Reducing Holiday Stress, Expenses

The holidays are stressful enough with juggling time off and travel, and the cost of putting on Thanksgiving or Christmas only adds to the anxiety.

We're inundated with holiday ads portraying a Norman Rockwell holiday season, but for many of us it's nearly impossible to live up to.

"What's important is spending time with somebody you care about, maybe there's a service element to your holiday tradition," says Emma Johnson, author of The Kickass Single Mom.  "But be really explicit and intentional about that with your children because that's the best model you can give them and that's the best holiday gift."

That way the holidays don't have to be a drain on your pocket book.

"Instead of it only being about saving money for gift buying, maybe build in some experiences you want to have with your family, ways of giving back or creating new traditions that are not so contingent on spending."

Johnson suggests only working within your budget; don't stretch yourself thin just to keep up with the Joneses.

"We started having a tree trimming party at my apartment and I make a big pot of chili, which is sentimental to me from my Midwestern childhood, people bring wine and dessert so it's not a big financial expense for me and my kids love it," says Johnson.

"They remember that year-after-year and I can guarantee they don't remember what they got last year for Christmas gifts."

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