I don’t do Christmas. Why don’t I do Christmas? I don’t have any money for it.
In 2004 I had amassed a debt that was twice my annual income. I was making $32,000 and I owed over $60k in credit cards, medical bills, a car loan and even buying my gas and groceries on my credit card, because I couldn’t make ends meet. On the outside I looked like everyone else. Nice clothes, nice car, and decent job. I traveled a lot (with my credit cards), and every year all my family members would spend hundreds to thousands of dollars buying gifts to show our deep love and affection for each other.
I had no hope, and was spiraling day by day into a darkness that affected everything. My mood, my relationships, and my health to name a few. A good friend of mine had the courage to speak to me about it. She knew the truth of who I was, and that I wasn’t living that truth. I was pissed at the time, but I knew I had to do something different. A later that week, I began my journey to a cash positive life.
What is a cash positive life? It’s life where your assets outweigh your liabilities. In essence, if I sold everything, I could pay everything. For example, I might owe $15k on a car loan, but if I have a 401k plan with more than 15k in it…I’m cash positive. It’s life where I do what I can afford, and I don’t do what I cannot afford. And, it’s a life I LOVE where miracles and abundance run wild!
As Christmas approached in 2005 I looked around the family. I didn’t know of a single-family member that had hundreds of extra dollars in their bank accounts. I asked my family if they would be open to gifting each other the peace of not to spending any money at Christmas, and create a new tradition of dinner and movie. Over the years we’ve tried a lot of different ideas, but no idea costing more than $50 per person. Eventually my sister decided that she wanted to continue buying gifts. We agreed that I would not judge for her desire to buy gifts, and that she wouldn’t judge me for not buying any.
I no longer feel any shame around not giving Christmas gifts. My family know that I love them, and now they also know I love myself. Having my family see me successfully become debt-free, and build a comfortable cash positive life, is pretty much all they ever wanted anyway.
Jennifer O’Brien is Spiritual Practitioner and just recently completed Inspire's Ministerial Program. Jennifer O’Brien is an Owner and Managing Director of Pyramide Productions, Inc. a Seattle based video production company servicing Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and Expedia. Learn more about Jennifer at www.JenForJoy.com