What is a “Holiday Money Story”?

written by Bari Tessler December 8, 2011
What is a "Holiday Money Story"?

If you’ve had contact with my work, then you certainly know what a “money story” is.

It’s the entirety of our individual, unique relationship with money. It contains the historical content of our financial life, our financial beliefs and outward behavior, and all the sensations and emotions that get stirred up in this terrain.

Now, your holiday money story is a small slice of this larger money story.

It revolves around the finances of the holiday season, which is typically full of relatives, gifts, and family traditions. All that good stuff! And all that painful stuff, too.

There is so much I could say about money stories! For now, I hope this little article can be a loving nudge that can open up some new, enlivening options for you.

You can begin to connect with your holiday money story by simply pausing to notice your experience right now after having read these last two paragraphs.

Notice whatever body sensations, emotions, thoughts, or memories that are arising. Maybe you’re feeling excitement and anticipation. Or maybe you’re feeling a tightening in your chest and some anxiety or even dread. Perhaps there’s guilt or a sensation of pressure or some anger. Maybe your emotions are quiet but you see a vivid slide show of past holiday gatherings in your mind’s eye. These are great clues that can begin to shed light on your holiday money story. The simple process of pausing, noticing, and allowing your present-moment experience is what I call a “body check-in,” and it’s the first and most essential tool that I teach.

Awareness and understanding create space for new choices. So, as you become more intimate with your money story, you gain the access needed to shift it. This is a big component of my work, which is all about teaching people how to transform their relationship with money so that it becomes conscious, mature, supportive, satisfying, and–yes!–even fun.

Some people absolutely love the holiday season. They savor the traditional process of buying and giving gifts to relatives and wouldn’t change a thing.

For many people, however, the holiday season is jam-packed with STRESS, and gift buying sits at the center of it. Choosing what to buy each person can be difficult. All that shopping can be a hassle. Issues of consumerism are relevant. And it can be a major expense that can quickly drain savings or create debt.

So how is it for you? What’s the ratio of joy to stress?

Where, exactly, does the stress come from? Getting curious and courageous about exploring your experience can open a door to making some changes. Here are a few ideas of how you might begin to lower your stress and increase your joy.

Instead of buying gifts, you could make gifts or give the gift of a service or an experience such as massage or cooking a meal or initiating a fun activity. Heartfelt, authentic sharing with someone of all the ways you appreciate them can be an amazing gift. Another option that’s becoming popular is to give a gift in the form of a donation to a charity on behalf of the recipient.

If you’re ready to experiment with shifting your holiday money story, you may want to adopt one of these ideas on your own. A bigger step could be enrolling your relatives along with you and creating a change in the way your whole family system operates.

If this article strikes a chord in you, but you’re not quite ready to make any outward changes, a great first step could be to use the body check-in throughout the season to deepen your awareness of your holiday money story.

I wish you well, and I’d love to hear from you about your holiday money story!

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