The holiday season can really become a burden for some families. Magnifymoney.com states, “between gifts, hosting parties, family emergencies, and for some, fewer work hours, it’s easy for debt to add up if you don’t have savings on hand. While the $986 of those surveyed added to their debt on average is a manageable amount, it can easily snowball (1).” In a time where building wealth and living a comfortable life is top priority in many households, the want to shower loved ones with expensive Christmas gifts does not fade. The Christian doctrine preaches that the “reason for the season” is to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior through charitable works and goodwill toward mankind, but it’s just words, if no real action is practiced. Christians can make an impact on the war against debt by simply leading with our faith. Family leaders can create new traditions that will promote healthy financial decisions and deter common debt occurred during the holiday season.
Start shopping early. Striving for a debt-free Christmas does not have to mean a ban on gifts. One of the common fails of creating debt is families struggling to come up with large sums of cash to get gifts. Millions of people prepare for the Christmas sales, when some of the same discounts are offered all year. Catch the Valentine’s specials or the special coupons for Mother’s Day and purchase a few Christmas gifts during that time. Spreading the costs over time will lighten the load on your finances and decrease the need to borrow or charge large amounts to credit cards. Slow and steady shopping will relieve the stress of impulse spending and may even create a more pleasurable and economical giving experience.
Give repurposed gifts. Repurposing has become a hidden treat amongst the craftier people of the world. With the help of Pinterest, Instagram and other social media, recycling has become cool again! The key to this new trend, is to take old items and change them to be used in a way other than its intended use. Here are a few examples to try.
Turn an old picture frame into an earring holder. A person that loves jewelry would appreciate a thoughtful gift such as this. You’ll need some sort of wire (picture wire works really well) to hang your earrings on. Just run the wire across the frame and then hang up your earrings. This is a great gift idea for girls of all ages and you can run as much wire, making as many levels, as you want. If you have longer earrings that dangle, make longer levels.
Instead of hauling that old entertainment center off to the dump, take a couple of hours and turn it into an adorable play kitchen for your little girl. The center doesn’t have to be in perfect condition as you can reinforce anything that needs it and it won’t really be expected to hold much weight, anyway. Just a little paint and imagination are really all you need to turn that old eyesore into something that any little girl will get hours of pleasure from. Plus, it’s a great place to store all those play cooking toys.
Pay it forward. Charitable acts usually peak during the holiday season, but there is always room for more community service. Start a tradition of some special charitable act that your family can enjoy together. Proverbs 19:17 states that “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.” Following the example of this scripture emanates the very essence of the reason for the season. The name Christian or “Of Christ” compels us to be the Good Samaritan. Find a local soup kitchen or church that is serving the less fortunate for Christmas. Utilize this time to create fun memories and instill a desire to help those in need along with the family celebration.
The burden of debt eats at our destined happiness and creates the type of stress that is not easily shaken. Refuse or release the shackles of debt, by adjusting habits and traditions and relax into financial freedom. Once debt is eliminated from the picture, a white Christmas can once again invade our dreams!