This blog is a bit off my norm, but I want to take this time to reflect on the importance of this month. December. It is almost paradoxical. There is such a frenzied aspect to the month, yet at the same time so much joy and wonder. Around the world, it is estimated that “45% of the world population celebrates Christmas in some way or another” as noted by Journeyz.co, and, in America, according to a Gallup poll, 93% celebrate Christmas. Needless to say, a large percentage of the population celebrate the Christmas season in some fashion. Celebrate or not, we can get way too bogged down in this holiday and can get consumed with the statistics of the amount of time and money surrounding Christmas. But this blog is not about that. This is about the joy I wish all of you find during this wonderful time of the year.
It is fascinating to delve into all of the different Christmas traditions around the world. For example, while most people in America put lights on their houses and trees, in Greece, a seafaring country, it is customary to decorate their boats. In England, children hang their stockings on their bedposts rather than on the chimney mantles which is more traditional in the United States. Other traditions surround food. For example, in Japan, many celebrate Christmas with a feast from Kentucky Fried Chicken. In fact, KFC in Japan has its highest sales on December 24 which is “ten times busier than KFC Japan’s annual average” as noted by Mint. In Poland and Polish communities around the globe, there is a tradition of sharing a piece of a very thin square wafer that is decorated with images of the Nativity on it to begin the Christmas Eve dinner. The wafer is called the Oplatek. Each person present breaks a piece off of the wafer and then shares a greeting with the other diners before passing it to the next person.
From decorating to food all around the world there are different customs and unique ways to celebrate Christmas. To me it is such a wonderful opportunity, no matter how you celebrate it, to share time with family and friends. It is also a wonderful time to continue old traditions and to begin new traditions with your immediate family. These are the things upon which memories are built. Take this time to reflect on some of your fondest Christmas memories. Chances are your most cherished memories are not about what you got but are more about what you did and with whom. For me, December is the perfect time to create, build, and reinforce those lasting memories. I challenge you to take time to do that. Make time to pause and reflect on your many blessings and all the good that you have in your life. Soak in the joy of the season and be truly present in the immediate. Don’t get too caught up in the frenzy and the hype. Don’t buy into the commercialism. Enjoy the lights, the holiday food, and the music. This month, right now, it is the time to take stock in your assets – not your portfolio assets, I’m talking about all of your intangibles. January and the rest of the months will provide ample time to worry about the tangible things in your life. But now, as we near Christmas, I hope you take time to slow down and enjoy..
Having a financial plan all year long will enable you to sit back and relax, taking in the essence of Christmas, rather than stressing about the expenses you will incur. It is fundamental to plan ahead and to budget properly. We all know that Christmas is December 25th, and that there will be added expenses because of it. Whether those expenses are buying gifts, decorating your home, or entertaining friends and family, there are additional expenses. Don’t let a lack of planning and preparation dampen your holiday spirit. It can be stressful if you are not prepared. How much better to be in a financial position to really enjoy the holiday and all it entails rather than dreading it. It truly is a wonderful time of the year.
I would love to hear from you about your favorite holiday memories and your family traditions. If you don’t have any traditions, perhaps now is the best time to start one. From my family to you and your family, I wish you much joy and peace and the merriest of Christmases.