The holiday season is descending. The neighbours have their lights up and decorations out. The stores are getting busier as people are starting to shop for those special someones in their lives. I like to start shopping and planning early; it is a part of the season that I enjoy. I like to take the time and think of something special to get for everyone. It pushes me to pause and consider what they would like, what have they talked about this year that they haven’t, or won’t, buy for themselves. It is a great feeling when you find that thing that is just right (and hopefully they agree!)
But, this time of year can be dangerous too. It can be too easy to overspend. To want to show love and gratitude through expense. This should not be the way it is –you should not go into debt to show those you love that you love them through elaborate gifts. They will know through the effort you put into them, through how you got or made them something.
One year when I was tight for cash I made a lot of my gifts. The one I made for my Dad was five frozen pies. The back story here is that he loves pie, hands down his favourite dessert, and one that doesn’t get made very often. Usually just around the holidays. So, I made five different kinds of pie, included the baking instructions on the ziplock bag and left the gift-wrapped box in the freezer until the morning of. And he loved it. It has probably been one of the best gifts I have given him.
When you are a student, or starting a new career, it can be hard to get ahead, and sometimes the holiday season seems to come at inopportune times, but there is no reason you can’t enjoy the season. There is too much pressure these days to put a lot of money into gifts. And in recent years I have been able to go a bit more elaborate than five frozen pies in a box. But no year is more special than the next because of what the gift is.
It is important to consider what the holidays mean to you, maybe you dislike every aspect and do not celebrate. That is great if that is what you want to do.
For me, it is coming together with family: my brother comes home; we visit without distractions of technology; we make a way too large dinner and eat way too much of it; the dogs get fed some turkey because they’re part of the family too; and we just enjoy each other’s company. The holidays don’t need the pressure that seems to be part of them in recent years. Just take a step back and reconsider what really matters this season. And do not overextend yourself! Honestly, your family wouldn’t want you to.