The Christmas season is here. For most people that means family, friends, fun, and presents. That’s a good thing. But for almost just as many people it means debt, discouragement, and distress. (hmmm 4 F’s and three D’s… sounds like my first semester at Texas A&M.)
The negative feelings come because so many people let Christmas mess them up financially. The causes are obvious: They go into to debt for all or most of everything they do… They use their tithe to buy the presents they give, robbing themselves of the presence of God’s blessings… and they are more worried about what people might think of them if they don’t give an expensive gift. It’s all messed up.
Here’s a plan to keep all of those negatives from happening. It’s a simple plan, but it will work if you do it…
1) Only use cash for Christmas presents. I know this is almost a foreign language, but it’s what HAS to happen. You have to stop spending money you don’t have, especially on things that break or get lost in just a few days. What if you don’t have any cash? If that is the case, you have four options, the way I see it. First, you could fake your disappearance and then you won’t have to give gifts. Not such a great option. Second, just don’t give gifts. I’m not too fond of that one either. Third, you could get a second job for the holidays then use that money to buy presents. That’s a good option. Fourth, you could MAKE people presents instead of buying them. This is a great option. Two of my favorite gifts I have ever received, two gifts I still have today, are a Texas Aggie “T” my sister made me when she was a “poor” college student and a graduation gift my buddy at A & M made me from the announcement I sent him. Both gifts could be made for about 2 bucks in TODAY’s dollars. Both are very meaningful to me because they took TIME and FORETHOUGHT.
2) Stay faithful in bringing your tithe to God at the place where you worship. Your tithe should come off the top of what you make and not from the leftovers. It’s the first ten percent of your income. It doesn’t matter if it is the Christmas season or if the world is in the throes of a complete financial meltdown… income comes in and the tithe comes off the top of it. When you tithe, God promises to protect you from the financial pests in life that “nickle and dime” you to death… car troubles, health troubles, thefts, etc. It doesn’t mean that these things will NEVER happen. It just means that He will protect you from them and when He allows them to happen He will provide for your needs. Check out Malachi 3:6-18. It’s all there. Really, tithing is the foundation of any mentally healthy financial plan.
3) Give a “Reverse Christmas Gift.” Giving to others who are in need takes our mind off of our own problems. To give a Reverse Christmas Gift, just sit down and figure out what you normally would spend on gifts and then decide to only spend a percentage of that amount on presents, say 90%, then give away the rest to someone less fortunate than yourself. This could be a family in need, a ministry, or a charity. When you do give gifts to people, let them know that this year you also gave a Reverse Christmas gift.