Of course, I’m aware that this is no coincidence. We are constantly bombarded with ads and images making us feel responsible for creating the perfect Christmas for our families. It creates a feeling that we need to keep up with the Joneses and spend, spend, spend! But, the reality is that more is not always better.
I guess that's why financial literacy month falls in November. It can serve to remind us to be more mindful of how we spend, save, and donate. It can remind us to see whether there’s wiggle room for the purchases ahead.
Since my children’s first Christmas, I’ve always tried to maintain that a few great quality gifts are much better than an overflowing tree of cheap, “just because” gifts. I have always followed a simple Christmas gift-buying rule: only buy four gifts! It’s simple. Each one of my children always gets:
Something they want. Something they need. Something they wear. Something they read.
Of course, some gifts will fall into more than one category. My son may need a pair of snow pants, but it is also something he will wear. In fact, if you were to ask him, he would claim that he “needs” a new mp3 player, but I beg to differ.
The weeks leading up to the holidays have me pondering and brainstorming. I have to be creative because I know that I am only buying four gifts. I have to get the biggest bang for my buck. I’m going for the most magic, excitement or awe for my four high-quality gifts. It’s fun for me to figure out just the right gift.
I have done this every year since my children were little, so they really don’t know any different. I have noticed that because we don’t have a huge number of gifts, and because each one is bought with purpose, opening gifts has become very special. It is an all-day affair, with each gift being received with appreciation and gratitude.
So, this holiday season I encourage people to not break the bank for Christmas. I want to challenge everybody to buy with a purpose and to purchase things locally whenever possible. Remember that less is more.
If you are interested in improving your financial literacy, consider joining our workshops offered on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. These free workshops are offered virtually so anyone, anywhere can attend! Email email@example.com to register.
DEBT SMART: December 15 at 6:00 pm
- Tips to manage your debt
- When it makes sense to get a consolidation loan
- The difference between consumer proposal and bankruptcy
INTRODUCTION TO REGISTERED EDUCATION SAVINGS PLANS (RESPs) – January 18 at 6:00 pm
- What an RESP is and how they work
- How to decide what kind of RESP is best for your family
- How to get free money to help grow your RESP
Happy holidays with less!
Community Literacy Coordinator – Slocan Valley
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy