Many people look forward to the holidays. twinkling lights, gingerbread, pumpkin bread, eggnog, and those beautiful X-Mas trees. Or maybe you prefer your latkes fried crisply and topped with applesauce or sour cream. And who can forget delicious sufganiyot or jelly doughnuts and the bright lights of the Menorah and spinning of the dreidel? Yes, these are the traditions that most identify when talking about the holidays. For others, traditions of overspending, guilt buying of presents, and stress put on by family members who don’t understand the ways of their special needs are more the norm. In this three part blog post, we will discuss how to deal with the different stressors of the holidays and how to create special family traditions. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of setting a budget, which may seem like a common sense idea, but most of the time common sensse goes out the window during the season of excess. One way of dealing with this tendency to overspend is to have a bottom line dollar in mind. Tell yourself that you are not going to blow the budget by even one dollar. After you have determined this budget, have your family members help you create a list of items that fall within their assigned dollar amounts. Have a variety of items on this list from which to choose and at a variety of price points. Then it is important to do your research. Determine which tech gadgets will best meet the needs of your family members. Children or older adults may not need tablets that have all of the latest and greatest gadgets. Are there stores that offer these items in greater quantity like Amazon or Apple? Are there stores that offer specials or discounts more frequently? Have you considered buying an older generation option or a refurbished model? Will it be a passing fad, or will the gift outlast the wrapping paper? It seems that some toys are just about as seasonal as the holidays themselves. Kids get tired of playing with them very quickly or they do not have enough features to keep drawing them back again and again. Also, some require endless accessories or features such as doll clothes or add-ons that require more than just a passing investment. Consider pooling resources. Chip in with grandparents, uncles, or other family members to make your dollar go farther. Think before you buy. If something is a costly investment, pass it up and think about it. You can always come back, but if you just buy it, then the chances that you will just spend less later are pretty great. Also, don’t forget the value of homemade gifts. They truly come from the heart and are a great way to get the whole family involved!! I also highly recommend adopting a family angel or helping out with a community service project. When kids learn about the act of charity they learn the importance of helping others and they are able to share in the true meaning of the season.