Every year at this time, people are going out of their minds picking up last minute Christmas stuff. Spending and over-spending on things for a holiday that is a pretty much made up.
Oh I can hear some of you say. The wise men gave to Christ on Christmas day and that is where this comes from. Pagans would surely disagree as probably a ton of other people out there with their own theories. I’m actually not going to dispute or confirm anything at this point.
For myself, I think Christmas is pretty. The warm glow of green and red lights as the ground gets covered in snow. The holidays shine pretty in my mind. The tree smells divine as we hang our ornaments new and old. The pretty packages wrapped with their pretty bows add some much needed colors to our short days and long cold nights.
The turkey dinners with the warmth of family adding to the feeling of love and being part of people’s lives.
Sleigh bells and carols add some feeling and music to our ears and (some) people really get into the giving of Christmas and (some) smile with much more ease at this time of year. Some just don’t. We won’t get into the complete ignorant a-holes that roam the earth this time of year or it just might ruin your Christmas cheer, but you know exactly who I mean.
This year I will get to enjoy some extended time off, which is awesome! It’s been a quite few years since I have had that happen (I used to work with a bus line and always had that time off). I will make the best of it and I have but nine working days to go for me as we speak to get a whole ten off (sigh). So at this point I don’t care who came up with this made up stuff. I am simply happy for the lighter mood, the pretty lights, the good food and the time off.
The down side, other than the moody nasty people who go around this time of year only thinking of themselves and making happy people miserable would be the insane amount of money people spend to buy to give to others.
And I’m not talking charity, I’m talking big gifts items that we go out and spend on people, not because it’s their birthday or that they deserve it, but because it’s Christmas and that’s been done every year since you are born.
As time went on, I started to think of the problem with all of that and started wondering why a token gift just to extend love and gratitude was not enough anymore.
I suspect the retail companies have a lot to do with that. Since we have eliminated regular commercialized television from our home and I also have some great human beings who don’t define life with a dollar amount, our Christmases have become somewhat more of a fun thought. We give each other a small gift that is something that is needed or wanted or sometimes just plain fun.
I asked for a wireless mouse that can be used on any surface this year. That’s it. I needed it cause the one I has driven me insane, with the wire and needing a hard surface to function. I am always fighting with it.
I have asked for nothing else, because I don’t want anything else. I have asked the boys if they wanted anything in particular and I have given them all one gift to unwrap. It’s not that I don’t love anyone else, but I don’t feel the need to go broke to celebrate a holiday that should be about goodwill to people, not dollar signs and retail. I have concentrated much more on what I could do for a population who have less than I do, whose minds are caught up with whether they can eat or provide a good Christmas for their small children. I feel so good after each donation, not because it makes me a good person, but because I can go to bed tonight feeling like I have helped feed someone, given someone a smile and there is nothing under that tree that I have gifted that gives me more pleasure than these gestures.
All of these things are done with thought and moderation and a bit of planning of spending. And that is what I am really getting into here.
Why should this season leave you a money hang over in January that you feel for months? You should not. Only spend within your means or even below them. Look for alternative and meaningful gifts as opposed to store bought plastic crap. Go to the Dollar Stores and get some crafts and make some cards, some one-of-a-kind things that for me personally would mean much more than a generic gift that another thousand people received identically to me. I try to even do something special with my cards by putting a family picture and a special note.
And put that money aside ahead of time. That is very important. I would say even if it’s not the full amount, make sure to get at least half saved up. It should not be a surprise anymore that this holiday comes by every year after you have suffered bills for the first one you celebrated.
We have bonuses from work that always help alleviate the cost of the holidays and we do not budget that money anywhere on purpose. When we have some left, it’s a treat to put some on debt, but we do not count on it to begin with.
This will involve a change of the way you think of these things, meaning that you revamp what Christmas means to you as opposed to the retail commercial world. You should not feel guilt or no one should make you feel guilt for not being able to do humongous gifts. If your children react ungratefully to what you give, then there is a bigger problem then just gifts at hand. If they do react in such a way, they do not know the true meaning of anything in this world. You cannot bring any material things with you when you leave it so in my mind it would stand to reason that our purpose of being on this planet has very little to do with money or possessions.
So please take your time. Look at each person you care about and think of the truest (not most expensive) thing that could possibly bring a smile or comfort (peace) to their faces and go from there. Most people enjoy the individual time you took to find that special thing (not expensive, but special) that will show them you care. And don’t forget to let yourself feel the spirit of Christmas by surrounding yourself with the people you love and showing it.
Hope your holiday bills and season are manageable so far!