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A Wish for Peace, Hope and Understanding

dec-2016-blogI wish us all well-being, peace and understanding as we move forward into 2017. Yes, it has been a fever-pitched divisive election season. Even the winners acknowledge their victory has been disheartening to many family, friends and neighbors. They reflect back on their own post election blues. This year for many of us, it seems harder to get into the holiday spirit.

For many Americans, the “holiday spirit” is shorthand for shopping for gifts. This year, holiday marketing seems to have been taken up a notch. Black Friday and Cyber Monday used to be one-day events. This year, many offers started well before Thanksgiving, and were weeklong or longer. With robust sales figures, we can be certain this degree of advertising is the new norm.

If you shop for gifts this season, please take caution to preserve your financial well-being. That means spending money you really own, rather than the invisible money of credit cards. Be cautious about racking up holiday debt that takes the better part of 2017 to pay off. Use your debit card for spending; this is money you actually own in your account. If you use credit cards, keep the balance low enough that you can pay it off when the bill is due. Develop a holiday spending plan, and include all the trimmings and dining out, and keep to that plan. This strategy will give you a greater sense of control over your money, and your life.

Looking for ways to make your gift giving mean something in the grander scheme? Consider donations to charitable and goodwill organizations you believe in. With a changing presidency, it is possible that many organizations you consider essential will have decreased funding or no funding at all. Consider giving from yourself and on behalf of others you cherish. Giving to something larger than yourself can feel very empowering.

Here’s a simple tool for developing and maintaining a holiday spending plan.

Regardless of our political leanings, may we all move forward together with more kindness toward each other. May we have the courage for crossing lines, opening dialog and finding common ground. And may we share hope for a future in which we all feel inclusion.

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