is the time to get started.  Or, as my daughter has said, “We should have started in June.”  Yep, that would have been better, but it’s difficult to think about Christmas in June when we just want to be outside having fun.

While you get started on this season, take time to ponder about working with your tweens and teens on saving each month for the 2017 season.  Some financial institutions, but not as many these days, still offer a Christmas or Holiday Savings Club account, but they don’t usually advertise them.  You will need to ask.  Check with both banks and credit unions.  If you shop around, you will find that some offer a higher return than others.  Club accounts are also used for vacations and other types of purchases. 

Best wishes on your Christmas planning this season!