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The 12 days ’til Christmas

13 December

Posted by Tom Hartmann in Budgeting, Money tips, Managing debt | 2 comments

Excuse my ponderings at this late hour about all this gift-giving business, but let’s see if we can agree on what makes a gift truly a gift. It seems to me that something is a true gift if:

  1. At first you have something
  2. You give it away to someone else to make them happy
  3. You don’t have it anymore afterwards

Sounds straightforward, right?

Tip: Last-minute shopping?
• Write out a money plan ahead of time and a list of what you need – and stick to them.
• Try online – shopping on the web can save you time and money.
• Have a go at making your own gifts – jam, fudge, craft items etc.
• Short on creative ideas? Many people appreciate gift cards or movie tickets. (This will also help you stick to your budget – by purchasing a gift card of a fixed amount that your budget can handle.)
• If you really need to make a big purchase for a gift and don’t have the cash upfront, use our debt calculator  to work out how much it will really cost you and the fastest way to pay off the debt.

Unfortunately – as you probably have experienced – many times it is anything but. In fact, it can all get quite fraught with a sense of obligation, of keeping up with the Joneses, of one-upmanship or even self-esteem. All sorts of things can creep in. Suddenly, it’s about a whole lot of other things than generously making someone else happy.

I’m sure many of us have come across gifts that are more about the giver than the receiver – when ‘Oh, you really shouldn’t have!’ comes to mind. (So much for #2.)

What complicates things even further these days is the option that most of us have to borrow money on credit to pay for presents.

Are they really gifts if we’re using someone else’s money? I’m not so sure. After all, we’re not really giving something that’s ours (#1), and we certainly still have the bill to contend with afterwards (#3)!

I suppose you could say that when we buy on credit, what we are truly giving is all the time that we will use to slave away and eventually pay off the present. It can certainly drag on: one overseas study found that, by the end of November, 13% had still not paid off the bill for last year’s Christmas!

So even though some will say that debt is unavoidable this season (especially during these last 12 days before Santa comes to town), we here at Sorted beg to differ. It needn’t always be so. Hopefully our sidebar of tips above can help you rein-in last-minute splurges and steer the Christmas sleigh clear of dumb debt.

Here’s to true generosity – giving gifts that are ours to give, and that truly transport our loved ones to that wonderful world of Christmas morning. 

Post your comment


#1 2:02pm


Common sense wisdom. Thank you!
#2 8:51am


Noone would want a gift if they knew it put the giver under financial stress.