The holiday season is upon us and many are in a very festive mood, but there are also a lot of people who get depressed during this time. They get depressed due to the overwhelming need to purchase gifts for others even if it means being financially strapped. My belief is many have become involved in the commercialization of Christmas and have lost sight of its original meaning. This affects many things including how we raise our kids and their “expectations” of Christmas.
Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus Christ bought joy and excitement into the world with the shepherds, angels, and wise men. Have we lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas? Even for those who do not share those specific beliefs, Christmas means something bigger for everyone; it is a time where we are grateful and thankful for all the family, friends, and love we are blessed to receive throughout the year.
I am not here to discourage you from buying gifts but to offer other alternatives/options. The act of gift giving can still happen but it does not have to mean financial burden. For example, I have a close friend that makes me cookies every year. He even ships my cookies to me now that I live on the West Coast (hint Rodney).
A few years ago I went to a financial planning class at my church, New Psalmist Baptist, and the Bishop Thomas stated, “Celebrate Christ on his birthday and celebrate friends and family on their birthdays”. I really loved that idea and since that day, my friends and I have never exchanged Christmas gifts and we have been friends for over 20 years.
Here a few ideas for those of you who are exchanging gifts during Christmas:
– Set a spending limit that is fair to you and the ones with whom you are exchanging gifts.
– Send Christmas cards with a special handwritten note.
– Put your favorite picture in a pretty frame.
– Sponsor a family that is less fortunate.
– Bake their favorite dish.
– Give a “gift certificate” to prepare a meal and have nice conversation at home.
– Make them jewelry or art.
– Purchase gifts according to these three areas: something you want, something you need, and something I think you should have.
– Instead of giving material gifts, consider a shared experience with the people who you want to give gifts to. Start at the beginning of each year saving money to go on vacation at Christmas and spend quality time together.
While giving gifts can be a nice addition to the holidays, this year try to focus on what truly matters during this special time of year. Christmas should be a time of spreading love, joy, and spending time with loved ones.
Please share your thoughts and ideas. 🙂