I am out walking my dogs in my neighborhood the week after HALLOWEEN and could not believe my eyes! Christmas decorations were already up throughout the neighborhood!  Christmas?  It is barely November!  Not soon after, the Christmas music started on my local radio stations...really?? I have to listen to this for the next 8 weeks? Thinking about the approaching holidays when you are trying to climb out of debt is stressful enough. This year everyone seems to be pushing them up a few weeks earlier, which is enough to make you want to hide until it is all over. Facing down the holidays when you are in debt is scary stuff. Talk about the holiday blues! 

I would love to hear some advice about going back to family traditions for the holidays.  Santa has already arrived at the mall and we haven't even had our turkey yet.  Remember Thanksgiving?  No gifts, just lots of eating!  Why isn't that everyone's favorite?  Each time I turn on the TV or go online I see information about "How to Save for Christmas", "What Can You Do to Save a Buck at the Holidays". What about something like "How to Not Lose Your Mind Before January 1st!" 

I think we all need to stop worrying about the gifts, and spend more time worrying about the family members that you haven't had time to connect with.  I would rather worry about figuring out how to fit more people around my dining room table for Christmas Eve dinner instead of how many extra generic gifts I have to come up with....just in case. I am just suggesting there are more meaningful ways to enjoy the holidays. Last year I took my nephews out for a day of fun. We went out to eat, then to a local kid's museum and then out for ice cream and had a blast. You know what?  Every time I see them they still talk about that day and all the fun things we did! I bet they don't remember what toy was under the tree that I got them - I don't even remember.  But I can guarantee it didn't come with as much thoughtfulness as that day we shared. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early in my family this year because we all happened to be at my parent's home for another event. As we went around the table saying what we were thankful for, my 6 year old niece said:  "I am thankful for everyone being here together and the fun memories we have made this weekend."  From the mouth of babes!  So, when you are listening to all the advice about which sales to go to and how to buy the best for less, remember, just relax. Instead of going with the retail pressures, think outside of the box and do something that makes those around you remember their 2009 holidays. Make it about the day not what was or wasn't sitting under the tree. Trust me that the memories you make will be more lasting and regarded with much more fondness than any snazzy sale item you find.