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Holding It All Together-Grinch Or No Grinch

By Amy McCollom
I don’t know what happened to October; it was here a hot second, then poof, it was gone. Before Halloween had even got here, Christmas decorations were filling store shelves. Poor Thanksgiving. I feel like it’s getting left out all together. There is such a build-up to Christmas now, and instead of the rush toward Black Friday shopping, it’s Early Black Friday shopping on every website and in every store now! I just want to scream “Slow down!”

But time waits for no one, and neither do retailers, especially when the media drives the economy train and puts fear into consumers to buy, buy, buy before everything is gone. Would that be so terrible? What if the Grinch really did steal Christmas this year and there were no packages, boxes, and bags under the tree? Would we all cry boo hoo, or join hands and hearts and sing around the Christmas tree, and be thankful for the hands we have to hold? 

Do we really need more stuff to know that we are loved? How much more stuff do we need? Do we not get new stuff throughout the year anyway? We live in the richest country in the world, and I can honestly say that I pretty much can get anything I want, really. It might take a month or two to save up the money for a big item, but if I really wanted something, like a new computer, a coat, or a bike, I could find a way to afford it. I am not rich by any means, in fact I do not even have a job really, other than writing this weekly column. But I am a thinker, a planner, a plotter, and I can make stuff, do stuff, sell stuff or whatever I need to do to get what I want. I have an enterprising mind.

When I was a kid, in the summertime, my folks would drive down to southern Indiana and get a truckload of potatoes, or musk melons, or what have you, and bring them back up here, and set up a stand along Rt. 36. They would double or triple the price they paid and sell every single item. My siblings and I had to help, and it was a good learning experience. We made the signs, helped load the produce, made change for people, and manned the money box when Mom had to go for a potty break. 

There is always a way to make a little extra money if you think about it and aren’t lazy. Mom never believed in free handouts unless you couldn’t work. Yes, I would have rather spent my summer days riding my bike, climbing trees, catching toads, hanging out with friends and the like; but I wouldn’t have learned the skills of how to make money, do business, or interact with people. I guess my mom did some things right after all.

So what are we going to do about Christmas this year? Inflation has gas prices up, food costs high, and everybody is in a panic about all of those ships on the ocean not unloading their merchandise. Dave Ramsey would say you have to live like nobody else, so that one day you can live like nobody else. He would also say buy only what you can afford. He might even say if the Grinch stole your Christmas, let him have it, because Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

It does indeed, mean a whole lot more. I’ve been saying for years that Christmas is not about the gifts, and I know that makes me sound like a Grinch who wants to do away with presents. But what I want to give instead of gifts, is the true meaning of Christmas, which is far greater than a sweater or Xbox game. Consider making this year a Whoville Christmas, and sing around a giftless tree, and celebrate the hands you hold, the love that came down to bring us peace and joy, and the true story of Christmas.

If you cannot go giftless, and need extra cash this season, I know of a few ways that might help. 

1.  Go to https://icash.illinoistreasurer.gov/ and see if you have any unclaimed money being held in the state treasury. I found money there a couple of years ago that I didn’t know I had. I looked up a few family members and friends, and sure enough, you all have money waiting. Go get it! See, it pays to read my column, ha ha ha.

2.  Get a second job during the holidays. There is nothing wrong with working more when the need calls for it. My dad worked two jobs and more at times, my husband worked three jobs. If it needs to be, it needs to be.

3.  Sell something you don’t need anymore. Things you don’t need are piles of money waiting to go into your bank account. Convert those things to cash.

4.  Get crafty and make something. Get on YouTube and learn to make a wreath or sew a stocking or whatever! I have a friend who makes really nice candles. My sister bakes cakes and cookies. 

5.  Got a skill? Play music? Get your side-hustle going. Teach a class. Babysit. Walk a dog. Write a column. Everybody’s good at something. 

I hope this helps take a little stress out of the upcoming holidays. I’m preaching to myself here, too. The best way to handle a situation that you know is going to stress you out is to have a plan. Where there is no plan, the people perish. Grinch or no Grinch, let’s have a great holiday season Y’all.

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