The Holidays and the Economy: A Lesson to be Learned


There is no question that we are living in a place in history that hasn’t been experienced for many years. For many of us, it has felt that the world has fallen apart right before our eyes. Of course, I’m talking about the economy and its downturn in so many different respects. Stocks, the housing market, otherwise dependable financial institutions … all have impacted on our society leaving us reeling, frightened for our futures and otherwise in a state of shock and dismay.

But, the Holiday Season is upon us which, for most, means spending money … money we probably really can’t afford to spend as we were once able. I believe that for every negative situation that befalls us, there is a valuable lesson to be learned that might be able to be applied to the future. This particular situation raises the question of just what that lesson might be as well as determining whether the conditions creating the situation were caused by outside, unavoidable sources or not.

There is a principle that our good friend Sigmund Freud espoused that had to do with “postponing pleasure” as a means to achieving emotional maturity. I guess if we were to be honest, that principle has been violated many times over in the last many years as those of us who wanted to have our children “have it better” than we did (as our parents did before us) overdid our making it too easy for those children. Having it easy doesn’t really allow lessons to be learned in the process of living life. Rather, there is the sense of the words spoken in a recent commercial: I want it all and I want it NOW! So much of what those words entail suggest that we want to “live the good life,” without having to worry about the future but just to enjoy the present. I’m not an economist but I guess that if you take enough slices out of a pie, pretty soon the pie disappears. It would be hard to realize that if all that you’re doing is “living the good life” wouldn’t it?

Many of us will need to “belt tighten” our budgets thisHolidaySeason because the reality of what’s happened can’t be avoided any longer. Without trying to sound like a negative soothsayer, this lesson has been a long time coming and now might be a good time not just to respond to the reality but to remember this lesson for the future. For if we quickly forget the lesson, which Americans are wont to do once a crisis passes, it will have served little purpose. To return to the old way of viewing ourselves and our lives previous to the crisis would, in my opinion, be folly. Learning and applying these lessons will not only serve us well but, if practiced post crisis, for generations to come.

There is nothing wrong with a little pain in dealing with difficult issues in life. We won’t die from the pain. In fact, without pain, it seems that we learn very little. Dealing with whatever form that pain might take helps us to learn and grow as a person. Being given all of the answers of having what needs to be done, done for you amounts to very little if any benefit. And so, this Holiday Season is going to afford all of us a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow.

And please keep in mind that probably one of the greatest stressors that we experience at this time of year is that of placing material goods above the value of having the people we love in our lives. Losing sight of that order in our value system leads to selfishness and a sense of appearing hedonistic. It would seem to me that that term would be the last concept that we need to deal with right now. We all have enough else on our plates to deal with without digging another hole for ourselves. A most valuable lesson, indeed.

Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at

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