Avoiding the Post-Christmas Money Hangover

December 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Money and Behavior

I’m speculating that for some, December 26 represents the beginning of the post-Christmas money hangover. You may know the feelings to which I am referring.The “big event” is over. Maybe friends and family have departed. Now we are anticipating the arrival of the post-Christmas credit card and bank statements. When they arrive, we might ask ourselves: “What have I done?” We’ve been there ourselves.

We have worked hard over the years to get out of that mode and to stay out. Christmas should be a time of renewal and hope, not spend and regret. More about the love and less about the money.

It’s not like we don’t spend money at Christmas. I’m not pretending to be something I’m not. But we try to use Christmas spending to meet needs, build experiences and memories, and reinforce family bonds. It is December 26 and the family are all still here at the lake. No one is itching to hit the stores or the road. We have some family activities planned today. We will assemble and operate a Lionel electric train that my parents gave to me and my older brother almost 60 years ago. We will also be planning a future family event this March, part of a Christmas gift from the older generation to the younger generation.

I walked the dogs first thing this morning. A woman standing on her back porch hollered “hello” to me. Without even thinking, I yelled “Merry Christmas!” Then I thought to myself – it’s December 26. I liked that I was able to maintain that Christmas attitude.

Balance and contentment are key for me now. Fewer of those unrealistic highs that trigger future lows – fewer emotional hangovers.

If you are headed toward a post-Christmas money hangover, now is the time to work on preventative measures for next year and beyond. I don’t have any particular advice right now for how to do that except that resolving to do it is the first step. I hope that you will find some other nuggets of wisdom and knowledge here and other places that will help.

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