We’re now in the midst of the holiday season. The Season of Giving, right? And with all of the great things about this season also comes gifting stress. You know how it works…You get together with someone this time of year for lunch or coffee and they come bearing gifts. You immediately feel like a putz because you didn’t get one, so as soon as you leave, you head to the mall and buy them a gift…out of guilt.
Or, your children spend the entire month of December hearing about all the presents that their friends at school are going to get. They start listing out the aggregate of ALL the gifts they’ve been hearing about at school on a daily basis and you are burdened by the thought that your child might be hanging his or her head at the lunch table when all the kids are discussing what they got. So, you get them…everything.
You have a new boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé or spouse and this is your first holiday season together, so you decide that you’re going to show them you know how to do it right. And, you’re scared to death that they are going to outspend you, so you make sure that they don’t…out of fear.
Fear and guilt are not good motivators. Thoughtful, heartfelt impulsion, on the other hand, is a great way to gift. So, if you’re a last minute gift buyer like me, I suggest that you sit down and think about who you feel impelled to give a gift to, and then actually apply a budget to each gift – a guideline on how much you want to spend. NEVER use credit to pay for a gift, because then you start the New Year off with a lower net worth than you had the day after Thanksgiving. If you free yourself from giving out of guilt or fear, you’ll enjoy the season all the more.