Thursday, December 6, 2007

more green, less red this christmas

Help! I'm dwowning... in debt!
I know I have already used the above picture on my blog but today I'm using it for a totally opposite reason as before. I have kept listing "things to buy" for Christmas gifts and buying gifts seems to be on most of our minds right now. Well, I read an interesting article in LDS Living magazine (written by Don Milne) that made me remember that we shouldn't go crazy with our Christmas shopping. The article was titled "More Green, Less Red This Christmas" and it was about staying out of debt and not overspending as we shop for gifts. Hence the picture - don't go down the drain with debt. Red is a very fitting color for that as well.
The article started with this fun twist of the popular Christmas song "on the twelve days of Christmas" and I just had to share this with you all.
"This holiday season many people will be singing this familiar tune with their money...
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a charge card in a fake tree...
and so forth until day twelve when...
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
Twelve months of payments
Eleven line advances
Ten collectors calling
Ninety days same as cash
Eight checking boo-boos
Seven maxed-out Visas
Six months zero interest
Five Visa checks
Four payday loans
Three loan extensions
Two percent back
And a charge card in a fake tree.
Then the article goes on to talk about each of these "sweet" gifts in detail and it ends with advice on how to avoid getting in debt at Christmas. Today I went shopping at the huge West Edmonton Mall and I could have easily gone beserk and spent TONS of money. It doesn't take much talent. It's quite easy to do. We all need to remember that material things break, rust, go out of style, collect dust on the shelves, etc. I'm not the one to say we shouldn't have gifts at Christmas. I enjoy getting them just as much as the rest of you. All I'm saying is that we should all watch that we don't sell our inner peace for all the junk we tend to buy at Christmas. I HATE being in debt and happen to know that it is the number one reason for divorce even. So let's all remember what really matters about Christmas and let's not overspend. Ok?
What are some things we can give as gifts that won't cost much? This is the best idea I came up with: Anything to do with family history. For example: we are still waiting for Jay's babybook from his mom, no gifts needed, we'd love to just get our hands on his baby pictures and stories. I would love to get my hands on anything family history related. Old photos with stories behind them. A recording of a relative's personal history. A children's story book read and recorded by a family member. A collection of video clips in a cd-rom. Typed out/handwritten personal history book. Share your photos with your relatives but don't forget to send a fun story with it too. A Christmas tree ornament made with a family/personal photo. The list could go on and on. These and time spent with loved ones are even better gifts than any books/cd's/dvd's/junk I've mentioned on my gift lists.
Wondering how to spend that time together with loved ones? How about some friendly service to those in need. Organize some sort of charitable function for your family & relatives. Robin's work place has a Christmas tree on which people can put hats, gloves, scrafs or hygiene items. The "decorations" will be donated to the charity in town that helps homeless people. Why not do something like that as a family? There are tons of opportunities for service. I can guarantee that if you do something like this, the memories of that service done together will be some of the fondest memories you will ever create with your family. There are so many lonely people out there as well (think of old folk's homes for example or hospitals) who could just use someone to spend time with them. No money needed. You'll be so green and so happy!
This beautiful modern day menorah was designed by Jonathan Adler. Don't go buy it! Just admire it. :)
Pondering about how to help the really poor in this world? Some numbers for you first:
3 billion - number of people who live on less than $2 a day.
1 in 5 - ratio of the world's population without access to safe water.
$46,500 - the average annual income in the United States.
$141 - the average annual income in Ethiopia.
1.3 billion - number of people who get by on less than $1 a day (70% of whom are women).
1 in 3 - ratio of the world's population without adequate shelter.
1 billion - estimated number of children living in poverty.
How to help?
LDS Philanthropies is our church's charitable organization. The reason why I like to donate through our church is that 100% of the money I donate goes directly to those in need. None of it is used for administrative costs, salaries or other similar costs. Thanks to the thousands of volunteers who give their time as a charitable donation. If you go to this web site, check out the two main charities that most likely will interest you: humanitarian aid or perpetual education fund. Read some of the articles about the help provided in the past and you can't help but be inspired to share in the helping. And not just at Christmas, this would be a great monthly habit to get into. Too much suffering in this world. Let's all do our little share to help. Every effort counts.
A bit different message on my blog today but so very needed. Please feel free to share your own ideas about "no money or hardly any money needed gifts".


  1. Scary... Appeni aina sanoo, etta kaikkein helpointa on velkaantua, mutta vaikeinta paasta veloista eroon. True.

    Hyvia lahjaideoita sinulla. Mukavaa viikonloppua!

  2. Me ollaan sanottu jo koko suvulle, ettei aikuisten välillä liiku YHTÄÄN lahjoja! Ne muutamat lapset, mitä meidän suvussa on, saavat lahjoja ja aikuiset eivät edes mieti niitä. Ei jaksa stressata joulua, eikä varsinkaan velkaantua sen takia. Ossinkin kanssa sovittiin, että no presents this year. Hyvä päätös. Muutenkin liian kaupalliseksi mennyt joulu mun mielestä, mistään ei enää hehkuteta, paitsi lahjoista!! Turhauttavaa.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! :)