Whether family income is $25,000 or $2,500,000, it is possible to fashion more meaning, purpose and fun in holiday celebrations. So this year be intentional about what you want to accomplish and find ways to involve your whole family, or work team. Here are a few things I’ve found important to keep in mind:

People Who Spend Money To Do Things Feel Happier Than Those Who Spend Money To Buy Things

Think about what you might do this year as a family. Listen to each person and decide on something that would be good for everyone. You might try an immersion program to learn a new language, cooking lessons, a play in New York, or a sports event.

Give Others an Experience

You can also create a cost-free experience by serving food at a homeless shelter, inviting a person in need to a holiday meal, or helping at a local animal shelter. These and many other activities create memories that last.

Share with Others

Giving to others is both a responsibility and a pleasure. Involve your children in your philanthropy by communicating what you do, “I’m going to donate money this year to support things I care about. Usually I give money to _________, _______, and _______. This year I’d like to hear where you think a donation would do the most good.

Children can get a quiet lesson in limited means, can help look for what actually works, and learn that certain organizations only exist because people give support, etc. Find a place they can donate their less used toys and electronics-
and give them the personal joy that comes with giving.

Bring it to Your Workplace

If your workplace holiday party is getting stale or too rowdy, create a different atmosphere-Invite families, bring in some simple entertainment, invite a few non-profits to join you and present gifts from you and your employees, together wrap small presents for a nursing home or hospital to give out.

Holiday traditions were created over the years by families and communities doing things that felt meaningful and fun. And each generation has a responsibility to bring fresh energy and renewed awareness to the celebration. What might you do differently this year?

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I also discussed this topic in the most recent episode of my monthly cable TV show, Shrink Rap. Click this link to watch it: http://cvp.telvue.com/player?id=T01497&video=176034