Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the solstice, the holiday season can be stressful—with financial stress often playing a large role.

Figure out what makes the holidays special for you and your family and allocate most of your spending to those things. Maybe there are other, less important things you can scale back or skip.

For instance, if you love hosting a lavish holiday dinner but are ho-hum about festive holiday clothing, don’t buy that new outfit. Budget more for your dinner instead. The key is to set priorities and identify the important things.

And remember that handmade or homemade goodies, charitable gifts, or the gift of time can mean much more to recipients than presents.

Here are some ideas:

  • Give loved ones a framed photograph of a place or event that is special to both of you.
  • Make a charitable contribution in someone else’s name to a fund that person believes in. Mid Oregon Credit Union’s “Holiday Dough”is a great opportunity to help those who need food, clothing, or shelter, and  100% of the cash collected will go to support local organizations that do good things for people during the holidays. You need not be a Mid Oregon member to contribute. To learn more, visit People Helping People: The Holiday Dough Fund
  • Offer to help with a project around the house, take a friend to lunch, or just go for a walk together.
  • Give baked goods or pre-made dinners to family or friends.
  • Offer to pet sit or babysit free of charge.

The holidays tend to bring people together. “So if you have a bad relationship it’s a great gift to mend it and make amends,” says Rob Severson, a financing coach in Deephaven, Minn. “You’ll be a lot happier if you don’t wait and it will probably mean a lot more than a box of candy.”

The holidays are all about giving, so think about next year. Having a planned spending plan will certainly help lessen the stress and help you focus on what’s really important. With Mid Oregon’s Saver’s Club, you can conveniently set money aside with automatic deposits from your account. Visit a branch, or call (541) 382-1795.