It’s coming. That time of year where expectations are high, dollars are low, and panic sets in. Did I forget to get something for Aunt Betty? What size is James wearing now? Does Teagan even like Paw Patrol anymore? How many kids does your second cousin Lynne have again? Was my bank account always this low!? Phew, it’s a lot to remember! Thankfully, for every stress this season brings there is an equal or greater joy: seeing the kids faces when they get chocolate and candies in their stockings, laughing when someone opens a gag gift, getting to stage Santa and his reindeer’s foot prints and of course, getting to take that bite out of the cookies! While the preparation for the big day can cause you stress, Kastner Auctions wants you to remember all the happiness that goes hand-in-hand with the holidays, and to help you get through the worst of those stresses, we want you to keep a copy of Kastner’s Holiday Happiness Hints close by.
Hint #1: Like Santa.. Make a List & Check It Twice!
We know a lot goes into preparing for this one day, and we applaud anyone that manages to do it without taking down a to-do list; however, we FIRMLY believe in the magic of a well written (and executed) checklist. We’ve prepared a draft copy of a Christmas Checklist that you might find useful, feel free to add or take away tasks to best suite your families traditions:
- Delegate cooking responsibilities- there is no bigger joy sucking task then being the only one cooking the family meal on Christmas. And although some more culinary inclined folks might argue that cooking the dinner is their greatest joy, not everyone shares the sentiment. We recommend introducing a Pot-Luck style dinner this year. Whether you bring the bird, the ham, or just the cranberry sauce, your contribution will be much appreciated, and will leave more time to spend with loved ones instead of with the oven.
- Have everyone send in suggestions for the kids- Life is so busy it’s hard to keep in touch with what every kid in the family is into these days. To curb that fear start a family group chat, and everyone can submit a few suggestions of what their kids like to play with, what size they wear, and what allergies they might have.
- Plan your sleeping arrangements- Instead of making make-shift beds out of old bedding and couch cushions this year, plan ahead to know where every one will be sleeping. Call around to make sure there are enough beds, or air-mattresses to go around, and always, I mean ALWAYS have one or two as a spare!
Hint #2: Fill Up Your Santa Sack Early
There is truly no worse feeling then having to drive to the nearest convenience store looking for a last minute gift, card, or wrapping paper. I don’t want to bring you down here, but Josh really didn’t like the bag of Lay’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you got him from the 7-11 last year. Now in the same token, we totally understand that buying a ton of gifts all at the same time can be costly, so Kastner Auctions is prepared to curb that burden this year. This Sunday, December 1st Only you can get 20% Off your in-house buyers premium! Come in to grab bulk holiday gifts at a fraction of their retail value, plus find interesting and eclectic items that aren’t found in every shop around town! Surprise Josh this year with a signed photo of his favorite hockey player, a brand name watch, or even a new couch for his apartment! You’ll look like the big spender this year when you show everyone your haul, and we promise not to tell anyone how much you saved.
This being said, don’t let your family focus too much on gifts this season (more on this in Hint#3), teach them to appreciate the thought that goes into a present more than the money that it costs. Kastner Auctions believes in the value of homemade gifts, as they are something that you can treasure for a lifetime and even pass down to future generations. If you have the time, or don’t have the money, try making gifts this year. You can do homemade ornaments, knit a one-of-a-kind scarf, or even make a homemade bridge board out of driftwood! The possibilities are endless, and the gesture is priceless.
Hint #3 Make Christmas About Family
Let’s take a second to look past the material gains of the Holiday Season, and remember the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not about the price on the tag, its about the priceless-ness of the family time. It’s not about having the newest stuff, it’s about the making of new memories. Make sure to plan some time to build a snowman, play a game, or even have a food fight! (Well maybe a snowball fight would be better, but the choice is up to you). 10 years from now your family isn’t going to remember what you bought them, but they will remember the weird face you made when you laughed so hard milk came out your nose. Or that time you slipped on ice and landed face first into the snow.
Hint #4: Give A Little Joy This Holiday
This time of year everyone needs a hand, and whether you can do your part by donating a toy, a can of food, a pair of mitts, or even just your time at a local shelter, your effort goes a long way. There are a multitude of ways you can show a little love to your community for Christmas, and doing so with your kids is a valuable character building experience. We recommend heading over to Google to check out some local shelters, food banks, or hospitals and inquire about volunteering your time. As a rule of thumb, it never hurts to pay it forward.
Hint #5: Observe Traditions & Make New Ones!
Traditions are the foundations of memories, and we cannot stress the importance of them enough. Whether your tradition is to bake cookies with the kids, decorate the tree as a family, make a village of snowmen, or sing your favorite carols by the fire, you absolutely must make the time to observe these traditions. And at the same time, why not start to build new ones! We’ve compiled a list of fun activities for you to try this year, and maybe even every year from here on out:
- Secret Santa Christmas- This fun filled tradition is great for the family and wallet! Most people have heard of or participated in a Secret Santa at some point in time, the concept is simple. Typically this tradition is observed by the adults. Family members put names in a hat and one at a time pick the name of the person they will be buying for. On Christmas everyone sits close and watches the wrapping paper fly, and as a fun twist you can guess who the Secret Santa was! It is also a pretty good idea to set some monetary limits, you don’t want to spend $200.00 on your gift and only receive a $10.00 dollar store item. So check with the family and set a range that works for everyone.
- Track Santa- Did you know you can tell your kids EXACTLY where Santa is on Christmas Eve? It’s true! With the help of the friendly team over at Norad your entire family can watch just how quickly Jolly Old Saint Nick does his rounds, and plan the perfect time for everyone to hit the hay! (Remember, he sees you when your sleeping, he knows when your awake!) Want the link to check him out? Head over to the handy dandy Google and search up “Norad Santa Tracker”!
- White Elephant Christmas- For those of you who haven’t heard of this dollar saving take on Christmas, you’ve been missing out! A White Elephant Christmas is usually done with the adults in the family (We recommend anyone over 18 can participate). What happens is come Christmas day everyone brings a wrapped, unmarked gift. You can either draw names, or give out random numbers as your guests arrive. Now if you think this sounds a little like Secret Santa you’d be wrong, because White Elephant Christmas has an exciting twist! The first person to go gets to pick a gift, and everyone gets to watch them unwrap it. Now when the next person goes they can either pick an unwrapped gift to open, or steal from someone who has already opened a present! If your gift is stolen, then you get to pick another one to unwrap. Now a gift can only be stolen three times, and then it is safe. This fun twist on Christmas can be hilarious, but it can also bring out the worst in people, so to avoid any drama we suggest you set some rules for the gift purchasing aspect of the game. You can set a dollar range for gifts, such as $100.00 Minimum $150.00 Maximum, or whatever works for everyone’s budget. You can also say “No giftcards”, or “No Alcohol”, or even “Only Gag Gifts”, or whatever your family agrees on. Just make sure everyone remembers this is a game meant to bring laughter, not mean spirited competitiveness.
So folks, whether you call it Christmas, X-Mas, Happy HO-HO, or scheduled time off work, the holiday season means the same three things to everyone: stress, time, and money. But that isn’t what this time of year is all about! Despite the trend of gift-giving, and massive feasts, Christmas is really about family. So spend some time with yours this year, and use the Kastner’s Holiday Happiness Hints to have a Holly Jolly Christmas, and a Happy New Year!