50 days until Christmas!!
That’s what the exuberant little chubby Santa Claus drawing emphasized
as I stepped into the grocery store. OH! Just 50 days?? Bring it on, Tinsel Toes!
I just love the Holidays!
Except…I actually don’t.
Sure, the great family time, the bonding, the garland everywhere (seriously, EVerywhere), the toys, the wrapping paper, and the sentiments all blend into the crowdedmallparking-youbetterNOTburnmyturkey-wait, we forgot to buy presents for our 20.5 nieces, nephews, coworkers’ kids-mania that takes over even the most sensible of people.
I’m. Over. It.
Let’s be clear: as a Christian, I love celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. The live nativity scenes, the incredible sermons as year’s end approaches, and the sudden resurgence of “do unto others” ROCKS. People just become their kinder, gentler selves (when a 50% off sign isn’t involved, mind you) to perfect strangers, and social media gets flooded with pics of purchased dinners for homeless people and gifts/clothing/toiletry backpacks being sent to children in impoverished nations. How can you not love that?
I do. It’s my favorite part of the year, really. It’s the aftermath I could gladly do without.
Why are we determined to go broke or into debt to show love to one another?
What’s worse, why are we complaining yet still conditioning our children to do the same?
As a nation, hasn’t the upcoming generation inherited enough burdensome debt already? (Hello, National Deficit!)
It’s time for a Holiday Do-Over. Ask yourself a few questions:
1. Is there another way to show love this season? No, I’m not rallying against buying gifts; just reconsidering what we get and our reasons behind it. For example, if you have a long-simmering beef with a girlfriend, a dinner and drama-clearing conversation could fare far better in the end than a Michael Kors bag. There’s nothing wrong with showing love, but it’s even better to use wisdom in the process.
2. What if we redirect the money to something that lasts longer? Toys break, gift cards get lost, and electronics are outdated by upgrades every six months or so. None of these things are necessarily problems, but it’s the extra overtime at work, griping, complaining, and, for some, the resulting debt ’til Cinco de Mayo that feels downright criminal. Here’s a tip using my favorite hashtag: #MoreMemoriesLessAccessories. Look, if you just *have* to have Apple’s new iDea (some of you missed that), no worries! Let’s shift the cashflow a bit to a destination instead. Could you chip in with a few friends or relatives and rent a villa in Montego Bay? What about getting the whole family together and heading to the mountains for a more unplugged, cocoa-n-marshmallows kind of vibe? You could even plan a surprise anniversary party for the couple with the longest lasting marriage and get everyone in town for a New Year’s Eve to remember. The possibilities are only as endless as your imagination.
3. How could we make the day brighter for someone else? Charity after person after soup kitchen needs our help. Instead of wishing the most irksome family member would stay home this year, how about buying some Wish List items for a single parent? Whether in New York City or Nepal, someone would love to have the resources you take for granted. Spending money isn’t the only way to contribute, either. Perhaps you could make some small home repairs for an elderly neighbor. The foreign exchange student in your college dorm may have no friends and could use an invite to a ladies/fellas night out at a local restaurant. The list goes on and on, and so do the needs of those around us. Be an answer in this world, not just another question.
Yes, as of today, there are 49 days left until Christmas.
Instead of letting the approaching Holidays instill anxiety, let them spark creativity.
Sure, spend whatever you want that you can handle – it’s your choice, and I’m not here to condemn you.
Just be willing to count the cost and consider the investment before you do.