Even though I do not celebrate Christmas, I love this time of year. I love the Christmas decorations, fairy lights and festive spirit that goes with this holiday season.
This is also the busiest month for retailers and is the make or break time for many retailers. Look around you. The shopping malls are packed, the jingly commercials are running non stop and consumers are stressed. I thought shopping is supposed to be fun!
A recent survey in the US found that nearly half the adults are so stressed about the festive season they would happily cancel it! The survey, sponsored by Think Finance, found that the main reason for the stress was financial stress. 45 percent of respondents saying they did not have enough money set aside to cover holiday expenses.
It is the most wonderful time of year! Donations to various charities increase, volunteers to food banks increase and spending also increases. We have been conditioned to associate this joyous time of year with purchasing material items. Most people have trained themselves to believe that buying stuff is part of Christmas. Ask any young child about Christmas and they will tell you what gift they want. Many parents perpetuate the culture of expensive gift giving by asking their kids for a list of preferred gifts. If you are stressed about buying gifts, this is a good opportunity to help your children learn that one can only spend money you actually have. The bestgift you can give your children this year is teaching them how to allocate money effectively by making good choices.
I may be wrong, but surely this wonderful time of year does not require gifts to be meaningful. Rather, this time of year is meaningful because of its true meaning—not the wrapped boxes people are supposed to place under the tree.
There is nothing inherently wrong with gifts. But it’s irresponsible for us to believe that purchasing gifts is a required part of the holidays. Instead, we can celebrate the infinite gifts we have all around us. Even without presents, we have everything we need to be jolly and merry and joyous.
At the very least you owe it to your family to de-stress the festive season and leave them with happy memories of the time spent together.