Holiday Traditions

Thanksgiving.

I remember waking up at 3 AM during my early childhood and teen years to drive to Napa for Thanksgiving. I didn’t have to drive and that was fine by me. Normally, I would sleep for a couple more hours and then be wide awake, looking to see how far we traveled. We would visit my great grandmother who lived in Sonoma county on a beautiful vineyard. Unfortunately, when she passed, so did the tradition of driving 8.5 hours in a motor home with the extended family. It was a tiny home, but it was filled with an amazing amount of love.

The fresh air, the train track, the grapes on the vine and the smell of turkey/stuffing cooking could put a smile on anyone’s face. Sure we had our differences, but this frail, elderly woman (whose legacy has continued on for generations) was the key to the holiday. We would go for long walks, make a run to the nearest grocery store and play games. Lots. Of. Games. I suppose that’ where my love for games really began. It was fun to see cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and other cousins (who we rarely ever got to see).

Christmas.

Year after year I was amazed at how the entire house that I grew up in transformed into this magical wonderland of red and green. We had a real tree, and my allergies would flare up. I typically got some kind of cold; I didn’t mind. The lights strung on the outside of the house were the old style bulbs – you know the ones I am talking about. The kind of incandescent lamps that would burn your finger if you touched them when they were on too long. One year, they burned a hole in the doily arm chair cover!

The Feast. Since we usually were feeding a decent amount of people, an egg scramble dish consisting of 5 dozen eggs, bread crumbles, cheese, onions, ham/sausage, among other ingredients. There were the essential sugar cookies and Sees’ candies on the table as well. This meant that there was a whole lot of love poured into the meal and that bellies were going to be filled with delicious goodness.

Presents. I never really understood why we got presents until it was explained to me in a way that I will never forget. You see, in my family, we believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and came to be on earth but not of the earth. When the wise men (magi) came to find him in the stable, they offered presents to the King. In the same respect, we give gifts knowing that the ultimate gift was God sending his Son down from Heaven to live on the land. I imagine the joy on their faces would have been something to behold.

Of course, the Christmas season has been commercialized by retail and big box stores for decades. However, I think the Grinch said it best: ” ‘Maybe (he thought) perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means something a little bit more.’ ” There has to be more to life during these seasons than food and presents and holiday hustle and bustle.

People should not have to go into debt spending money on people that they love. 2020 is definitely no exception. If you plan ahead, you will be prepared for any outcome. We all know that Christmas comes the same time of year every year and it astonishes me how many people rationalize spending outside of their means. We recommend setting aside a small amount every pay period until the event arrives. Then, you won’t have to use credit cards to pay for things you cannot afford.

Start a new holiday tradition. Don’t fall into old spending habits. Be weird! That being said, we would like to extend our warmest wishes during this holiday season. Stay safe, be present with your family/friends, and remember that a new year is right around the corner!

**If you wish to start your New Year’s Resolution early, please contact us for your consultation.**

Published by MadsenFinancialCoaching

Madsen Financial Coaching was created to bring awareness to personal finance. When you pay attention, you win! We work with clients to understand their behavior and relationship with money, as well as basics of personal finance such as: following a budget, eliminating debt and building an emergency fund to name a few. We want you to succeed, and it starts with your willingness to put in the work.

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