OnlineOption.com Christmas Message, 12/21/06
As the Holidays are Upon us…
Something has been on my mind of late that I must pass along. Over the past years as I have had the privilege and pleasure of interacting with many people regarding money, each year at this time a stark reality reasserts its gnawing intention, causing me the disquiet that prompts this missive to you.
So very often good intentioned and loving people go into debt as they seek to demonstrate their affection for those they care about. This pull to spend money that is "not really there" can also be exerted by feelings of guilt or loss, or the hope of mending relational fences.
May I suggest to you that going into debt over the Christmas Holiday will in fact be counterproductive to any virtuous or noble intentions you might have? Simply do not increase credit card debt for Christmas! I humbly implore you to consider gifts of love as shown by time spent and meaningful words spoken, rather than presents bought, and packages wrapped.
I should think that any recipient of gifts that were bought with borrowed money would find the luster tarnished and the thrill diminished if they indeed feel reciprocated love for the giver. As parents we do our children no good deed by giving them material gifts obtained in exchange for financial bondage that lasts well beyond the remembrance of the packages opened.
Will you consider what I am saying here? If you have influence over others endeavor to instruct them in this as well. My dear wife and I have made it a practice to limit the extent of material gift giving or festivity making to money that we have previously set aside for that purpose. On the years when there was little or no money there were few store bought gifts under the tree. There have been several Christmas' when our tree was obtained late on Christmas Eve when the trees at the lots are free for the taking. Those years were not at the bottom of the list of joyous and meaningful.
The spending of money simply does not equate to love and caring, no matter what the advertisements we are bombarded with may suggest. In the coming year we want greater prosperity. Prosperity in its many forms includes financial security, but it can also include an abundance of peace of mind, fiscal responsibility, and good stewardship.
Dr. Stephen Cooper