All I Want for Christmas is You

Published: December 16, 2015

Money_Credit_Card_1143091_HThis season of joy, love, and giving is also filled with debt and stress.  This season of food, decorations, and eggnog is also filled with gluttony and overindulgence.  This season of football and family is also filled with grief and feuding.  Please know that I am not the Grinch that stole Christmas.  Our culture has become the Christmas Grinch.

Thanksgiving is no longer the day just for fellowshipping with family and friends over good food; Christmas shopping has taken over.  People fight to be in front of the lines to get the deals.  In many cases, these items are not necessary for our well-being.  Marketers play with our psyche so that we feel that these items are necessary.  Although we think we are getting great deals, our pockets still gets smaller and smaller.  How can we escape the debt, stress, overindulgence, and feuding during the Christmas season?

Giving to others is a beautiful act.  When we stress, fight, or go into debt over the “perfect” gift, giving does not seem so beautiful anymore.  Make a plan for spending and giving.   This plan should start in January.  If you are one who enjoys shopping and buying gifts, start putting money aside every paycheck just for Christmas shopping. Maybe you are a crafty person who enjoys giving handmade gifts.  Start planning and working on your gifts in January.  These plans not only help budget your Christmas spending, but they also help budget your time and reduce stress.

If you have already spent too much money this season, stop shopping.  Look at what you have already bought as gifts.  Can you take some gifts back?  Decide on a spending limit and do not go over this limit.  Your limit should be determined by what you have to spend.  If you do not have any money to spend, think about being creative with your gifts.  What are your talents and hobbies?  Use them to make gifts.  I am an amateur nature photographer, so I have blown up some my photos, framed them, and given them as gifts.  The gifts produced with your talents are valuable, for they are often irreplaceable.

I do not recommend going into debt for buy gifts.  If you believe that you must buy gifts and don’t have any cash, decide on a spending limit based upon the amount you can pay back within six months while saving for next Christmas.  Devise a plan for paying that amount back, otherwise you may go into next Christmas season building debt on top of debt.  Ultimately, I suggest contemplating the reasons for feeling why you must go into debt to buy gifts.

I challenge you to understand your value, your relationships, and the meaning of Christmas for yourself.  Reclaim Christmas as the time for celebrating joy, love, peace, kindness, and faithfulness. Take care of yourself during this season, for the best gift you can give is your best self so that you can love fully.

angel-lee-peer-mentorAngel Lee
Third Year

Angel is originally from Washington, D.C.  She is one of this year’s financial well-being peer mentors and desires to help her fellow classmates budget, save, and prioritize their spending.  She also hopes to enlighten her peers on the positive influence of spiritual practices in financial decisions.  Angel is pursuing a ministry career within the mental healthcare field.

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