Shopping for Christmas takes on a whole new perspective when your income is sporadic.
In years past, I’d hit the online Black Friday sales like a demon, picking out gifts for my loved ones with wild abandon, typically spending between $1,000 and $2,000 before all was said and done. But since I ventured into the world of the writer where income might take a very long time to materialize, I have a whole new perspective, and frankly, I think it’s a lot healthier.
Every day, my inbox is filled with emails encouraging me (and I’m being polite, here) to buy more from this vendor or that one. Even sites I joined for spiritual input are inundating me with emails claiming that this is my last chance for such amazing deals. I realize they’re just people trying to make a living, but do they have to be so…conspicuous about it? Do they need to fuel the beast of rampant spending? Do they have to join the pack who have nearly destroyed the holiday spirit completely?
I’ve set myself a budget this year, and if I underspend it, so much the better. I want to find more lasting ways to show people I care than a bunch of stuff. That doesn’t mean I’ll skip our family traditions, but those are easily managed: Pajamas, a book with a personal inscription, socks and underwear have always been welcomed and appreciated in my house, and can be acquired at reasonable prices.
Slightly less disturbing, but equally prolific are the requests for charitable donations.
While most of the charities that find their way into my inbox these days are those for which I’ve expressed an interest, there are still a large number of requests to “give for the holidays”. I can’t really fault them as there is certainly ample competition for our dollars in this season of joy, but after awhile, it simply becomes too much. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve already chosen the charities who will receive my dollars, and I make those donations at my discretion, not because someone shows up in my inbox repeatedly, holding their hand out in supplication.
But the award for most blatant misuse of her email list goes to…Virginia Jester. I signed up for her daily forecasts last week, and to date, I’ve received one welcome email, one daily forecast and four emails talking about her Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Seriously, Virginia? And you have the nerve to call yourself a site offering free daily forecasts? Clearly, your heart isn’t in your forecasts, but is in the rather quirky Tarot deck you’ve created.
On the bright side, it all goes into my folders for copywriting research, both what to do and what not to do! So even the bottom of the heap serves a purpose. Meanwhile, I’m free to choose where my money is best deserved, and make those choices without any guilt over those who don’t make the list.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the legitimate charities who will use my money to fill a need in our crazy, mixed up, sometimes greed blinded world.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to learn, even when they come in packages which could prove annoying if I didn’t find the humor in them.
3. I am grateful for friends who know where the Joy in life really lives.
4. I am grateful for my furry kids who don’t ask for much other than regular feedings, regular skritches and a warm lap to snuggle in.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, joy, charity, humor, philanthropic opportunities, friendship, kindness, compassion, health, harmony, integrity, imagination, progress and prosperity.