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What Could A No-Gift Christmas Mean For You This Holiday Season?

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It’s only a few days into the beginning of the holiday gift buying season, and I’ve already spent an embarrassing amount of money on gifts.

Sure, I started my gift buying about two months ago (because I knew this holiday season would be a rough one for personal reasons). But, still. I have used up just about our entire bank account to appease the kids and everyone else on my gift buying list.

Now granted, I am a perfectionist when it comes to giving gifts. I try my hardest to get THE PERFECT gift for everyone on my list, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting.

Stay with me here.

What if we took a step back, and didn’t have a holiday year that was FULL of gifts. What if we focused on experiences and time together?

What if we decided, instead of spending the time on shopping, we spent that time on connecting as a family?

What if, instead of spending time and money on decorating, baking those mounds of Christmas cookies, and buying matchy matchy holiday outfits, we invited friends and family over to the house to have a night of board games and bonding (or whatever YOU like to do).

Is it even possible to have a Christmas that doesn’t include waterfalls of gifts shoved, stuffed, and crammed under the tree?

Sure, it’s possible. We just have to wrap our head around it, and change our thinking a little bit.

Don’t click away yet. Just listen.

I don’t know what YOUR Christmas budget is — heck, if you’re like me, you don’t really have a budget. You just kinda go for it and hope your bank account doesn’t scream too much.

But, did you know that according to Yahoo Finance, the typical person will spend “nearly $1,000 this year to celebrate the holiday season: $648 on gifts, $231 on holiday-related food and decorations, and $118 on other purchases for themselves and their families.”

That figure actually sounds really conservative to me, but HEY, let’s go with it.

Now, let’s take a step back and think about this.

Let’s imagine it’s 10 years down the road. What are your kids going to remember? That Starbucks tumbler, pooping turtle, or heated blanket you bought them as gifts? Or are they going to remember the TIME you spent together going and looking at Christmas lights, tackling that Christmas puzzle, or going head to head on that board game?

What do YOU remember about Christmas as a kid?

If I think back to what I remember about my Christmases of past, it is the TIME I spent with family. Our traditions of going to the movies together, staying up and going to that candlelight midnight service at the downtown church, and adopting a kid off the “Angel Tree” to splurge on as a family for Christmas.

Yes, I know, that last one did indeed cost money, but it wasn’t frivolous Christmas money that we spent on ourselves.

Let’s talk a little about what that money you save on Christmas will be worth in 10 years.

[If you saved just $650 from Christmas this year] At 5% interest, the person would have $1,059. At 10% interest, which wouldn’t be earned in a junk bond at today’s rates but is historically relevant to broad stock market returns, the person would have $1,686. If the person is 30, bypasses the gift purchases and waits 37 years until current Social Security full retirement age, roughly 67 years old, that single decision for one holiday season nets them a handsome $22,103.

John Hagensen, the owner and founder of Keystone Wealth Partners

That is what compound interest does for you. My husband has screamed about it for years. But, when you look at it printed out right in front of your eyeballs, you can’t deny it is kind of a good thing.

Just saving $650 (less than $1K) ONE Christmas, could earn you over $20K by the time you retire. Just think if you saved this amount over, lets say, 15 Christmases. You’d be sitting pretty at retirement!!

What the what?!? You never (at least I never) think into the future like that. It kinda blows my mind to see it in print.

This might be great for YOU, but the economy would TANK if we all did this!

If everyone, or even a fraction of the Christmas gift buyers in the U.S., decided to save instead of spend, we’d see our economy get hit. Hard. The current U.S. economy is working with a certain balanced rhythm: the savings and spending rate of Americans averages out to create a sort of equilibrium, albeit a delicate one. If there is any disruption to that balance, the economy could react like an out of balance washing machine until it starts smoking and dies.

John Hagensen, the owner and founder of Keystone Wealth Partners

Does this mean that you shouldn’t save this Christmas. No. We can just cut way back instead of ceasing and desisting on the ENTIRE gift-giving friendsy.

Everything in moderation, my friend.

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