Aside from the obvious pecuniary benefits, a stronger bank account, less debt, and more savings, spending less at Christmas time can actually enhance your holiday enjoyment.
Americans typically have grown up with the idea that more stuff means a better celebration, but this kind of extravagance rarely produces the peace and relaxation that we envision for this time of year, and often just ends up creating more chaos.
These lesser-known benefits may help you decide to forgo the spending free-for-all, and focus on what really matters this Christmas.
- Less stress: Dealing with crowds and icy roads while you frantically search for each item on your list can generate serious amounts of stress. The entire hustle and bustle of the holiday season makes this even worse. Then add to that the multitude of people who have sniffles, sneezes, and coughs, and you are just asking for a bummed out holiday where you can’t even taste your mother-in-law’s famous cake that she only makes once a year. Deciding to spend less at Christmas reduces the chances that you’ll get sick, or develop an ulcer due to the incredible stress.
- Guilt Free January: Many Americans go through the holiday season with blinders on and happily charge whatever they want on their credit cards. The shocker comes in January when they get their monthly statement or, worse, statements. Opening that dreaded envelope and seeing the balance, rapidly compounding interest, late fees, new monthly payment and possibly even an over limit fee can really bring you down. The real joy of cutting back and spending less at Christmas is knowing that you won’t be paying for Christmas in future monthly installments.
- True Focus: Spending less at Christmas allows you to focus on what is really important. It may be spending quality time with family and friends, volunteering for those less fortunate, or taking time to visit choir and nativity displays, whatever makes your holiday bright can be better enjoyed if you don’t feel the need to rush out for last minute gifts. I knew a family that kept the number of presents at three, reminiscent of the Savior’s three birthday gifts. Spending less helps you stay focused on the things that will make this time of year really meaningful.
- Chance to Relax: Many people take time off from their jobs over the Christmas holiday only to run around like crazy, trying to get everything done. The hectic routine of spending every weekend and off hour running from mall to mall, even pulling all-nighters just to wrap the multitude of presents, can be downright exhausting. Remember that this is your holiday time, sit back and enjoy it. If you only purchase a small, token gift for everyone on your list, you will be able to spend more time with your family and friends and less time with the clerk at your teen’s favorite store.
Nevertheless, just because you’re spending less, doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice on thoughtfulness. So many great stores are able to engrave your gifts, or offer inexpensive, yet beautiful, customizable items that will make your gift original. This type of personalized gift shows how much you care, and is really appreciated for the consideration it shows.
Don’t overlook the simplicity and idealism of these benefits. If everyone took a little time to spend less over the holidays, Christmas would be less stressful, more affordable and more enjoyable for all.