Philippines perhaps has the longest Christmas season. It begins right when -ber months come. The hype is amplified when December comes; since most Filipinos are already thinking of how to spend their time and money for the holidays especially receiving their Christmas bonus. It’s that time of year again when we think of spending time with family and friends, just enjoying the Christmas vacation. We might even play some hide and seek with our godchildren, nieces and nephews. We’d probably have to get real good at it if we constantly forget to buy them gifts.
Kidding aside, Christmas is a good time to feel the love and make it go around. I don’t mean the romantic kind of love; that’s for Valentine’s day. But if you really want to make it about that, go right ahead. Okay, what I’m saying is that you’ll have some freedom to spend some time how you want to. It’s also that time of year when people are giving gifts to one another. People do this to show how much they care or just to show how much they have. On one hand, you could spend a lot on gifts and on vacation. On the other, you might think of just not giving gifts at all so that you could save. It’s not really a choice between just two really bad options. There are alternatives and choices in between.
The Perfect Gift
Many people have this notion that the best gifts are the most expensive. Well, that’s not really the case. You don’t have to break your budget just to make the ones you love feel special. Not all gifts are tangible but it is still worth giving things that serve some purpose in someone else’s life or just something they could remember you by.
There are some default gifts we buy like mugs, shirts, towels, etc. Unless, the people you give them to actually need or want them, these often just get piled up to a stack of things that will never be used. In general, the gifts must either be useful, valuable, long-lasting or personalized.
A mug may be useful but if a person already has several of them, the other mugs just won’t be used. One idea is to give things that people will always need more of. Food may have this characteristic; however, it will not last long. Value is quite arbitrary at times but there are things that most people will consider valuable. These are things that can be sold at a significant price like jewelry. This, however, might be too expensive for our budget especially if you have a lot of people to give gifts to.
There are ways to make these gifts special. Gifts don’t necessarily have to last a lifetime just long enough that it will help people be reminded of you. Do some research on the people you’re going to give gifts to, so that you’ll know what will be useful to them. You can give umbrellas because they tend to get damaged by strong winds or lost when left. You can also give shirts because people grow out of their clothes. For those who work in offices, pen organizers will be very useful. The important thing is that you write sincere messages, even short ones, on the gift tag or in a greeting card.
A break from the everyday things we do is important to keep us motivated. We need to stop and sharpen our saw or we just might simply need to take time to relax. Time is one commodity we can never buy back. It would be worth spending for if you’d like to experience new things which may not be possible in your old age.
If you already have an allocated fund for travel, this Christmas season may be a good time to spend it. However, if you plan to spend all that Christmas bonus, stop and think about it. There may be other ways to spend your holidays and surely there are better ways you could use your Christmas bonus for.
The key to saving up for these vacations is planning ahead. The first thing you need to decide on is what activities you’d like to try and find out where you can get to do these activities. You must then have an estimate of the cost, so that you can save up. It is a good thing to keep in mind to overestimate the price than to underestimate it. Booking flights in advance may also help you get tickets at lower prices.
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Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
You may be familiar with Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. That’s where we get the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. It is a bleak future that Scrooge is shown; however, even in the story, it wasn’t too late for him to change his ways. You too can avoid a bleak Christmas future where there is very little on the table by sharing what you have now with your future self.
Yes, there are a lot to spend for during this season but before spending, remember to save first. A portion of your Christmas bonus should first be saved, another portion should go into investments. If you haven’t started yet, it would be a good time to start when you receive your Christmas Bonus. If you already have investments, adding funds to them will increase your passive earnings. Savings and investments are forms of sacrifice now that enables you to share what you have with your future self.
In summary, the perfect gift is one that will let your loved ones know how much you care. And the perfect vacation is one that will make you happy just to feel alive.
MysterE is the stage name of Earl Wong, a magician, educator and entrepreneur. He has dedicated his time and effort to creating educational materials with a sprinkle of magic. He is also a financial advisor affiliated with Sun Life Financial which allows him to personally spread financial literacy.