The most valuable things we have money can’t buy: Love, health, happiness. Happy holiday and savor the rich moments no matter how broke you are. They are priceless!
The irony of holidays in bad economies is that sometimes, when we have the best incomes, we have the least time to spend with the family. But if a family is all spending lots of time together, but they are spending that time too broke to pay their bills or facing foreclosure or eviction, it hard to be spending ìquality time! And from a close look at that picture is seems bleak and hopeless. Sometimes the stress and pressure lead to strained patience and regrettable behavior. Itís hard to be patient, warm, humorous, and positive when it feels like the cards are stacked against you and all your efforts are leading down a dead end street! But stepping away from the picture is the secret that can give you a reality check that you can cash today to realize that life is too short to let financial woes take away all the special moments a family has together. Especially when young children are around. They wonít be young forever.
And the interesting thing about very young children is that they donít necessarily like rich parents. Very young children need lots of things, but the things they need the most are free. And spending 16 hours a day away from home at work, even if you are bringing home the biggest paychecks of your life, is not young childrenís favorite scenario! Having a mom and dad sit on the floor with them reading a story, or cuddling together, or taking a walk, or drawing a picture, or just taking the time to really get to know each other and become friends, is an invaluable investment that imprints young kids with self-confidence that will change their lives much more than an expensive birthday party or Christmas present. And these things are FREE. AND these things are the hardest to give sometimes when a busy career takes control of every waking hour.
A look at the list of the most financially successful people I know confirms this principal. Especially after these people retire, they all reflect on their lives and at some point confide some similar secret over a couple of beers: ìMy biggest regret is that I didn'tít get to spend more time with my kids when they were young!î
Harry Chapin summed it in the song, ìCat's in the Cradleî. The song is told in first-person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son. Though the son repeatedly asks him to join in childhood activities, the father always responds with little more than vague promises of spending time together in the future, which is peppered with images from nursery rhymes. While the son longs to spend time with his father, he continues to admire his father as a role model and tells him that he will be just like him when he is an adult. The third verse shows the son now having his own life in college and the father now wants to spend time with him. However, like his father, the son now does not have time for his father, pursuing his own life.
No being too broke to pay your bills is not a good thing! But if you step back from the picture and stop viewing life a single day or week, but pull back and loot at a few years, you find that financial problems come and go. There are ìhaveî years and there are ìhave notî years. And very often we find that in the ìhave notî years more special moments happened that we can treasure forever.
In this light, letís look at free ways to celebrate the holidays togetherÖ
Jenny Cantrell came up with a creative approach and details its success on her bog story (http://www.huliq.com/4905/80329/free-happy-birthday-deals): ìJenny was out of money and out of ideas as to how to celebrate her two childrenís upcoming birthdays which were only a few days apart. She asked her friends for ideas and she was directed to a money-saving website called More With Less Today.
She found free happy birthday deals for both children and ended up packing the day with trips to Toys-R-Us, Burger King, Childrenís Place, Cold Stone Creamery and Hollywood Video. At each stop she redeemed free birthday offers that she signed up for after searching the website.
Jenny say the kids had a great time and as they drove to the next stop, they watched videos from birthdays past. They spent next to nothing, but with a little prior planning and a tank of gas, ended having a very memorable dayî.
Essentially Jennyís approach is quality time and that approach seems to work!
Historically and sadly, the Christmas season-induced stress (http://www.alternet.org/workplace/123563/?page=entire )seems to bring many people to their breaking point. If the true spirit of the holidays is not understood, the spirit of Christmas can become more like a demonic possession. That is too much the fault of the pressures placed on society by intentionally planting an equation and an expectation: ìMaterial Gifts = a Merry Christmasî. This equation greatly benefits merchants, toy and gift manufacturers, but it can be fatal to families struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables! So why not take Jennyís approach and my beer drinking buddiesí confession and apply it all to a merrier Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year's, Ramadan or Winter Solstice. Figure out free ways to spend quality times together. There are lots of free entertainment websites on-line. The hint is most of the free ones donít end in dot-coms. Santa Claus is willing to help on this all-for-free Christmas Website featuring enough fun games and educational games and animations to keep you and your family busy all year: Santa Claus All Free Christmas Website (http://www.santa.net)
Great gift ideas for parents, friends, teachers, grandparents, and others. Check out these 101 easy gifts to make for Christmas or any occasion (http://santa.net/santa-claus-christmas-blog/2009/08/21/101-great-free-gifts-to-make/). Another interesting article is Things to do During Christmas Holidays (http://blog.worldvillage.com/family/things_to_do_during_christmas_holidays.html) Even if you donít have an Internet connection, libraries are fun to visit and have Internet, books, DVDs, music all free!
The most valuable things we have money canít buy: Love, health, happiness. Happy holiday and savor the rich moments no matter how broke you are. They are priceless!