The holidays are a joyous time of year where we tend to indulge a bit more than usual. Endless parties, family get togethers, and outings with friends can drain our wallets quicker than you can twitch your nose like I Dream of Jeannie. For some of us, this means the holidays can be a marathon of anxiety to get through. Especially when you’re broke. It can be depressing and difficult to get into the holiday spirit in the season of giving.
Trust me, I’m going through this right now. I have debt from my “previous life” and am working a minimum wage part-time job to bring in some kind of income. It can get you down in the doldrums quite easily but there are two things I focus on that keep me positive and happy.
#1. The choice I made to live a simpler life and the fact that I have family and friends who understand this. It’s important to remember that holiday spending is a choice. There is no one forcing you to open your wallet. Yes, we all love to be generous, but there are other ways to do it without buying gifts. If your friends don’t understand your current life situation, it’s time to get new ones. After all, the ones that are there for only the materialistic stuff aren’t the type of people you want in your life. They’re also the first ones to disappear when the well dries up.
#2. Remind yourself EVERY DAY of the abundance in your life. I go through a list of all the things I’m grateful for. Like what? Well, for example, the fact that I have a job at all. Even though it pays minimum wage, it keeps me happy and I’ve even caught myself singing along to the Christmas carols while I make coffee. It’s the only gift I have to give right now. My time and a positive attitude toward others who are rushing around during the holidays. If I can make someone’s day better that’s all the Christmas gift I need. After all, I could still be unemployed. What else am I grateful for? Well, the fact that I have my health, supportive family and friends, and my happiness. When you focus on gratitude, you’d be surprised at how quickly your outlook shifts to a more positive one. You’ll also find that the smallest things bring you the greatest joy – things that you used to take for granted when you had more money.
People may laugh at your attitude of gratitude and try to sway you into believing that you have to spend money to enjoy Christmas, but don’t let them. The unfortunate side effect of Christmas is that it’s become extremely materialistic. You shouldn’t be made to feel uncomfortable because you don’t have money to buy a physical gift. As I said, gifts are a choice. The true meaning of Christmas is community and love, not stuff.
This Christmas, I’m giving out handmade cards, my time, love and gratitude. If no one likes it, that’s tough. I’m happier giving gifts from the heart instead of from my very empty wallet. No one needs the anxiety of extra debt at Christmas.
Go against societal expectations and give the gift of your time. It’s priceless.