Thanksgiving is over, and we all know what that means; time to put the Christmas lights up.
I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. The pretty decorations, the Christmas cookies, the Christmas parades, and the nostalgic, whimsical feeling. It’s beautiful.
But the “hate” part of the relationship comes in when I start feeling the commercialism. The push to buy everything for everybody. The tantalizing displays at the store, designed to get our kids begging for the colorful toy inside, wearing us down until we finally get it.
It’s not pretty.
And if you’re in a place where you’re struggling to afford what you feel obligated to spend on Christmas, girl, I feel you, and I want to help.
With all the hustle and bustle, here’s something important to remember:
You don’t have to do anything. You can give an unqualified “no” to any and all invitations and obligations, and you don’t have to feel bad about it.
Maybe people won’t understand, and maybe they’ll be put out, but this is your life, and you can do what’s best for your family without having to justify yourself to others.
It’s great to be able to budget throughout the year for Christmas, it’s great to look for ways to make Christmas present more affordable, but in the end, Christmas isn’t about the stuff.
I remember the Christmas I was ten, my parents were struggling a bit financially, and we didn’t have a big Christmas. My mom was never big on decorating anyway, but we kids really felt it in the lack of gifts under the tree.
As I recall, all we got that year were books and clothes.
We were a little disappointed, I’ll admit, but I can tell you that we still ran around, played and had a blast with our cousins on Christmas day, and we still enjoyed every minute of Christmas time.
We may have been disappointed in the moment when our Christmas wishes weren’t fulfilled that year, but more importantly, our parents modeled financial responsibility while teaching us that Christmas isn’t all about the things, it’s about the people, and as an adult, I don’t regret it at all.
It’s because of lessons like that from my parents that I’m a debt-free adult with a healthy savings account.
Don’t be afraid to say no to the pressure to spend more than you can afford in order to teach your children how to be responsible with money.
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Lorie Cook says
A very excellent point and Im going to try it this year.
But one thing is that I don’t understand is the comment about a healthy savings acc.
I do believe in saving for a rainy day but I also believe in living life now because we a never guarenteed tomorrow.
I say this because a few years back I watched my Dad save and save and save money not doing things that he could have done only to hear him say when he retires he is going to do all that. Well guess what weeks before he was to retire he had a massive heart attack and didn’t get to do the things he should have done years before
I learnt a lesson from that That lesson is Im here today so Im going to enjoy today because it could be my last and I must say Im living life to the fullest and enjying it
I totally agree that living now is important, however, I feel like it’s equally important for me personally to save for my kids’ futures, especially since the women in my family have a history of not living long lives.
I save for a rainy day. Then once I have enough to feel comfortable, I live my life. I am comfortable with 30 days of expenses saved away (and life insurance equal to 2 yrs of wages). Once I have that, I have some fun money available. We just bought a new furnace so now the fund is depleted. I will save it back up, then save for a vacation and take it and enjoy it. Being in debt sucks but so does being miserly. Find your priorities then fund your priorities.
Joan Main says
We do a $10 and under Christmas gifts and preferrably recycled/upcycled.
Makes it so much more affordable but, most importantly it makes you think about the person and what you are actually buying.
Our Christmas revolves around family, fun and food. Nothing elaborate.