Tis the Season to be Broke?

santa hat broke.JPGYou know your paradigm has shifted when you commiserate more with Bob Cratchit rationing a single lump of coal than you rejoice with Ebenezer Scrooge in vowing to serve his fellow man and keep Christmas in his heart all the year.

Obviously a lot of folks are unemployed this season, and many who are working won’t be receivng the bonus they were accustomed to enjoying in previous years. Where the temptation to overspend might have seemed merely unwise in years past, this year it seems it could even be unrecoverable, perhaps beginning a long struggle in 2010.

Most of us were probably due to trim back our holiday expenditures and expectations. We haven’t been devastated when the Christmas bills comes due in January based on the implicit assurance that there would be other raises, bonuses or hours to pick up later. There are no such assurances now.

It’s tough on us moms because we feel it is incumbent upon us to produce the holiday for our families. We bake (even if we never do so otherwise), burn smelly candles to invoke the holiday spirits, deck the halls and walls, and hunt high and low for gifts we imagine will delight the kids. This is tremendous pressure, more than people seem to realize (and by “people” I mean anyone who is eating food we prepared) and of course it is all self inflicted. We imagine that the holiday won’t even happen for the family otherwise.

So we must find a way to balance the desire to fulfill everyone’s Christmas wishes with the reality of our pocketbooks. Maybe the best thing a BirminghamMom can do is determine not to go for broke this holiday. We haven’t been clipping coupons and skipping manicures for nothing. The last thing we need to do is lose our resolve now. Some fiscal restraint now will be the best means of avoiding a holiday hangover in 2010.