Christmas Pressure on Grandparents by Bill Storie
Yup, it’s that time of year again. Time to celebrate, time to enjoy family and friends, time to eat too much and watch endless movies.
Yet for many people, this time of year places excessive pressure on their finances and in turn their emotions.
When we as Oldsters were young we were brought up to hope (if not expect) to get lots of presents under the Christmas tree. For some it was disappointing certainly, but for all of us, the imagination of new things to play with never left us. Perhaps we, in these older years, we still carry those feelings.
But times have changed, and our life has changed. No longer are we the children desperate to run downstairs to see what the guy in the red suit has left for us. Yet we have grandchildren these days who have the same excitement. And instead of being the receivers in our youth we are now the givers in our older years.
So, what’s the dilemma?
In these economic times, and now living on pensions which never seem to increase, we are very aware that our retirement money doesn’t stretch as far as we would like it to stretch. We are more conscious of daily expenses and closely watch our pennies.
The result is that many Oldsters go to bed at night wondering if they can afford food, utilities and even prescriptions. The issue is compounded further by the realization that there is very little, if anything, that the Oldster can do to remedy the situation. Retirement income is typically fixed, in fact, very fixed. Moreover, that income is typically accounted for month over month. And typically, there is little wiggle room.
Then Christmas comes along.
Many Oldsters, in fact probably most of us, are keen to bring joy to our grandkids. Apart from the time we give them, at this time of year, we also have a wish to leave presents under the tree for them. But it is abundantly fair to suggest that such presents can, and should, only be provided IF they can be afforded.
There should be no expectations by parents, far less grandchildren, that granny and grandpa will show up on Christmas day with large sack-fuls of pressies. If they do so, then great. But if they don’t then they don’t love the grandkids any less.
Oldsters must have no feelings of obligation to provide gifts IF their finances are wobbly at best. Oldsters should not feel any pressure to use up their scarce money and as such, deny themselves the fundamentals of their own life. Don’t go to bed feeling guilty. Just don’t. They will all survive regardless.
By all means enjoy this time of year, but in a financial sense, let other members of the family, especially those in employment, to bring the food and the presents, as best they can. Christmas can be just as enjoyable with increased fellowship.
By Bill Storie