I'm Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas...
Times are hard, and one of the biggest things on most of the World's mind right now is planning the holidays and who they're going to be spent with and how they're going to be funded this year.
That second part is a particular challenge in 2020, because so many have been out of work for so long.
Ensuring that the people you care about the most feel loved and appreciated at this time of year is incredibly important, and one of the easiest ways we show that is with gifts.
In a time of limited resources and tightening budgets though, this can be a challenge, especially for those closest to us like our spouse, kids, and close relatives like parents and siblings.
Not having something to open on Christmas morning is a tough task to tackle, but this year, trees will definitely be a bit more sparse underneath because of the economic situation the world is in.
If you find yourself in a situation where providing material gifts is going to be a challenge this year, some critical conversations need to be had*.
For example, many years ago, my wife and I stopped giving each other Christmas Presents; much to my mother's chagrin.
The reasoning behind this was that we were literally just giving each other a $50 bill and spending an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to buy and hide what we had bought each other both physically and financially.
We eventually decided that we could do a better job of gifting if we would take stock each year and see if there was something we both wanted that was generally more expensive than the individual gifts we'd get each other.
Some beyond cool things reside in our house as a result right now, most notably our beloved surround sound system that makes movie and music night pop.
This year, we won't be getting any new techno toys like that, it's not in the cards. We're focusing on keeping our savings intact and cutting costs to ride out this situation. We've had the conversation that at Christmas, the time and the effort we put into spending the holidays with each other is the important thing.
It's a challenging conversation to have, especially if your primary way of showing or receiving appreciation and love is gift giving.
Not exchanging gifts can be a jarring experience, but replacing it with exceptionally low cost alternatives like time spent together, visiting free holiday events, or watching your favorite Christmas movies can not only be the start of a new tradition for you and yours, but it can also give you a deeper appreciation for those things in life that really matter.
Sure, a new necklace or wallet may be a great gift, but in a time of hardship, we need to make the choices that allow us to not only show those we love that we care, but also the ones that help us survive tough times.
I've said in earlier episodes of the show that cutting back, not cutting out, is the key when you are facing unemployment.
Find something little that means a great deal to your significant other, make them a special meal, or watch their favorite show with them. The little things you do for each other can mean so much more than buying something that may be set aside in a few days time as the holidays subside.
Give the gift of time this holiday season, and if your budget is looking tight, have that critical conversation. It can be a huge load off your plate.
*(NOTE: Recruiting Hell and the Author are fervent believers that children deserve Christmas and that the methods described above are not meant to be a substitute for presents under the tree on Christmas morning for the youngest and most vulnerable of us.
If you are reading this, and Christmas isn't going to happen for a child in your life, please, take the steps to contact your local resources to help make the Season bright for the youngest of us. If there is a way that Recruiting Hell can help as well, please reach out to email@example.com .
It is also the view of the show and the author that Santa Claus is indeed real. He may not be flesh and blood like we are, but the Spirit of Christmas and the Holidays - Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Humanity - is universal no matter where you live or what you believe.
May your season be the brightest it has ever been.