Money During the Holidays
by: Cassie Reid
“The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10 NLT). The holidays can bring our full discomfort with this Scripture to life in a split second. Money always seems to become a topic of discussion between my husband and me during the holiday season. I am the type of Christmas shopper who never feels like we have “enough.” I always feel as though we need to buy more for our family and friends. I also feel like I need to shower those I love with exorbitant amounts of baked goods, which as my mother so lovingly reminded me in middle school, do not come from ingredients the store gives away free.
Generosity can take on a life of its own and morph into something more for our own personal gain than for the people on the receiving end. Money in marriage requires agreement, or it will certainly create conflict. The stressors of the season are already out in full force; there’s no need to add another. Healthy couples must be on the same page when it comes to money during the Christmas holidays.
How can you overcome struggles with money?
Set a budget.
I know, I know—no one likes that word (except perhaps accountants). Even so, if we don’t tell our money where to go, it will take us to places we don’t want to visit. Many individuals experience “the January jolt”—when the post-Christmas credit card statements come in the mail, bringing an overwhelming financial aftermath to all the holiday cheer. If you are married, talk to your spouse about your budget. If you aren’t married, find a friend to talk to about where you plan to tell your money to go this holiday season. Our culture has made the discussion of money so taboo that we often struggle in silence. We don’t want anyone to see the shocking reality of our bank account. This secret keeping creates a culture of shame, guilt, and deception, none of which are healthy or productive.
Realize money doesn’t always buy the things that matter.
Unhurried quality time with a friend or family member is more valuable than a store gift card you snagged at the last minute. We must start to define spiritual currency instead of putting so much emphasis on monetary things.
Your holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful or full of conflict. Communicate with your spouse and together you can make decisions that will allow you to enjoy one another and truly have a Merry Christmas.