A couple of years ago, while watching FabLife and running on the on the treadmill, I listened to Tyra Banks caution her viewers against being fiscally irresponsible during the holiday shopping season, so that they would not be 'broke as a joke' by the new year.  As she gave tips on 'planning', 'attacking', and 'relaxing' (her 'PAR method'), I was drawn to the memories of my time as a retail employee.  While some joy-filled customers eagerly awaited their shopping experience, others were harried and stressed - clearly engaged in an unpleasant, but obligatory task.  It's no secret that some people hate shopping anytime of the year, but during the holiday season negative feelings can often be related to pressure to spend money one doesn't really have.  Whether you have planned and saved throughout the year, or procrastinated until the last days before Christmas without much of a strategy, it's worth taking a few minutes to slow down and implement these three (3) intentional activities designed to guard against being financially, physically, or emotionally 'broke as a joke'. They are:

  1. Being present: After being over-scheduled all year and making lists and checking them twice, start your official off-time by giving the gift of your presence. Spending quality time with those whom you love, hearing what they are saying (without the distraction of technology), and engaging in mutually-enjoyable activities is one way to make emotional deposits that will set the tone for the holidays!

  2. Reconnecting with someone you love: Also related to 'busyness' is the tendency to neglect those relationships that are not a part of our daily interactions. The holidays are a great time to reach out and reconnect with someone who has 'been on our minds'. Oprah once said that we have friends of time and friends of like mind. It's those friends of time, with whom we have rich history, that may appreciate the effort taken to reconnect.

  3. Choosing to say NO: Last, it's quite amazing how many activities that we can fit into the month of December. In fact, traditionally all weekends (after Thanksgiving) leading up to New Year's Day are typically 'scheduled out' before December 1st rolls around. This month, get comfortable with using your 'NO'. And give yourself permission to use it without explanation. Saying 'NO' will give you time for self care (whether it be a book that you've been waiting to read, a manicure you're in desperate need of, a nap that's long overdue, or a sunrise/sunset that you haven't had time to catch). When we make it a priority to take care of ourselves, we are always in a better position to be of good to others. Our physical and emotional tanks are full. We cannot be reminded of this fact enough.

Let's all be able to say that we are not 'broke as a joke' - financially, physically, or emotionally - on January 1, 2019!

Barbara Shabazzz