In my opinion, holidays are meant to bring you joy, love and an overall warm, fuzzy feeling because you realize how #BLESSED you truly are.
The gifts, of course, are a fun added bonus.
However, the stress that comes with having to overdraft your account to be able to afford those new Steve Madden boots for your sister is not one of those added bonuses.
So last year, I decided to put my foot down and not give gifts for my family, friends, co-workers and that random neighbor down the hall, and I ended up having a great holiday filled with self-love and gifts to yours truly from yours truly.
Every year around December, I find myself working 60 plus hour weeks in preparation of holiday spending.
The pressure around finding the perfect gift(s) for everyone on your list, which personally tends to come out to 15 or so people, became too much to bear.
Not to mention, it's extremely frustrating when you spend money on someone who doesn't even appreciate it.
(That scarf could have been bottomless mimosas, thank you very much.)
That's why last year I crossed my fingers and kindly explained to people to not expect any gifts from me.
I wasn't doing this to be selfish and rude, but to be totally honest, I am a 23-year-old on a tight budget. I'm living on my own for the first time and trying to pay off that damn Banana Republic credit card my mom told me to never get.
My family knows I love them. And if they also love me, then I shouldn't have to spend an obscene amount of money on a sweater they'll wear for a few months and then end up selling for $8.
So, I suggested doing a dinner with my close friends and family and told them there was no need to worry about giving me something for the holiday.
They understood and seemed surprisingly relieved. It was one thing off their plates, too.
Then, I worked a little bit of overtime, saved up enough for some extra cash and treated myself, which I rarely do.
End result? My bank account was not overdrafted, and I had freshly highlighted hair, a new watch and a fresh attitude that let me focus on, well, myself.
It's crazy how great you can feel when you treat yourself a little bit here and there instead of draining yourself for others.
Did I feel self-centered? Slightly. Did I care? Not so much.
When I think back on how much stress I was able to avoid, it was all worth it. Plus, I knocked my Banana Card down half with what I would have spent on just my 92 cousins. (Dramatization, but we're Italian, so maybe not.)
This upcoming holiday, I suggested another dinner with my friends, bought my close relatives something small and more practical and created a small Secret Santa for work.
For myself, I booked a nice weekend trip to Nashville with the money that I saved. It was a nice middle ground to find, and I'm looking forward to continuing on this path for the holidays to come.
If anything, it has taught me not to feel too bad about spoiling myself. I work hard, so I deserve to play hard... and drink those bottomless mimosas!
Overall, it's important to remember the holidays are about spending time with the people you love, being thankful for what you have and helping those who may not have as much.
But most importantly, it's about watching "A Christmas Story" as many times as you can in 24 hours.