The holidays are not quite over, but we’re getting close. Now is exactly the right time to take a look at how your holidays have unfolded financially. (You can keep track of other stuff, too; I recommend it.) I keep a Christmas binder, with receipts and lists and addresses and recipes. I also put notes after the season is over, reminding me of things that I should remember.
What sort of things would you put in your After Action Report? How much you spent on every category and gift, whether you think that it was the right amount, ideas for how you could save, etc. Rebates, gift cards, and returns. Your general thoughts on the holidays: for example, I always discover when the gifts are wrapped that it seems like we have WWAAYY too much (thank you, generous grandparents.) Also, it is nice to remember how many fresh green beans fed how many people, and any items that you forgot to buy.
Looking back can be a useful part of analyzing any situation, and the holidays are no different. Whether you are trying to remember where each decoration goes or how long it actually takes for a package to get from Italy to Kansas, notes are your friend. Use them to make next year less stressful, less expensive, and more rewarding.