As the weather cools this time of year, it can only mean one thing – Thanksgiving is upon us. The tradition has been around the U.S. for centuries. A new major “holiday” that we celebrate now is BLACK FRIDAY. What used to be the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season has now backflowed into the Thursday night before. Many families build their Thanksgiving dinner plans around the scheduled openings of their favorite stores. Of course, retailers have made it much easier by offering great sale items online. This year, take the challenge of cooling it with crazy shopping habits.

Enjoy Your Dinner with Family and Friends

Over the years, I too have been caught up with Black Friday deals and great sale prices. I used to get up at four in the morning to buy those Christmas gifts to save a bundle of money. It was such a rush to be up early with the crowds! Now stores are opening earlier on Thanksgiving and/or are staying open all night. They make it so temping to go out and be a part of the crowds. However, do not give up your family time to save a little money. Spend time with them and be fully present to enjoy every holiday moment – the memories being made will be priceless. Be thankful for the blessings you have. Black Friday deals will still be around the next day and all Christmas season long.

Create a Budget and a Plan

You’ve probably heard me, over the past several weeks, saying that the holidays are coming. Choose a budget for your gift expenses now and stick to it. Similar to the saying “never grocery shop while you are hungry,” do not blindly shop for those special presents without a plan. Decide who you are buying for and how much you want to spend in total. Check out the deals online and scan those store ads. There are so many options of where to spend your gift dollars. Remember – you do not have to buy for everyone. There are other ways to show your love and appreciation this holiday season – cards, thank you emails, photos, family letters and homemade gift certificates. What you give should always come from the heart.

Black Friday Fun and Other Expenses

Make this end-of-the-year season a fun one, doing things differently than in the past. Black Friday can still be a part of your plan, but also consider checking out Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. Do not allow shopping to overtake other activities you’ve planned to do with friends and family. It’s also important that you budget for other seasonal expenses as well, like decorations, cards, postage, food and events. The better prepared you are financially, the less stress the holidays will cause. Thanksgiving and the end of the year should be a time of celebration. Enjoy your turkey and pass the cranberries!