OK, team, we’re approaching a wonderful time of year. Lots of traditions, seasonal lattes, scarves, boots, decor, and all the feels.
But we need to be ready. We’re going into a season where we spend approximately $1 trillion on Christmas as a nation. A nation that is in roughly $20 trillion in debt (hmmm…).
We’ll be marketed to like crazy. “You’ve got to have the beautiful tree, awesome decor, gifts, and more gifts.” We’ll likely feel pressured and might get caught up in this whirlwind.
We need a game plan.
Check out these statistics on Christmas spending:
- “In a recent survey, 56% of Americans admitted they’re planning to rack up debt this season, 16% of which expect it to take six months or more to pay off.”
- “…data confirms that parents are spending an average of $422 per child on holiday gifts, with 34% of parents spending $500 or more per child.”
- “An estimated 25% are taking drastic measures such as withdrawing money from their 401(k)s, dipping into their emergency savings, or taking out payday loans in order to purchase holiday gifts.”
- “And while a fair number of parents understand the importance of creating a holiday budget, a good 58% of families fail to actually stick to one.”
These trends are pretty crazy, right? More than half our country plans to take on debt.
Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays. However, I can be disappointed when it’s all over because our culture, memories, and the Christmas movies we watch build our expectations so high it can be hard to make them a reality.
I try to battle all the pressure with thinking through what’s special to my family of two. To date, Drew and I have spent about $50-75 on each other/year, while focusing on the memories we want to make. We’ve yet to buy a Christmas tree and barely decorate, but we’ve done small things that were special to us.
These decisions were primarily made while we were paying off loans, but it’s taught us to evaluate what’s important to us and how much we want to spend based on our priorities. This year we may actually purchase a tree, but it’s been refreshing to wait and see what’s special to us versus feeling pressured to do something.
Here’s my encouragement: get ready for the battle against consumerism and the hustle and bustle that takes away from the meaning of Christmas. Start thinking about what you can afford (based on your budget) and have a game plan before you take on Amazon or the beautifully decorated malls that have spent tons to get you to spend more.
We’ve got to prepare and be ready to fight. Otherwise “they’ll” win.
Stay tuned for my post in 2 weeks, part 2 of this 4 part series. I’ll share practical tips around creating and sticking to a budget for Christmas.
In the meantime, think through how much you typically spend for Christmas. What can you change to avoid debt or prevent spending more than you can afford? Where can you begin saving to prepare (i.e. eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.)?
If you have the money in your budget, what’s reasonable? Do your Christmas expectations and what you’re willing to spend align with your priorities (i.e. financial goals, vision for your life, giving)? How could you make special memories without the overload?
May we pursue true joy in Christmas this year! ❤