Family Financial Planning: Budgeting for the Holidays

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Welcome to my Wednesday Education (financial) B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog where I am opening up a conversation around family finances and strategies to discuss money in each household. My family never talked about money, we only had one semester of personal finance in high school, and so we all had to find out about money the difficult way. I am here to change our money mindset so that our kids can learn how to manage money that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Each week on Wednesdays, I will be giving pointers on how families can start talking about money. This first Wednesday of November I will give tips on how families can budget for the upcoming holidays.

Budgeting for the Holidays

During the USA winter holiday season, families get caught up in school, work, sports, holiday activities such as parties and shopping, and the monthly spending can get a little (or a lot) off track. Planning and being prepared for the holiday fun and chaos can really help relieve the anxiety and stress that can follow this time of year. Making visible calendars, connecting through digital calendars, or even the friendly sticky note reminders can help everyone in the family stay on track with holiday time and money (both valuable resources we like to conserve and spend in the best ways possible). Below are some possible upcoming holidays, school days off, and holiday sales to be aware of and mark on your calendars. 

November Holidays, School Days Off, & Holiday Shopping Sales

  • November School Conferences (dates vary, depends on school/district)
  • November 1, 2021 All Saints Day 
  • November 2, 2021 All Souls Day
  • November 4-9, 2021 Diwali Festival of Lights (lasts 5 days)
  • November 11, 2021 Veteran’s Day (no school)
  • November 22-26 (some schools/districts observe Thanksgiving Week off)
  • November 25, 2021 Thanksgiving (no school)
  • November 26, 2021 Black Friday Shopping (no school)
  • November 27, 2021 Small Business Saturday
  • November 28, 2021 Hanukkah begins
  • November 29, 2021 Cyber Monday

December Holidays, School Days Off, & Holiday Shopping Sales

  • December 6, 2021 Hanukkah ends
  • December 17, 2021 (last day of school year for most schools)
  • December 23, 2021 (newly observed “Christmas Adam”)
  • December 24, 2021 (observed as “Christmas Eve”)
  • December 25, 2021 Christmas Day
  • December 26, 2021 Kwanzaa begins & Day After Christmas Sales
  • December 31, 2021 New Year’s Eve
  • January 1, 2022 New Year’s Day Observed & Kwanzaa ends, New Years Sales

What to Plan for the Holidays

All families will celebrate this time of year differently with the mixture of multiple cultures, religions, and groups of people observing various holidays this winter season. 

  • Talk with your family about holiday traditions and plan accordingly (food, gifts, decor, etc.). Maybe start some new holiday traditions. 
  • Discuss how your family can help other families in need during this time of year
  • Make sure to have open lines of communication with everyone
  • Mark dates, times, locations on calendars for all to see
  • Take some time for self care (see my Self-care Sunday’s blog)

What to Plan for the School Days Off

We all know what it’s like for kids to be home from school unexpectedly. Why not plan what to do with expected days off from school? Below is a list of ideas to try out on days off:

  • Visit a local, city, state, or National Park (see my travel blog)
  • Create something new
  • Show someone kindness
  • Explore your nearby surroundings to find things you have never noticed before
  • Do something active 
  • Meet someone you don’t know
  • Learn a new game
  • Read a book
  • Try a unique cuisine
  • Write a poem

What to Plan for the Holiday Sales

Make a list, check it twice! Those holiday sales don’t always play nice. Every year at this time is when I create my vision board with all the things I (and my family) want to manifest. I print out a picture and post it up for us to see every day. 

  • The vision board serves many purposes, but for this time of year it is great for planning good deals on gifts for your family, friends, and yourself! 
  • This really helps with budgeting for gifts. Make a list of the gifts you want to purchase and then write the best date to obtain those items. 
  • This way you can save ahead, find coupons, and pick the best days and times you can save money during holiday sales.
  • You also don’t risk spending too much or buying things you don’t want or need. 
  • If you miss the deal this year, keep up the same item or replace with new want.


Holidays do not have to be stressful and families can come together to discuss traditions, food, gifts, and budgeting skills to better enhance the experiences during the Winter season. Check back here on Education Wednesday’s for more family financial planning strategies. Best of luck on building your family finances!

Thank you for reading,

Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.

About the Author

Dr. Brainerd

Hello, I am Dr. Jaime Brainerd Ed.D., a lifelong learner, beauty consultant, author, financial specialist, artist, traveler, health enthusiast, and self care advocate. Please follow my website for my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blogs.

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