Monday, December 5, 2016

What's On Your Christmas Wish List

With the countdown until Christmas underway, do you feel less excited about the holidays than in recent years?  I know I sure have.  Is it a sign of getting old and crotchety?  Lord I hope not!  In fact, I think more than anything, as we age we realize life is fleeting and tomorrow is not guaranteed which is why today is called a gift.  Combine that with the overload of commercialism, me me me mentality and genuine ‘Merica syndrome I’m the first to tap out of this race.  Does this mean my children will wake up on Christmas morning to an empty tree where others may have a sea of gifts delivered by Santa the night before?  No, however, the money I could’ve spent on things that wear out, get returned or plain, just break has now been redirected in a different direction.  It’s the gift of travel.

The gift of travel always fits, is always the right color and never goes out of style or needs to be returned.  Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles can jump on the bandwagon and give complementing gifts that would enhance the vacation such as tours, excursions, swimsuits, hiking boots, Disney gift cards and more, depending on the location of the trip.  With wifi being readily available throughout most of the world, staying connected shouldn’t be an issue.  So if you need to check in with the rellies or even facebook live parts of your trip you can do so easily.  My Grandma always had a thing for wanting to know her gift was appreciated and more importantly, used.  So taking some pictures of you and your kids wearing the boots hiking the mountains of Peru or the swimsuit snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados or even videoing through your GoPro your ziplining adventures in Costa Rica, Grandma is sure to see the gift being used but the excitement and smiles will far outweigh the utility of the gift and that’s all that really matters to her.

Sure this type of gift will be more expensive than the latest video game, a pellet gun or even the newest toy that talks and burps but hands down, it will be the most valuable, memorable and enjoyed gift ever!  My kids still talk about the time they got to go to Jamaica for the first time, or when they learned to scuba dive, swam with JoJo the dolphin in Turks and even when they went ziplining at Mystic Mountain and saw spiders as big as their face!  Ok, well, maybe not that big but hey, I hate spiders so I may have exaggerated just a bit.  Don’t judge me!

There are many ways to save for this gift.  I detailed how to save over $30,000 on your next vacation in another blog, but here are just a few more simple tweaks to your daily life that will allow you to afford your next big purchase (vacation anyone?) a little easier:
  1. Stop with your daily latte.  Here alone you will save $5/day
  2. Brown bag it and you will save time, money AND extra calories
  3. Carpool
  4. Use coupons
  5. Ask about discounts (returning guest, military, etc)
  6. Plan ahead and book early
  7. Sign up with a credit card that gives travel perks or cash back

At the end of your life, it’s not the things we bought that was precious but the time spent with one's we love.  Nobody on their deathbed ever says I wish I would’ve given more gifts, instead they always want more time together.  Since we don’t know when our time on earth is done and we can’t take our money with us, seize each moment to spend the most quality time with the ones you love.  For many, doing it away from the daily distractions on a cruise, a beach or simply in a different destination is what fits the best!  


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