Say No to Christmas loans
By Barrington H. Brennen, December 11,
Barrington H. Brennen
Banks are putting out the honey
pots to attract the eager “shopping bees” to come into their establishments
to get some Christmas money. While many are struggling to make the
everyday payments on utility bills and the need for food, they will be
mesmerized by the attraction of this easy money for Christmas. I warn
everyone not to fall prey to these commercial tricks. It is unwise to borrow
money from a bank or other lending institution to use for items such as
Loans should be acquired for building a home, purchasing a car, starting a
business etc. It is not good use of your money to get a loan to purchase
gifts for family and friends or to buy clothing or food.
Why get a loan?
Why do people feel the need to get a loan to make their Christmas
enjoyable? There are many reasons people rush to get Christmas loans.
some have been taught that the giving of gifts is the only
respectable thing one should do during Christmas-time even when you do
not have money of your own. Yes, it is a wonderful, caring thing to give
gifts, but a gift is given when you have something to give. Some are
embarrassed to admit they have nothing to give, hence, they will get an
unsecured loan with high interest to buy gifts. How foolish.
Second, some feel giving gifts to friends and family can show
affluence even though it is stupid to borrow the money to get the
gifts. I call this internal pressure. Too many have the wrong notion
about affluence and are often driven by the need to be accepted by
their peers and to be kept in good favor in the eyes of their
associates. This is what materialism has done to many of us today.
Third, some people are actually under tremendous pressure to
purchase gifts for family and friends because of family tradition or
because they will be made ashamed by others (family members) in a public
setting. I call this external pressure.
As mentioned earlier, the giving of gifts is a wonderful, Christ-like act.
However, when we limit our gift-giving to the need to
purchase something to give we have missed the boat. Sometimes, the best gift
is your gift of time.
- Spending time with a loved one can go a long way.
- Help a needy person or a friend clean their house.
- Write a loving letter to a friend.
- Show acts of kindness.
These are the best gifts to give during Christmas-time. Unfortunately,
many who have difficulty paying their utility bills — light, telephone,
Internet — would be so driven for acceptance by their friends and family
that they foolishly give gifts they really cannot afford. They would rather
take three years to pay for a $5,000 loan at 12 percent interest that leaves
them penniless at the end of the day than to save a few dollars a week for
I’ve discovered that many who have had their lights and telephones turned
off because of overdue amounts have other unnecessary, luxury items such as
giant-screen televisions, giant refrigerators, luxury cars, etc. The same
people would waste money on a trip to Miami before paying school fees or
utility bills. Imagine — some of those very same persons will be getting
loans to buy gifts for Christmas.
Change your view
Do not feel pressured to buy Christmas gifts to give away when you do not
have your own money to purchase them. Find creative ways to fulfill your
kind heart of giving. Write a letter, use the coconut tree to make a craft,
draw or paint a picture, take a photo, bake a cake, etc. Remember, the
greatest and most valuable gifts you give this Christmas is your time, your
smile, and a warm hug. Let no one make you feel guilty if you cannot give a
Rolex watch. Remember, they will be the first ones to criticize or condemn
you for being so foolish for allowing yourself to go into bankruptcy.
Give your heart away this Christmas. No loan is needed for that.
Barrington H. Brennen is
a marriage and family therapist and board certified
clinical psychotherapist, USA. Send your questions
or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or
write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or
visit www.soencouragement.org or
call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002