Best Christmas Wishes — and Watch Your Spending!

I'm tired of political correctness, so I'll dispense with the regular "holiday" well wishes and just say Merry Christmas today. In our apartment building in downtown Chicago, we had a debate in the board meeting a few weeks back around whether the Christian unit holders would take offense to holding the "Holiday Party" on the first day of Hanukkah, replete with a candle lighting ceremony and a prayer. Given this and also given the fact that some towns have banned Christmas parades this year, I'm glad to announce that Spend Matters will not sell out to political correctness. But regardless of whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or your own invented holiday (like Chriskmaka), we can all agree that watching the bottom line matters this holiday season. After all, they say happiness does not come from spending -- or even giving for that matter. I recently read a study that those who are happiest are those who save at least some portion of their income. So regardless of whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, rich or poor, we can all agree that those who practice Spend Management while saving are happier at the end of the day.

Most every situation has a silver lining. These uncertain economic times seem ripe for expressing our love in ways that are not pegged to the dollar -- or any other currency. Our most precious commodity is time and what we make of it -- time to listen, prepare good food, make a gift, sing a song, offer encouragement -- give of ourselves, not just our money. Perhaps those who are most content are not the people who have the most but need the least.

- Jason Busch

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