As we move closer to the Christmas holiday I have begun to see more and more community services being done, as it is every year. Now do not get me wrong, I believe that community service is always needed and is always welcomed. My question is where is the selflessness throughout the rest of the year? Both my church and my sorority commit to at least one community service project a piece every month and the rewards are priceless. Giving does not have to be much. It could be something as simple as giving away a few pieces of clothing or shoes as we revamp our closets from season to season. What I have learned though, is that many people equate community service with work and not with giving and selflessness. As my grandmother used to say ‘child pick your lip up. No matter how bad you feel your situation is, there is always someone out there that is worse off than you. Be grateful’. Being selfless requires a certain amount of style and grace. All my life I have kind of equated this phenomenon to tithing at church; something is required in order to be blessed. A person cannot go through life only taking and looking out for self and expect good things to happen. With that being said during this holiday season let’s make someone else’s load a little lighter. I am by no means saying to cut back on the sacrifices and community service, but rather just make a vow to keep it up all year as well. Be a light for someone else this season and Happy Holidays!!!
The holidays are my favorite time of the year, or at least Christmas is. I love all things Christmas. Everything from the Christmas music to the gifts. From watching Christmas movies to wearing onesie pajamas. Most importantly though I love the gift giving. It is just something about putting a smile on someone else’s face that just gives me a sense of happiness and satisfaction. I enjoy the decorations as well. I usually put my tree up the day after Thanksgiving and we make it a family event. But what I have noticed is that Christmas has become less about family and giving and more about commercial things. Nobody is excited about the thought behind the gift but rather the gift itself. People could care less about family because they are more worried about the sales on Black Friday. As a Christian sometimes I notice that there are a great deal more Santa Claus displays than there are Nativity Scenes. For my family Christmas is the holiday that we spend at my house as a family and I try to make it a cozy and personal for my family as possible. We drink hot chocolate and sing ‘O come all ye faithful’. We watch feel good movies and make gingerbread. I even make sure everyone only puts the name of the person who will be receiving the present and not the person giving the present. I have found that this cuts down on envy and favoritism. Lastly we do some form of community service as our gift to Jesus. After all it is supposed to be a celebration of His birthday. I guess what I am saying as we enter into the holiday season don’t forget the meaning. Enjoy your holiday!!!!
With the holiday season just around the corner, I started thinking about all the budgets and finances that are going to explode in a month’s time. Although for many, shopping is only a “seasonal addiction.” For others, it is a year long struggle.
So what’s the difference between someone who is on a shopping spree versus someone who is struggling with a shopping addiction? Someone on a shopping spree has set aside an amount in advance that they plan to spend before going to the store, and they usually stay within their spending budget. On the other hand, a person who has an addiction to shopping may find themselves overspending often, racking up multiple credit card bills, lying or hiding purchases from others, experiencing financial, family, social troubles but still continuing to shop, or buying unneeded items that are never used. Keep in mind that the person struggling with the addiction has these challenges continually and not just on a one-time basis.
An addiction to shopping is a disease of the emotions. They may have feelings of boredom (anger, anxiety, worry, frustration, loneliness, poor self-esteem, shame, you fill in the blank) and then head to the mall, or they may have had a bad day at work and find themselves at their favorite store on their way home. Or they may have argued with their partner and then begin trolling the internet and making purchases to left off steam.
If you need help with your addiction to shopping, here are some things to consider: What is your trigger? What happened right before you started to blow through your credit? These questions will lead you to ask yourself, “What need does the shopping fill?” It may require you to seek short-term counseling to gain insight and address the psychological pain.
Once you can identify your triggers and the underlying pain causing the shopping addiction, replace the shopping with a healthier coping skill/habit (cooking, exercise, listening to music, etc). Be mindful of your environment and make the necessary changes. Limit outings to the mall and stores. Limit the time you spend on the internet or watching commercials. Don’t take credit cards with you when you do go to the store. Try to carry only cash. Make a shopping list of items you need to purchase.
Build a support team for yourself. Tell someone about the struggle and challenges you are experiencing. This person can become your accountability partner. Maybe you two can go to the store together so they can hold you accountable to your shopping list. There also are organizations that help with this addiction – Debtors Anonymous and Spenders Anonymous.
Seek financial counseling if you need assistance becoming debt free and getting your finances back on track.
Traditions are longstanding beliefs and/or activities that are passed down from generation to generation. Now is the time of year that so many families are gathering to partake in some of their own holiday traditions. I remember as a kid gathering with my family at my grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve to spend time together before midnight mass. We would sing carols, have delicious food, and open one gift before we went to church as a family. My grandmother and grandfather instilled that tradition, to attend church together, because they knew how important it was for our family. They insisted everyone go – even the little ones who could barely stay awake! My earliest Christmas memories were of trying to stay awake so late at church! Those were magical moment for me and are still some of my favorite memories. My family still attends church at the same place for midnight mass.