Creating Priceless Memories or Endless Debt for the Holidays by Chellyz View
Disclaimer: This post is not for those who have it together and have always been financially responsible during the holidays. This one is for those who are trying to do better. #help
All Those Gadgets and Toys
It happened just like that. Two years ago, my Lil Pocahontas reached the ever so “mature” age of 13. Throughout the years, she had accumulated at least 100 dolls including the ones given to her during Christmas. Alright, there’s a little exaggeration but it seemed as if she had that many fashionable dolls. Let’s not forget about the ultimate dream house, horse and carriage, and remote-control (you know the infamous doll) car. Some of these items were given to her by family members including grand mommas, godparents, her hardworking parents, and aunties (blood and spiritual related). Also, some were dropped off by the mysterious character known as Santa (please let this conversation be addressed during a future post). Anyway, she took a few large plastic garbage bags, and dumped the dolls inside while stating, “I’m donating these dolls. I am not going to play with them anymore.” I was informed to take them to that place known for its red and white logo. In addition, her dad assisted her with selling a few items. Huh, she didn’t even treat this momma to lunch.
Let me not forget about my Lil Superhero. In his designated space, you will find countless miniature cars of all colors in three separate boxes that have compartments to store them in. Look around and you’ll witness toys collecting dust in storage bins. At least I can tell you he enjoys the 1,000s of colorful block pieces (you know the company that rhymes with saygo) which can be used to make people, small cities, or whatever your heart and mind can imagine. I usually find these small items under the couch or beneath my feet. Ouch!!!! Also, there’s always a few games he “must have” each year. These video games must be played on a stand alone device or handheld widget which is sold separately and usually a new edition is introduced every other year.
The Holiday Tradition
Every holiday, I found myself shopping at the last minute. I would get all anxious trying to find that “sold out” toy. Year after year I made a speech to myself, I shouldn’t wait until the last minute to go shopping. I made a promise that I would not overspend. I knew I would get upset when I heard the words “I’m bored” once the fanfare of the holiday season was over. There was no way I would allow them to see me get angry because I had flashbacks of standing in long lines. Hey, I was just following tradition whether it was right or wrong. My momma, aunties, and grandparents ensured I had the best holiday every year as a child. I had declared I must uphold the same tradition for my children.
For several years, I wrapped every single gift starting at midnight until five am in the morning. The hub and I would argue, because his gifts were never wrapped as a child. My response would be, “That was boring. Didn’t you want to tear open the wrapping paper and be surprised?” Literally, we had the same dispute annually. Anyway, my ritual was to wrap the gifts all night, and binge watch holiday movies while sipping wine, or drink a few cold Pepsis or glasses of Kool-Aid or maybe consume all the above. I would cop an attitude cause the hub wasn’t able to help me wrap as many gifts, because he was the chef of the house preparing the feast for the next day. However, as time went by, I had to question what was I spending all this time and effort for? I watched myself get in debt, get holiday loans (more than I should have borrowed), and spend that holiday fund that was taken out of my paycheck for 10 months to make certain the holiday was “perfect.”
As parents and caregivers some of us struggle, because we delighted in seeing the smiles on faces of our child(ren), nieces, nephews, lil cousin or maybe that family the office adopted. I can’t beat myself up. I am trying to “mature.” I must realize I got to live after the holiday. All those dollars could be invested in purchasing stock as a gift, placing funds in a savings or college fund, or taking a fun-filled family trip. That’s what we did in 2017. We went to Disney World, and made it clear: Don’t look for naaaan (not one) toy!
Create Meaningful Inexpensive Moments
My point is do what you can this holiday season. Let’s not forget why we celebrate during the season. Whose birthday is it really (don’t answer if your birthday is actually on Christmas) ??? Spend, think, and strategize wisely. I can’t say I regret those days, but I can say I am learning. I will do what I can with what I have and not let the holiday giving stress me out. Make the best memories you can by spending time with loved ones even if you are not able to purchase the “perfect gift” or find that “sold out” toy online (miss you Toys R Us). Create homemade gifts such as soaps or candles. I almost fainted when one co-worker told me that was their family tradition for years. Then we got into a discussion about was it a cultural experience. Also, someone else stated they have a large family, so they pull names every year to reduce stress.
All those tangible items can end up in a garbage bag or collecting dust. Though I have spent my share of dollah bills, my household have created some inexpensive memories as well. We all get new holiday pajamas (I always find them on sale). We wear them on Christmas Eve and either make homemade or bake precut frozen cookies (don’t judge). After the cookies are ready, we choose a few holiday movies to watch together before the children were told to go to sleep to get ready for the excitement for the next day. Now, they stay up as long as they want!
For this holiday season take a moment to have memorable conversations and heartfelt memories that won’t leave you wrapped up in debt. Stop for a minute and reflect on why we celebrate the season for those of you who do. I will continue to be thankful for my support system. I will only borrow what I can afford to pay back and not extra to spend frivolously. Make the season bright by knowing you can create more meaningful cost-effective traditions instead of going into the new year with the gift of debt.
-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!