We are nearing that “holly jolly” time of year where people are delving into their pockets to buy all those Christmas goodies for their loved ones. But beneath the smiling faces may be the doubting worry of “Do I have enough money for all of this?”
In the UK with the bedroom tax and vast unemployment a lot of people are trying to depend on benefits to try to support themselves through the winter months. You may, or may not have heard that people on benefits are living “the easy life” taking drugs, doing what they want, getting into trouble etc. However this is the minority. Sadly it gets more publicised than the reality of many people in their homes struggling to pay their bills and having so much as £1 left for them at the end of the month (sometimes even less than that) – This is the majority.
I can’t say for certain about Americans as I do not live there, I can only use facts that I can find online (and we know that sometimes credibility can be quite weak online…) So if you are an American struggling for money this Christmas, I’m sorry for your struggles and know how hard it can be. Keep trying to make the best of what you have and don’t succumb to drugs and other vices – you are better than that. Though I would say the few drinks on Christmas is acceptable! (And New Years of course)
In England, it’s been a really big struggle this year, people throwing themselves in-front of on-coming traffic, throwing themselves off high bridges. Becoming homeless due to not being able to pay their rent… Elderly people – men and women, being forced to live on the streets because they can’t afford the Bedroom Tax. It’s just been a really tough time for the majority of people this year. I fear my family would have suffered the same fate if it weren’t for inheriting some money. Though it’s a shame that we are having to use it to live on, I’d rather do that, then not live.
After all of this I’d like to list a few things I would like everyone to do this Christmas, if they are on hard times or not…
- Visit the family & Friends – close friends are family too.
- Be giving towards others – It’s not all about the receiving… No really.
- The little things count – If you know someone struggling for money this time of year, it’d be super kind if you lent a hand if you could. Going home for a Christmas Dinner? Bring something with you and contribute!
- Be thoughtful with your gift giving – It’s not all about chocolate! If you give someone something practical that they could do with, you can be the best person ever and see if you can get it for them. Doesn’t have to be huge though! Like a bag or a new pair of gloves to keep warm through the winter.
- Got little ones? – Children ask for everything at Christmas and you don’t want to disappoint them. It’d be fair to tell them that although Santa comes and brings you all nice presents, he leaves Mummy and/or Daddy a Bill to pay at the end of it. (Santa’s on a tight budget too…) You can instead relish more in the making of Christmas decorations together and the idea of a magical Christmas through this. Don’t feel too bad if you can’t get everything for your children… Children should learn they can’t always get what you want. Also if you focus on the side of Christmas that is fun and light-hearted, the children will get too distracted to think about the presents they didn’t get anyway!
- Make it more meaningful – It’s not all about the money, let’s be realistic. People say that it is, but you choose how much you spend. Use the day instead to re-connect with people, share stories, play games, watch a film, eat food and be happy within your surroundings. When you get to a certain age, you stop expecting a lot of presents anyway. So don’t be so hard on yourself.
- Really can’t afford Christmas right now? – Well as long as you don’t have little ones between 1 – 8 years old, I see no reason why the family can’t decide together to RE-ARRANGE Christmas! If you literally have no money and things are so tight, you are scraping by to pay the bills this winter month. Have your Christmas next year perhaps… February or March time. This gives you more time to prepare and don’t forget all the huge sales on after Christmas! This idea might seem a bit strange so instead of calling it Christmas, you can call it “Present Day.”
- Nothing is more valuable than your time – Finally this links to spending time with the family really. But Don’t let anyone you know be alone this Christmas. If you are unsure what a friend might be doing if they are living alone, ask them to stay with you. If you have the space of course and if you live with your parents – ask them first! Christmas is a time for people to get together and share in the experience of a great day. No one should be alone on Christmas, It’s probably one of the most happiest and loneliest time of the year. Reach out and be a part of a welcoming family or friends.
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more.” – Dr. Seuss, The Grinch.
The most important thing I would say, is be as thoughtful as you can this time of year, reach out to those who need help. People are proud and stubborn sometimes so they won’t admit defeat. Be a good friend and help them. Not just for Christmas, but all year round.
Thanks for reading!
Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays / Feliz Navidad / Joyeux Noel / Fröhliche Weihnachten !!!
Until the next time ~