Unwealthy Holiday Habits?

Do you allow the expectations of family stress you out during the holiday season?
I can remember wanting a Chatty Cathy doll for Christmas when I was seven years old. As the youngest of five, I thought it would be wonderful to have a doll that could talk back. All of my siblings were much older than me whichatty cathych meant I spent a lot of time entertaining myself. In my mind, this doll would be the answer to my make believe world that required me to pretend that my doll friends talked back. I took every opportunity to tell my parents that the only present I wanted was Chatty Cathy. It was the one and only present that I wanted to see under the tree. I ran downstairs on Christmas morning and saw a package the exact size of the doll. However, when I opened that package, the doll inside didn’t talk. I couldn’t hide my disappointment and wondered silently why my parents didn’t fulfill my request.

The truth was, my parents simply couldn’t afford to buy an expensive doll. I remember telling myself, “When I have kids I won’t make promises that I can’t keep.” After having my children, I took herculean efforts to find that one special thing my children wanted each Christmas. I would hit all of the stores early in the season and in some cases get up before dawn at this time of year. In retrospect, I recognize that the origin of my behavior resulted from the disappointment I felt as a child. So the question I have for you is, “What holiday habits have you created that could be driving your spending behavior?”

Here are a couple of tips you can use to adopt wealthy holiday habits:

Set expectations for your children.

Have a frank discussion about what you can afford in the family budget.
Have the family pick names. Put a limit on the cost of the gift. Make sure it fits the budget of everyone in the family.

Start a Christmas Fund.

Establish a Christmas saving fund at your bank this month and set up an automatic withdrawal so that next year the funds will be available.

My children are young adults now and what we enjoy most during the holidays is simply spending time together. In fact, my daughter asked me, “Are we having guests or is it just us?” Remember the real reason for the season and enjoy the people you care about most.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving,


Deborah Owens

The Wealth Coach™


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