‘Tis the Season

Dear Dr. Per Cap:

Every year, the holiday season starts earlier. A store near me had holiday displays with Christmas music in September. I’m so tired of how the holidays have been commercialized and I’m made to feel like Scrooge if I don’t break the bank buying gifts for everyone. Help!


Don’t Call Me Scrooge

Dear Don’t Call Me Scrooge,

At the rate we’re going, the old saying “Christmas in July” will be a real thing. And look out when Santa shows up at your annual 4th of July powwow to hand out candy-cane flavored snow cones.

Unfortunately, as long as stores and online retailers rely on the holiday shopping season for the bulk of their annual sales, the continued encroachment of the holidays will continue. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy into the corporate message of indulgence or feel guilty about not wanting to spend a ton of money on gifts.

In our house, we’ve pulled way back on holiday spending in recent years and have many friends who do the same. We save money by reusing decorations from previous years and giving fewer gifts. Heck, we have LED lights older than the Polar Express and a few years ago, when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I replied “Anything, as long as it all fits in a shoebox”.

In addition to the financial struggle, the holidays continue to take a toll on people’s mental and physical health with peaks in depression and stress levels. As well as overindulging in big meals and sweets.

You’ve taken the first step by acknowledging that corporate America has gone overboard. Hold fast in your conviction and take joy in the simple pleasures this holiday season. You’re certainly no Scrooge, as long as you enjoy the holidays on your own terms.

And remember, the best things in life are not free – they’re bought with two scoops of love and a sprinkle of goodwill!

Ask Dr. Per Cap is a program funded by First Nations Development Institute with assistance from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org. To send a question to Dr. Per Cap, email askdrpercap@firstnations.org.