I am a proud ScholarShare 529 Ambassador. This is a sponsored post.
When I was growing up, my family always went overboard at Christmas. While things were frequently tight financially the rest of the year, during the holidays, my parents spent everything they had to give my sister and me tons of presents. I loved coming down the stairs on Christmas day to see dozens of gifts under the tree. I didn’t care what it took for them to get there, I just knew that I needed every single one of them.
Days later, as the shine from the tinsel started to fade, those new toys I was so excited about got pushed to the bottom of my toy box, some never to be seen again. Later I learned that my parents often financed our amazing holidays, buying gifts on credit, and emptying their savings account. They meant well. They wanted us to have better lives than they had. Now that I’m a parent myself, I appreciate what they did, but I think there’s a better way to give gifts that are longer lasting and more meaningful to my children.
My thoughts about this were validated after an interaction with my daughter the other day. Ayva has a room that is filled with dolls, games, books, and art supplies. Even though her schedule is packed with social and extracurricular activities, whenever she has a free moment, she likes to declare that she’s bored. I went into her room the other day and pointed out all of the cool things she could be doing. She had actually forgot about a lot of the things that she has in there! After we did a little purging and giving away of toys, my husband and I talked with her about what the holidays would look like for our family moving forward.
We don’t go broke for Christmas.
Over the years, as more folks have adopted a lifestyle that is less focused on material items, a holiday trend has emerged. A lot of people I know now give and receive 4 presents each year. Our family does that, too. We all get something we want, something we need, something to wear, and something to read. If you think about it, that’s still a really nice haul! Instead of going broke on gifts, we focus more on spending time together, giving to those in need, and really digging into the true meaning of Christmas.
We don’t use our credit cards for Christmas gifts. If we can’t pay for it in cash, it’s not meant to be. My husband scours the internet for deals on all of our presents. Even with the fun of participating in holiday parties and gift exchanges, we still stay aware of what we’re spending. Our finances during the holiday season are pretty much the same as they are during the rest of the year. We don’t go broke for Christmas.
At the same time, we don’t expect other people to overspend on us, either. When our loved ones ask what they should get for our children, we’re requesting gifts that are more long lasting than toys. Memories from a trip to the zoo or a museum thanks to a gifted family membership, movie tickets, or admission fees to area attractions will be be around long past the life cycle of the year’s hottest toy. We’ve also discovered another gift that will keep giving—a ScholarShare 529 gift contribution.
ScholarShare 529 is a long-lasting gift.
ScholarShare 529 is a 529 college savings plan that allows you to save for your child’s higher education. The plan is easy to begin and can be funded with an initial investment of just $25. Terrence and I thought we knew all about it, but we were wrong. I was invited to be an ambassador for the program, and learned so much more about the plan that I didn’t know! For instance, you don’t have to live in California to open an account. You also don’t have to be a child to be a beneficiary. There are many adult and continuing education programs that you’re able to use the funds for. One of the best benefits for us is that family and friends can add funds to our kids’ plans as well.
With the ScholarShare 529 egifting option, you can ask your loved ones to add to an existing plan that you have for your children. Doesn’t getting help with your kids’ education fees get you in the holiday spirit more than having to manage (and find storage space for) the tons of stuff that your children were gifted from well-meaning family members?
The holidays are about family.
Just remember, you don’t have to get sucked into all of the hype about the holidays. Your children won’t stop loving you if you don’t spend every dime you have on gifts for them. As Ayva gets older, she’s learning more about the real meaning of Christmas. Even at 8 years old, she can see that material things aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be—especially once the battery dies! Now she looks forward to Terrence and me being off of work, checking out Christmas lights in our city, and watching funny movies while drinking hot chocolate.
This year, consider gifts that will last and have meaning. Instead of going broke for your family, do something that will bring you together.
What’s on your list to give and receive this Christmas?