Instead of drawing a forgone conclusion that you'll spend hundreds to thousands of dollars just because it's the holidays -- let's find another way. No one likes the impending debt emergency in the new year. To avoid spending beyond your means, now is the perfect time to get your financial house in order and save for the holidays.
Hands up if you spent more than you wanted to this past holiday. From gifts to entertaining to travel, it's easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit and dole out more cash than you first intended to. Now the credit card bills have started to arrive and you may be wondering where the extra money will come from?
This was the fourth Christmas with Amanda gone. It feels just like the first one with the deep sighs and sadness. I personally am not feeling that it gets easier with each year going by because the loss is still there. It's not about forgetting or getting over it. It's about missing someone you loved. Yes certainly, we have other family that we love and care about. And we don't love them any less. My experiences this Christmas season have been phenomenal for giving back. Some on my own and some with Amanda's legacy.
It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -- overspending...Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.
As we speak, there are thousands of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender folks from across the world who are not able to spend Christmas with their families this year. They have been beaten, cursed at and made to feel like they do not belong, leading them to say goodbye to their family and friends.
I'm thinking of the students who wish school was open today. The ones whose only meal each day is the one they get through a school meal program. Premier Christy Clark is probably hoping that we have forgotten about her broken promises. She won't want us to remember what she said about putting "families first" in her last election campaign.
When was the exact moment that Christmas became synonymous with buying stuff I do not know, but it seems that we've reached a point of gifting no-return. The idea of simply spending Christmas with your family without the obligatory spending and consumption is not even a possibility. If you're an average person living in a Western nation you can be pretty confident that your intended gift-receiver already has everything he or she needs and most likely lives a year where their other superfluous wants are often met.
Some are geographically distant from those they hold dear and raise a solitary glass to absent friends. Others have lost loved ones to the grave. But for many of us, "no contact" is a choice we consciously made. Loneliness is simply less painful than the agony of spending time with our toxic families.
Prior to the 1970s, house parties were an essential element of the homosexual social scene. Photographs of these private affairs are rare. The few that are available in archival collections memorialize a history of forced seclusion. One of the most tantalizing photographs I've come across in my research of Canadian LGBT history is of a trio of men attending a Christmas party in 1956. Standing in front of a decorated tree, a young man with a then-stylish pompadour delights in opening his gift while another man, who has his arm around him and another gentleman, looks on.
The calendar is jammed with events and parties. There are all those presents to buy. While this sounds like fun to the busy-bodies among us, it can be a bit of a nightmare for those who default to lazy-mode. By following my couch potato's guide to surviving the holidays, you can do what I did last year, and binge on Netflix.