This column is to all the big-hearted spenders who don’t have the income to spend like they want to, this one’s for you. It’s okay, not to give, at Christmas.
Yup, that’s what I said, you didn’t read that wrong. It wasn’t a misprint.
You can also flip that frown upside down, exhale and laugh now. No, I’m not the grinch, just finish reading the column and give me a few minutes of your time to think about what I have to say. It may just make you feel better, and you won’t be drowning in debt come January.
If your anything like me, or who I used to be, Christmas makes you spend every available cent you have on others and you end up being broke and sad in January. Let’s be honest, a lot of the stuff you pick up for others or receive, ends up on a shelf or in a closet, only to be tossed in the spring.
I cleaned out the clutter from my home this week and we had gifts from five Christmas’s ago that never saw the light of day. If I had tallied up the cost of those gifts, it would easily be five hundred dollars.
Imagine, the gifts you absolutely had to give out, which probably caused you financial stress because you couldn’t afford them, collected dust. If you knew that, would you have purchased those gifts? My guess if no, so as you start your Christmas spending ask yourself, will this collect dust, or will they use it?
Will they appreciate it? Is the gift more about you feeling good and not guilty or will it cause you financial difficulty? Things to think about to keep you sane as you walk through the stores in the next few weeks.
Maybe this Christmas you could do something a little different for others and for yourself. Instead of going broke and buying gifts for everyone, just to give, think about donating your time this year. Times are tough, for everyone.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather receive a Christmas card in the mail from someone with a note that says; ‘instead of buying you a gift this year I donated to the animal shelter in your name.’ That’s a beautiful gift, seriously, I won’t have another item collecting dust in the basement and animals will get fed for a week or a month.
Send out Christmas Cards!
Taking the time to write a sincere note to another individual is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to another person. It’s like writing a letter and receiving one in return. Remember how much fun it was to receive a letter from a friend or family member in the mail? Now we have instant letters, aka texts and email, but they are not the same. You can’t save a text from a person who has passed on and feel the same way you would from reading and holding a handwritten letter from someone you love.
We don’t tell each other enough how much we mean to each other. Just think, someone took the time to write that note and maybe they won’t be here next year. I save all the Christmas cards I receive, each year when I take out my Christmas decorations, I look through them and think about the people here and that are gone. Write the card or send a letter in the mail and tell someone how much they mean to you.
If you absolutely feel the need to give this year, how about donating to your local soup kitchen? Instead of giving someone who has everything that $50.00 gift, give them a card that says you made a donation in their name.
Instead of gifting one person, you’ve now given the gift of feeding twenty people who would otherwise be hungry on Christmas Day. Feeding another person not only feeds them physically but it feeds the soul.
Hand out gift cards to strangers; they will probably appreciate and need them more than you know. You don’t need to tell everyone about doing it either, you also don’t need to snap a pic and post your good deed. If it makes you feel good for doing it, that’s all the recognition you need.
Christmas is about the kids, hands down! Places have Christmas drives every season, drop off a toy or two. Donate to things like Christmas Daddies, Every Women’s Centre, or the Salvation Army. Drop off an envelope in their mailbox or a few bags of toys and groceries. Instead of saying it’s from you, say something like, ‘times are tough, Santa saw that you needed some help.’ When you can, pay it forward.
Christmas isn’t about the monetary gifts of giving; Christmas is supposed to be about giving to everyone with kindness and love. Sure, buy a few small gifts for those you love but don’t go broke; the people who love you will still love you after Christmas even if they don’t get a gift from you.
I need you to know that giving of yourself, loving others, and being kind are some of the best gifts you can give and are sometimes the only thing needed.
Break Bread with New Friends!
This year our family and other amazing friends will be hosting Christmas dinner with friends and students from abroad. Breaking bread with those who would otherwise be spending the day alone sounds like a great Christmas to me.
People make a difference in the lives of others. You make a difference in the lives of others. It’s a smile from a stranger, a laugh, or a miniscule act of kindness. Sometimes those small gestures can make or break someone. So, thank you to the people who are perpetually giving, loving, and kind.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!,’
From How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss