“We have a full house this year! Family and friends are coming from all over for the holidays! I’ve got to really ‘deck the halls’ to have a full-blown Christmas for everyone!”

“I know I’m going to have a killer credit card bill in January…but I really want to make the holidays special for the kiddos. It’s what Christmas is about, right?”

Does any of this sound familiar? While the Christmas season can really be the “most wonderful time of the year”……it can also get blown WAY out of proportion. People go into insane debt over the holidays. Expectations are set at crazy heights. Practically every commercial we hear is telling us to buy more, spend more and don’t forget the newest widget because you’ll disappoint someone if they don’t get that gift.  People stress themselves out to the point of physical illness…and, seriously, what fun is that? Are we suggesting that you return the presents, take down the lights and become your local Scrooge? Nope! But we are encouraging you to ENJOY the holiday…and stay sane 😉

“How in the heck are we supposed to do that?!?!” you may ask. Good question 😉 Check out these tips to keep you calm, happy, out of debt and able to ENJOY this Christmas.

1-) Every person on your list doesn’t need to receive the gift of the century. Give gifts! Show the love! But, seriously, every person doesn’t need to receive the family farm to feel “well gifted” this Christmas!  For large families, think about having an adult pow-wow and establishing some guidelines for how the kids will get Christmas presents. Maybe your family chooses to do a “Secret Santa” or a gift card exchange party. Maybe the adults only buy presents for each other the not all the nieces and nephews. Whatever you decide, just stick with it. Especially for large families, buying gifts for all the nieces and nephews gets to be expensive and time consuming. Simplify your gift plan.

2-) Plan ahead. Do you do Christmas cards with your family photo? Awesome! If you have a great family picture, consider using a source like Vistaprint to run copies of your Christmas card in advance. Don’t wait until the month of December to start thinking about your card. In fact, some sites actually have discounts throughout the year and you can design your card in advance (with a discount) and have them printed and delivered to your home for super cheap! OR, if you have a more tech-savvy family, try a Christmas e-card. Upload your picture, create your e-card and send out via email to your entire address book. Check! Cards are off the list 😉

3-) Set reasonable expectations. This goes for yourself and for your kids and family. You are not an unlimited source of funding….and it’s not only OK to discuss this with your kids…it actually gives them a dose of reality for finances. You are not being a better parent by buying unlimited stuff. You’re just buying your kids a really, really stressed out parent in January.

Instead of rushing out to get everything on their list, ask them what their top two present choices are. Or, select one “big” present, and a few smaller ones. Or stick with the “something you want, something you need, something to eat, something to read” present idea. Also, set a reasonable expectation for yourself. If you have family coming and they ask if they can bring something…let them. If you need help in the kitchen, ask. Does your entire extended family want to rent a bus and come down to stay at your house for three weeks? It’s your call how you and your family choose to handle this one. However, there are some excellent hotel choices in Hampton Roads…just saying…..

4-) Keep things in perspective. Christmas is not about presents or fancy houses or how much money you choose to spend. All around you there are people who don’t have presents, families with sick relatives, families who have had a job loss and money is really tight, people that don’t have families at all. Look for ways to give back this Christmas. Instead of placing the focus on what you want or what presents the kids want…take a second and look around you. How can you help someone this Christmas? Who can you invite to join your family dinner that otherwise would be alone? What example do you want to give your kids?

Christmas is truly an amazing time of year. Look for ways to spread the love and joy. Take a deep breathe, choose to have an attitude of gratitude…. And ENJOY this holiday season.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Kelley Carter, CPIA




The Choice Insurance Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events.  In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations.  See what The Choice Insurance Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-416-5100 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Choice Insurance Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-416-5100.