Christmas has always been a time of excess. One reason why George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas night in 1776 was that he knew the Redcoats would be passed out drunk and in no shape to fight.
But just because many people eat too much, spend too much, and drink too much around Christmas doesn't mean you have to! A little self-control can crack a window in your life for the Spirit of Christ to blow in. In fact, self-control is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Also, the Spirit "blows where it wills" (John 3:8), so the Spirit can work in our lives through ordinary means, not merely miraculous ones.
If your loved ones or co-workers are telling you that they're worried about your consumption of alcohol or drugs (legal or street), then stop reading this blog post, and call your physician immediately.
If you or someone you love is concerned about how much money you're spending on Christmas presents, then there are a number of things you can do to practice gift-giving self-control:
Budget for Christmas shopping. Decide what you want to spend in advance (January!), set aside some money each month, and purchase gifts that fit within your budget.
Make gifts. Spend more of your time and talents on Christmas gifts than money.
Have an honest conversation with children, relatives, and others about what's reasonable. Conversations about money can be difficult, so pray that God will give you the right words to say. Also, use "I" and "We" sentences, not "You" sentences. Instead of saying, "You put so much pressure on us to spend money we don't have," say, "Because it's important to us that we live within our means, we would like to limit our gift-giving this Christmas to _____."
First Presbyterian Church offers Christian education programs and events on money management, estate planning, and how to live lives of generosity and self-control. For more info, email us at email@example.com.