To spend or not to spend? That's the question

Published On: Dec 01 2011 02:49:12 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 01 2011 03:00:03 PM EST

You cannot live in America and be unaware of a pulsating industrial complex of retail-ism.  And that thriving conglomerate of marketers, retailers, shoppers, shippers and sales people gets dialed up to full tilt when December 25th of every year approaches.  We are besieged with ads to buy, buy, buy and they are everywhere we can see and hear and take in information; on the radio, the internet, billboards, in your mailbox, on television, on street corners and likely in your slumbering dreams at this point.  I submit there are even, sub conscious messages bolstering your debit card deeds with consumer reports assessing how "well" America is doing based on how much retailers made this past quarter.  The driving message: it's time to open your wallet, in the name of the holidays, and spend. 

 

But wait!  What if you don't have discretionary monies to spend.  What if you don't choose to spend your money on gifts because of some other financial goals to which you are supremely committed, even when there's a great shoe sale?  What if you are trying to dig yourself out of debt?  What if you have committed every dollar to making it from one pay check to the next?  What if you just choose not to spend because you don't want to be dragged into the collective, spending frenzy on principle?  Who's to say why your spending dollars are short, but in that case, doesn't that open up a myriad of ways for going long on creating and or continuing traditions.  Spending does not a great holiday make.

 

While getting and giving gifts can be a joy, the real joy is in the human exchange.  Aren't we really attempting to exchange emotions when we give a thing in a box?  When we give a special friend a sweater, we scooped up at the last shopping hour, aren't we really trying to convey a message to that person, a message of emotion.  While that sweater is likely not really needed, it's the thought we want them to receive, the thought that we care for them or love them.  We want that sweater to remind them that they are special to us.  We don't have to spend to share these emotions though.

 

It's true that the holiday season is acutely important to all those who are 13 and under, understood.  A child's view of the magic of Christmas is mostly summed up though as hope in possibility.  Children go to bed with Christmas wishes and wake to their amazement to see that at least some, or for a fortunate few. all of their wishes have come true.  But isn't their delight really about the magical thought that they can hope for something, something good, something better and it happens? 

A bottomless budget can have it's advantages but serving the heart with hope takes doesn't cost a dime.

That brings me to another thing....we'll get to that later. 

Enjoy the videos of people who took the time to chat with me a bit about the holidays.

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