In my perfect dream Holiday world, I would order everything online and have it shipped, and take my time shopping throughout the year at eclectic shops; having Christmas shopping over by October. But….
Here in the real world, most families I talk to on a daily basis, wait until the last minute. In the real world, people scramble around with the budget and rob Peter to pay Paul to even have Christmas. The irony hits between the eyes, a reality check the day after Christmas is over and the real world bills come in. You know, the ones people are robbing from to buy Christmas?
I know because I deal with the before, middle and aftermath of these catastrophic financial choices with the families I have to then counsel and offer financial solutions to. Some of which, are drastic and painful as the truth pours in of the choices that were made. Image courtesy of graphixchon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I hate that about Christmas.
I hate that Christmas has turned into a problem. A BIG financial one. And it has turned into that problem because of the culture we live in that screams: “Buy me! Buy more and more! Open this credit card to buy more!”
Who are we impressing after all? Because it doesn’t impress the wallet, but leaves it bankrupt if we aren’t careful.
It’s Christmas after all, our culture screams for us to buy, buy, buy until every nook and cranny under that tree is filled and then some. After all, what if they don’t like what you got them? Is it enough?
I do not remember everything I got as a child for Christmas. What I do remember are the memories of my mother’s home cooked meal that all of us kids got to help her cook. I remember stoking the fire with my dad and having coffee, watching the snow fall. I remember moments, laughter, and peace. Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
But I don’t remember the gifts. And now that I have children of my own, I see that the gifts are the icing on the cake, but they are not the main course. What my own children have shown me is they remember the moments.
Snuggle time. Reading stories to them. Teaching them to make homemade hot chocolate, cracking jokes at each other and taking long walks on the beach and, in the past even in the snow, exploring everything. I know this because last year we started a new tradition. Every year that they are with me for Christmas Day, we open gifts, have a meal and then go to the beach or downtown to enjoy the sights. (We get ice cream too and they think that is so cool to do that on Christmas Day!)
People remember moments. It is nice to get others gifts too if you can afford it, but with what I see on a daily basis; some families are better to cancel the gift giving and just have a family get together with a meal.
I hate that about Christmas.
It is such an amazing Holiday with so much to give, but people should not be maxing out credit cards, taking out loans or not paying bills just to buy presents.
When people do these things, then at the beginning of the year get laid off, go on furlough, strike, or lose their jobs…that’s when it hits them. Memories are a blessing, and we should all make them special, but we shouldn’t risk our financial future to do it just to buy more stuff. I see hard choices people make on a daily basis with their finances, the implications of which are catastrophic and snowball to more hardships. Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Christmas is special. It should remain special always, but its main focus should not be the gifts. Memories last forever and can be passed from generation to generation. It’s a blessing if you can buy gifts, but remember no one should make a hard financial choice of buying Christmas over paying the bills or getting groceries. That is foolish. I hate that about Christmas…