Why You Should Replace Holiday Spending With Generosity

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What was the best Christmas present you ever received as a child?

You can probably still picture it now and remember being overwhelmed with joy as you carefully tore the paper off the box. Maybe you had been dreaming about it and dropping hints to your parents for months. Finally, it was right in front of you.

In that moment, you didn’t need anything else in the world.

As adults, though, we’re not always so easily satisfied, especially around this time of year. It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas spending frenzy driven by marketing schemes designed to make us think we need more than we actually do.

You see the “Spend more, save more” signs in a display window and suddenly you need twice as much as you originally did when you walked into the store. Fifty percent off Christmas decorations? Better fill your cart to the brim with garland and ornaments … even though you already have more at home than you can fit on your tree.

And then there’s the worst offender of all: Black Friday.

Did you know that Americans are projected to spend $87 billion — yes, with a “b” — this Black Friday and Cyber Monday? That’s an average of almost $400 spent per person in just two days!

Recent studies have shown that the Christmas shopping craze is doing more harm than just draining our bank accounts, though. Turns out it may actually be affecting our mental health.

Between dashing through stores, trying to fill the empty space under our trees with gifts, and shopping for the big holiday meal, “the most wonderful time of year” can also be the most stressful. And a survey by VitalSmarts revealed that the three top holiday stressors are all related to spending.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they were stressed about keeping up with expectations. (Of course, your house has to be decked in lights … all the neighbors’ are. Of course, you have to buy presents for all of your third cousins you rarely talk to … it’s the thing to do!)

Half of those surveyed said they were worried about blowing their budget over the holidays. And rounding out the list of top three stressors was the pressure to find the “perfect” gift for everyone on your shopping list.

So, what’s the cure for this epidemic of holiday stress? Generosity.

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Source: Christian Headlines