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Holiday Gatherings: The Ideal Time for Family Financial Planning


How to Host Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

November 19, 2023

The holidays can be financially straining, but they don't have to be. As the holiday season approaches, it's not just about the festive cheer and gathering with loved ones. It's also an opportune time to engage in meaningful discussions around family finances, future vacation trips, and setting goals for the coming year. Here's how you can make the most of this holiday season to set your family up for financial success and peace of mind.

1. Organizing a Budget-Friendly Secret Santa
  • Implement a Secret Santa gift exchange on a budget to manage holiday spending. Set a reasonable budget per person, ideally between $100-$150.
  • Utilize online platforms like www.drawnames.com or www.secretsantaorganizer.com to effortlessly organize your family's gift exchange.
    • In my experience, using DrawNames has been a game-changer, especially in ensuring we set name drawing parameters for each participant, while keeping the entire process fun and random. These tools help set spending limits and maintain the element of surprise, crucial for a memorable Secret Santa experience.
  • Discuss this budget early to avoid typical holiday overspending. Encourage practical, meaningful gifts within the budget to avoid unnecessary expenses.
2. Planning Next Year's Family Travels
  • Agree on the dates, destination, and budget. Transparency is key to avoiding any surprises. Discuss who will be responsible for various expenses to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Start planning early, especially for activities like skiing, guided tours, or boat trips. Early planning can also help snag the best deals on hotels and flights, making your family trip more affordable.
3. Setting Financial Goals for the New Year
  • Gather around the fireplace with some hot cocoa and share your financial aspirations for the upcoming year. Just as we enjoy the thrill of Secret Santa, let's also find joy in setting and achieving our financial goals.
  • Each family member can set a personal goal, whether it's saving for a special vacation, paying off a particular debt, or beginning a new investment venture.
  • Collaboratively create a 'family financial vision board' to visually represent these goals, making the process engaging and memorable.

The holidays are more than just festive celebrations; they're a strategic opportunity to align on family financial matters. From budget-friendly gift exchanges to planning future travels and setting financial goals for the new year, these discussions can set the stage for a financially secure and well-prepared new year. This holiday season start with one small, achievable goal, like setting up a family savings account. Share tips that have worked for you and explore resources that can help.

Take the initiative to implement one of these strategies and watch as your family's financial health grows stronger with each holiday season.


The Rise of Experiences over Gifts

About the author

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Brandon Hayes

Managing Director, Private CFO®

In 2011 Brandon opted to forego a long-term career in corporate America to join oXYGen Financial because he was impressed by the vision of creating a premier independent financial services firm, which strives to provide unbiased advice to the X & Y Generations.

A native of Westlake, Ohio, Brandon currently lives in Atlanta with his wife Aly, daughter Maryn, son Turner, and their black lab Pepper. He's the youngest of three children and played soccer through college at Elon University. He's an avid runner and enjoys cheering for Cleveland sports teams despite some pretty rough years.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and MBA from Georgia State University in Entrepreneurship. Brandon holds his Series 7 (General Securities Representative), 63, Series 65 (Investment Advisors Law) and Georgia Life, Health and Variable Insurance licenses.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

Background and qualification information is available at FINRA's BrokerCheck website.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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