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WOW! It’s Christmas Already!

WOW!  I can’t believe it’s that time of year again.  Christmas is coming earlier and earlier.   The music has already started playing on the radio.  Does anybody remember when the Christmas season started after Thanksgiving?  I mean really, Santa comes down from the North Pole and shows up in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and then it’s officially Christmas time.

The stores are filled with decorations and displays of gifts even before Halloween!  Most of the displays and advertisements are aimed at our children.  They promise hours of fun and of course the kids have to have one.  My grandchildren watch TV and each time an ad comes on they are so excited about each toy.  The marketing departments do a great job.  Unfortunately most of the toys don’t ever live up to the promises made on TV.   I can remember one year our daughter really loved He Man and we bought her every imaginable character.  We spent a fortune we couldn’t afford on our credit cards. Guess what, she only played with the two main characters.  The rest of them she left in the toy box.  Don’t go overboard.

We watch our grandchildren open their gifts every year.  By the time the four of them are finished it looks like a toy store.  Through the years I have noticed that they really don’t play with them all.  There are one or two favorites and the rest just sit in a pile in the playroom.

These marketing strategies put so much stress on parents to spend money they can’t afford.  This is the time of year we start panicking about where to get the money to buy Christmas gifts.  Many of us look to high interest credit cards intending to pay them off after Christmas.  This rarely works because if you couldn’t afford the money to buy the gifts you probably don’t have the money to pay off the credit card.  The payment becomes what you pay not the balance.  It doesn’t take too many Christmases to accumulate a mass of cards that becomes too much weight to carry.

I asked my children, who are 28 and 32 what their favorite Christmas present was when they were growing up.  They could only name two out of all those gifts!  What they did start talking about were the times we spent together and things we did as a family.  My point to this is that you don’t have to break the bank buying Christmas gifts. Make cookies together, shop for a needy family, playing a game, going to the park, making Christmas ornaments, going to a movie, cooking, planting a garden, or whatever it is you both like to do.  .  Give the gift of your time; it’s what they’ll remember!

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