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I hate the "B" word, no not blonde, since I hear those jokes all the time. BUDGET....it is just like nails running down a chalkboard for me to even think about, much less have to act upon.
However, at this time of year the man I sleep with always reminds me to stay within a budget. He usually brings up the subject every December when I am in a slight panic that I have not finished my shopping. He starts the line of questioning like he was in CSI Memphis. "Have you thought about budgeting?" "Are you over buying?" It just makes me want to put my head under the covers and not come out until he leaves. I usually break out in a cold sweat! I suddenly have to go from "Mom Mode" to "Money Manager Mode" and That was not a part of my original job description.
Therefore, the holiday season becomes extremely problematic for me because I am forced to think in terms of the "B" word. Zoom zoom, swipe swipe-that is the sound you hear of my credit card being used as I freely shop 'till I drop and splurge on getting this and that for family, friends, co-workers, business acquaintances, and those who are less fortunate.
Then it happens just like clockwork; here comes January; boy, do I feel awful when I look at those credit card statements! The sad thing is I start to review in my mind each purchase as I run down the list of charges incurred. Did anyone actually receive the perfect gift? We all rush around like crazy people who have a deadline to beat grabbing this and and waiting in a line for a store to open at 4:00 am in the pitch dark to get that item with a greatly slashed price. You have no clue who's going to be on the receiving end of the item. All this power shopping and hustle and bustle is just to try and make a little merry and bring joy to those near and dear to us.
Listen up people! I just read an article about research that was done by one Francis Flynn at Stanford University. The research stated that even with all our searching for that perfect gift and investing a good sum of money and time in the process, in the words of my son SJ, "It's a swing and a miss." The gifts are much less appreciated than we hoped. Talk about a buzz killer! We spend all that money and worry about breaking the budget, and the gift is not even liked.
According to Consumer Reports, there are at least 14 million people still paying for their gifts from last year. Yep, the gifts that people didn't even really like. Now, I'm not telling you to cease the purchasing of gifts (next week I will discuss what's on your list), but I am saying take one big step back and a deep breath and as Santa does, check that list twice. Have a plan and don't stray far from it. Envision January 10th when you are paying that credit card bill. Was the gift that meaningful? Is it still bringing joy and ever lasting happiness to that person? Probably not...so stay within your means. In other words, don't color outside the lines!
Focus on the mission at hand and in all the chaos look for an opportunity to make sure that we remember that the holidays are not about running up credit card bills, worrying about breaking the budget or all the pressure created by the aforementioned. If that is what they have come to, then we definitely all need to take a giant step backwards and rethink the meaning of the season.
I wish you the gift of blessings, love, health, success, peace on Earth and goodwill towards all men. I think those are gifts you would enjoy for years to come, and I spent nothing but my time.
"Remember the joy you give to others usually comes back to you, and a simple random act of kindness is a wonderful gift that brings great joy! "
Photo credit by: alancleaver_2000
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