It will be on December 25th this year, but you knew that already. You know it because Christmas is December 25th every year.
And yet, every year millions of people seem to be caught off guard. They rush around in the week prior, complaining about the crowds of people who waited so long to pick up gifts for their loved ones – oblivious to their own part in the crazed ritual of “last-minute shopping”.
The crush of bargain hunters & added stress isn’t even the worst of it, the worst of it is all those people going into debt for gifts they can’t afford – and then paying interest on that debt until the sale-priced coffee maker costs more than a trip to pick beans with Juan Valdez.
There is a simple solution: START NOW.
You don’t have to do your shopping yet, though you could. What you absolutely should do is plan your spending. Right now, this week and every week, put some money away towards your yuletide gifting. Whatever you can afford, take from your ‘main’ account and put it somewhere safe that it won’t be easily accessible.
What, you can’t afford $10 a week now? Guess what – that means you won’t be able to afford $10 a week after Christmas when that expense comes with extra, compounding interest. Plan ahead. Save yourself stress, save yourself money – get back to enjoying the Holidays.
Personal note: Even better than store-bought gifts are homemade gifts from the heart – at least to me. Or service gifts, I’d rather have someone get my oil changed or wash my car for me (something I *always* put off) than give me another candle, no matter how good it smells 🙂 Odds are your loved ones would prefer something from the heart to something from the mall. In my family we make homemade ornaments for each other; even though participation has waned a bit in recent years, it is still my second favorite part of the season (after the strawberry waffles 😀 )
If I have turned you off on Christmas shopping altogether, check out Scroogenomics…which is exactly what you would expect from a book with that title. I don’t agree with all his conclusions, but he does make some solid points
Why the backlash against the Ice Bucket Challenge?
It amazes me the number of people smugly condemning the #ALSicebucketchallenge, especially when most of them clearly have no understanding of what it is – and certainly can’t be bothered to watch one, or read about them, to get the truth.
It isn’t about “narcissism”, it is a fun gimmick that promotes awareness AND fundraising. ($53 million so far) With that amazing boost in capital, The ALS Association can fund not only research, but offer even more help & support to those affected by the disease. That is awesome. Why in the world would you want to dump your negativity on something so positive?
Also irritating (at least to me) are they people who posted cryptic statuses (“black lace”, “pink” – as in the color of their bra, for breast cancer awareness, or “I like it on the counter”, “I like it near the door” – as in where they leave their purse, for ??? awareness) and figured that was activism, but somehow the viral sensation that has resulted in such generosity is “just self-aggrandizing millennials”. Hogwash. The demographic is much larger than that and the money is coming in. Even if it were just a bunch of selfie-taking kids, who cares – it is still working.
I have friends who have lost, and friends who are losing, loved ones to this awful disease. In their honor I did the challenge – which also involves donating money – and in their honor I ask that you consider doing the same. If ALS is not a cause that speaks to you, make that donation to a charity that does.
Today I found myself sucked in to a marathon of the ghostly Discovery Channel show, A Haunting.
Not that I am a believer in ghosts & ghoulies, but I do enjoy things that are creepy – especially this time of year. In watching episode after episode, a couple of things became clear.
These hauntings almost all take place in old homes, hundreds of years old. At some point in the “investigation” the homeowner – or the psychic researcher they’ve hired – discovers that a previous resident died in the house. Everyone is shocked and horrified by the news. Now, even in this day and age, people still regularly die at home. Hundreds of years ago, I am pretty sure most deaths took place at home. Even if the original owner didn’t die “within years of completing construction” (which would also seem common considering life expectancy of the time) it wouldn’t seem unreasonable that at some point in 250 years some resident would have had a heart attack, or cancer, or tripped down the stairs, or choked on a rutabaga… In other words, other than a brutal murder, not really anything shocking or scary about “died at home”
In all but one episode, the “haunted” believed in ghosts prior to any paranormal activity and engaged in some sort of behavior that they “knew” would challenge/invite/anger the spirits (Ouija boards, seances, pentagrams…) If you believe something is going to happen, the likelihood of you experiencing it is considerably higher
In all but one episode, the “haunted” reported a sense of foreboding prior to buying or occupying the home. I don’t accept the paranormal stuff, but if I was made physically ill when touring a property, I wouldn’t place an offer on it. Of course, horror movies would be a lot shorter if people followed their gut.
All the ghosts, at some point, make their presence known by pulling the blanket(s) off the bed. Why would a poor trapped soul spend their energy making sleeping people cold? Is there some new ghost orientation where they get a checklist; pull off the blankets, make the lights flicker…
Cell phones & webcams seemingly capture images that are clear enough to convince even the most skeptical of family friends they are in the presence of spirits, but not clear enough to actually use in the production of any of the episodes
I needed some sand for a craft project, which seemed a simple enough ingredient. Unfortunately, you generally have to buy a bunch. I tried other things, but nothing looks enough like sand for my taste.
It eventually dawned on me to try pet stores because aquariums use sand. Sort of. They use multi-colored sand you can buy in small amount, or regular sand you can buy in bulk. I certainly don’t need 25 pounds, thankyouverymuch. I went home empty-handed.
Then I remembered lizards..hermit crabs…reptiles…maybe? Yes. Smaller bags, tamer colors. Bingo. Vacillated between a couple of brands and tone combos, but finally decided the premium calcium sand was the right balance of pretty & sandy. I grabbed the bag quickly and paid without much more thought.
Tonight, I finally got to my project and all went well, the sand was p e r f e c t. Joy, I can actually see if my idea works.
I cleaned up my work space and left everything to dry overnight. Then, as I turned off the light and glanced back into the room I noticed something was…glowing. In the dark. On my craft table. I switched on the light to check it out and found that, in my haste, I had grabbed the bag of glowing sand (this is a thing with lizards?)
So, I don’t think it will have a negative effect on my original project, and it could definitely be fun for future ones. As friends & long-time readers know, I love things that go glow in the night. If nothing else, I will certainly enjoy having it around 😀