Are you one of those people who “shop until you drop” during the holiday season?  Are you afraid of what your credit card bill will look like in January, and even more concerned about how you are going to be able to pay off the monstrous balance that is accruing interest more rapidly than your bank account balance?

If so, take heart.  Here are some suggestions for how you can deal with “the holiday financial blues”.

  1. If you haven’t accumulated massive debt yet, then don’t allow yourself to do so.  Based on your income and your ability to pay off your credit card bill when it arrives in January, set a budget for how much you can afford to spend on each person on your list – and then stick to it.
  2. If you are handy when it comes to crafts, consider making some or all of your gifts.  People are deeply touched when they receive a hand-made gift, and they will remember your thoughtfulness throughout the coming years.  Both my wife and I have fond memories of hand-made gifts we’ve received over the years – and we often reminisce over gifts that were given to us 40 years ago.
  3. Be creative when it comes to giving.  Instead of buying something for someone, invite them over for a home cooked meal.  Ask them to join you for your daily walk.  Offer to babysit for their kids while they go out for dinner and a movie.  Things like this cost very little and show how much you care.
  4. Realize that most of the time people who care about you don’t want a physical gift.  What they really want is the gift of your time.  My wife and I have three grown daughters.  A few weeks ago, when we asked them what they want for Christmas, the answer we received was unanimous.  What they all want is to be together – to come home – for Christmas.  That is the greatest gift we can both give and receive.

Christmas does not need to put you into a financial death spiral and leave you both frustrated and exhausted.  The holiday season is about love, being together, and being thankful for all we have – and – most especially – the gift God gave us in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.