The holidays and U.S. recession have both officially arrived. Both of these should come as no surprise seeing as Christmas decorations have been up at Macy’s since Halloween and the Dow looks like some scary roller coaster design from Six Flags. Believe it or not, I’m starting to feel like I’m ready for both of these events, but for different reasons.
The holidays are only as stressful as you allow them to be. I know that visiting the family can be trying at times, but remember this is the time when you get the 411 on all the juicy family gossip and are fed for free at the same. I’ve already managed to turn this past long weekend into money saved on groceries and time saved on cooking by making sure to eat at least 3 meals with the family. The majority of stress usually comes from having to decide what to buy everyone. Problem is inherently solved after a few clicks on Amazon, Overstock or Target. Just enter that person’s favorite movie, music, book, food, etc. and there will be matches galore. Plus, most of these sites are offering free shipping which will save you the headache of the mall. Next, instead of spending a lot of time and money decorating I suggest just picking one thing you want to put up whether it be the tree or the wreath or the lights or a poinsettia, all you really need is one of those to look festive. Finally, don’t forget to splurge on yourself and take the time you need to be in a good mood come the big day, because who wants to end 2008 tired and bitter? Remember after Christmas you have less than one week to start thinking about next year’s resolutions.
As for the recession, my generation has little to worry about, especially if you are currently employed. The recession will have little long term effect on our 401Ks and IRA accounts, plus it puts us in a unique position to be making decent returns when the upturn begins. Invest in solid companies now, and avoid loans/credit cards like the plague (with the exception of educational loans). The time to buy some real estate is almost upon us, so SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!
2008 is a year plagued by bad news from the economy to the world, with 2009 on the horizon it feels like we’ll need to trade in our fear for a good dose of hope and trust in a silver lining. Until then, I will enjoy my 24 hour Christmas carol radio station as I sit in my office watching the sun set on another 77 degree California winter day.