With the holiday season quickly approaching, how will the current global pandemic affect the most wonderful time of the year? This holiday season likely won’t look like past years, and that means it’s a good time to adjust your expectations and plans.
While having fewer holiday trips and large gatherings is certainly upsetting, it can also be an opportunity for greater savings. Holiday expenses are notoriously high for most Aussies, but you don’t have to spend a lot to have a great time with those you love the most.
This call for less spending is much-needed, especially since so many have lost their jobs or wages as a result of this pandemic. So how can you prepare for the holiday season in times of COVID-19 and beyond?
Changing to This Year’s Holiday Season
This year’s holiday season is likely not going to look the same as holidays of the past. Previously, it was common for families to travel for reunions, holiday trips, and family gatherings. It was also common to attend large community events and spend endless hours roaming big shopping centres.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are new restrictions on:
- Domestic and international travel
- Retailer capacity
- Community and city events
- Large gatherings
In general, more people are staying close to home this holiday season. They’re also less likely to hold large family events for Christmas or other holidays. The shopping centres won’t see quite as many large crowds flocking to sales, and there will be an overall mindset shift for how to spend money and time during this time of the year.
It’s important to prioritise your health and safety this holiday season. It’s also important to protect your savings and income, especially if you’re one of the many experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
How to Protect Your Family and Finances This Year
How can you ensure you’re taking precautions without compromising on holiday fun? Luckily, a bit of creativity will go a long way. Just because you’ll be spending less and staying home doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the best parts of the holiday season.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for protecting your family and your finances during these upcoming holidays:
- Virtual gatherings – Since you can’t gather in-person, skip the expensive travel and host a virtual gathering instead. Zoom and Skype make it easy to feel “together” no matter where you are, and it’s free to host a call.
- White elephant – Instead of more elebatorate, expensive forms of gift-giving this holiday season, hold a white elephant exchange or Secret Santa exchange. This allows everyone to do a bit of shopping without the huge price tag.
- DIY decor – To avoid going out to the shops or overspending on decorations, create decorations at home. This is a fun family activity everyone can get involved in.
- Smaller feast – While a Christmas feast is an important part of the holiday, you can find a lot of great savings on food to make a smaller feast just for close friends and family.
- Bring your own food – If you’re holding a local gathering, have guests bring their own foods, drinks, and snacks to keep everyone safe and save money.
- Start saving in advance – To avoid the pre-holiday spending rush, start saving in advance to make sure you’re prepared for gift giving and other events.
- Free fun – Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of free fun like holiday movies, games, and spending time with the ones you love. We might not have the same community events this year, but we can still celebrate in small ways.
It’s important to determine for your own family what you’re comfortable with this holiday season. With so many people losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, don’t feel pressured to go all-out on decorations, gifts, and celebrations this year.
The true spirit of this holiday time has always been about being with the ones you love, and that doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Your safety and your financial future are more important than taking unnecessary risks.
Sending Safe Seasons Greetings
Holiday celebrations are an important reminder of the value of our health, relationships, and families. With the holiday months almost here, now is the time to start your preparations. If you want to enjoy a safe and financially responsible season, make sure you know what to expect from the start.
The most important thing to remember is that your family’s safety and future comes first. The pandemic has impacted everyone all over the world, so don’t worry about falling into line with traditions of the past. This is an unprecedented time, and it’s okay to start new or modified traditions to adapt to this new reality.
If you’re worried about your holiday spending or savings plan, talk to the experts at Debt Busters today on 1300 368 322. We have over 15 years of experience helping Australians through every stage of life, and we’re here to help you no matter your situation.