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Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my wallet; not a single did krinkle, nor did any change jingle. So foolish was I when last May I did read, of opportune Christmas-fund banking, indeed! But who can think, "Christmas", come on now, it's May. And Mother's Day, Father's Day not far away. And summertime clothing and camp bills to pay. I'll think about Christmas on some other day...
It's about that time of year again for remembering what you forgot to do: Save money for Christmas. Unfortunately, the children not only remembered to "make a list", but they've checked it...twice as long as last year's! Now what's a parent to do? Once again you have succeeded in demonstrating the futility of controlling behavior through long-term consequences: People don't worry about Christmas in May, just as second- graders are not concerned with good study habits necessary for college; or young children enjoying an all-day summer swim with purple lips do not consider catching a summer cold; or a twosome in the midst of entertainment may not have prepared for the prevention of a threesome.
Perhaps banks, stores and the media can help design more effective means of bringing long-term consequences (e.g., Christmas funds) into focus so individuals may plan an adequate buying strategy for the holidays. Until such time, however, don't panic! Try some of these "emergency" suggestions:

  • 1-Resign yourself that everything on your Christmas list may not be reasonable. At this point, you may decide to become disappointed (disappointment requires adequate planning!) or instead, choose to allow yourself to feel good about what you are capable of providing.
  •  2- Make things. Who me? That's right, you! Bake, sew, carve, and perform other crafts to produce gifts that can be used to supplement those purchased. You may find that the value of these gifts is enhanced by the effort invested in creating them.
  • 3- List all the people for whom you plan to shop this Christmas. Next to each name, list the gifts you would care to provide if you could. Determine the total amount of funds available to you for Christmas shopping this year. Assign approximate monetary value to each of the gifts of the people on your list. If that monetary value exceeds the total funds allocated, begin deleting gifts that you decide are least important, until the list and available funds match.
  •  4- Should you decided that you absolutely must have those items you cannot afford, perhaps you can obtain a part-time job during the busy Christmas season, in order to make up the difference, financially. Many large department stores hire additional temporary salespeople in order to accommodate the sudden onslaught of holiday shoppers.
  •  5- Do a good deed for someone (that's not just for Boy Scouts, you know). That's right. In keeping with the holiday spirit, personal services offered may be perceived as more valuable by another individual than a gift you may not have been able to afford. Consider new ideas.

Find the level of Christmas sharing that's most suitable to your needs. And may you all have a joyous and meaningful holiday season!