Life can be a bit of a minefield at times, especially at Christmas. We get distracted and do or say things we normally wouldn’t. Or we toss aside our normal mindful spending habits and give into the holiday hype of buy, buy, buy. We shop until we drop, eat whatever we want and do whatever we please. After we bid farewell to the Holidays, we are left cleaning up the mess — financially, emotionally and physically. I say bah humbug to that!
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely want to enjoy the holiday season and keep my sanity, which can seem impossible at times. So today I’m going to share five common mistakes that many parents make during the holiday season. And on Wednesday, I’ll share 5 Holiday’s Do’s.
5 Holiday’s Don’ts That Put the Bah Humbug in Christmas
Santa is checking his list and if he finds you guilty of these don’ts, you may wind up on the naughty list this year. The good news is there is plenty of time to course correct.
1. Confuse Love with Gifts
There is nothing I love more than giving gifts to my loved ones, especially Lauren and Taylor. Watching their eyes light up on Christmas morning and hearing their cries of joy as they open their gifts warms my heart. I know many people feel the same way, which is why we need to be extra mindful during the holidays of how we spend our money and honor our budget. Sometimes our love and generosity extends further than our pocketbooks allow. We need to be mindful of what we can spend without creating debt.
This is incredibly difficult for some people and we justify breaking our budget because we are spending on others, not ourselves. I understand, but when you create unnecessary debt, you put your family’s financial security at risk. Presents are not worth it. I don’t want anyone going into debt to buy me a gift and I bet you feel the same way. Keep that in mind when you find yourself tempted to spend a little bit more than you had budgeted.
Tip: Honor your gift-giving budget. Buy your loved ones the best gift you CAN afford. Give it to them with your love and it well be received with love too.
2. Turn Gift-Giving into a Competition
Sadly, I see this one happening more and more frequently. Christmas has become a competition, where we constantly compare notes with one another. Many feel compelled to outspend others or give more gifts to their kids. In other words, Christmas has turned into a game of “Keep Up”. And it’s a game you can never win.
There will always be people who spend less than you and more than you. And you shouldn’t really care what others are spending anyway (besides a general hope that they are not overspending!). Doing so can drive yourself crazy because there will always be someone doing “more”.
Most importantly, Christmas was never intended to be a competition, regardless of your beliefs. It is intended to be a time of love, giving and community. When you find yourself comparing how much you spend at Christmas with others, stop and remind yourself what Christmas truly means to you.
3. Overstuff the Holidays
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year and it is equally the busiest time of the year. It seems like we are constantly running from one thing to another and it is exhausting, not to mention stressful.
There are obviously some festivities that we don’t want to miss, but we don’t have to accept every party invitation or run ourselves ragged either. It is okay to decline an invitation. It is okay if we realize that we don’t have the time or energy to bake five different kinds of holiday treats so we buy some instead. Christmas is a special time of the year, but it loses its power when we don’t give ourselves time to enjoy it.
Tip: Review the calendar and set aside enough quiet time where the family can relax together. Those are great nights to watch holiday movies or read a holiday book.
4. Be a Grinch and Steal Christmas Cheer
There is no doubt Christmas has become highly commercialized and consumerism runs rampant during the holiday season. I don’t disagree, but it also makes me sad when I see people constantly harp on it too. To the point where you almost feel ashamed that you enjoy Christmas and buy gifts for loved ones.
You cannot control the world, but you can create change within your home. And complaining isn’t the way to do it. We combat consumerism in our home with a heavy focus on giving to others and family traditions. Gifts certainly have a place in our celebration but they are not the end all, be all. And that is our intention.
Don’t be the person who sucks the Christmas Cheer out of the room or a celebration. Instead, if you find yourself frustrated by commercialization of Christmas, then stop and ask yourself what you want Christmas to mean in your home and start implementing those changes.
5. Overlook Teachable Moments
The holidays offer many great teachable moments about family, traditions, giving and fellowship. Kids typically focus on receiving gifts, so we need to do our part to make sure they understand Christmas means more than Santa Claus. Too often, I see parents fuel their focus on receiving gifts. There is nothing wrong with gifts, but Christmas means so much more. Make sure your kids know that and holiday teachable moments are the best way for them to show them the magic beyond presents.
What Holiday Don’t have you been guilty of in the past? What Holiday Don’t do you commonly see among your friends and family?
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