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Say No to Christmas loans — please!

By Barrington H. Brennen, December 11, 2009



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 Christmas gifts. 
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.
First, 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.  
Setting priorities.
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 future use.  
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 barringtonbrennen@gmail.com 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







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