December is a rough month. Every year it’s the same. I promise myself I’m going to be reasonable and not buy tons of gifts and only get one gift per person. But December comes and goes and I end up having spent a small fortune on gifts.
How do I stop? Why do I do it?
I think the reason I buy gifts stems out of Peace Corps in a few different ways. One way, I was immensely impressed by Ukrainian hospitality and generosity. Even those who had little to give, still managed to give. Not necessarily in the form of a gift, but they would welcome you into their home and treat you to a fantastic meal. That inspires me.
The second reason Peace Corps influenced me is that in Peace Corps, I didn’t have a lot of money. That was part of the point, too. I think we earned about $200 a month, which was both a lot and a little at the time. But if volunteers got together for a holiday feast, whoever brought the roast beast would have to scrape their pennies together to pay for it. On a few occasions I ended up spending a good part of my monthly income on a single meal because I wanted to show that Ukrainian hospitality. Now, however, I make more that $200 a month. I can afford nicer things and it doesn’t have me eating only rice for a few weeks. So when I’m able to buy something extra for someone, I think little of it because it certainly could put me out more than it will.
What do you do for your holiday spending? Is it all or nothing? Do you limit yourself? Any suggestions to help me keep it in line?