Do you ever feel “-meh” about the hol­i­days?  Some peo­ple love them too much!  They will put their dec­o­ra­tions up too ear­ly and keep them up too long.  Oth­ers, well, they just despise the hol­i­days and refuse to dec­o­rate at all.  I cer­tain­ly fall some­where in the mid­dle, but peo­ple will nev­er admit they are indif­fer­ent to the hol­i­days.  I get excit­ed about cer­tain things, such as Seinfeld’s Fes­tivus episode, SNL’s Mis­ter Robinson’s Neigh­bor­hood Christ­mas, and of course, A Char­lie Brown Christ­mas. I do despise run­ning all over town Christ­mas shop­ping, going to every pos­si­ble fam­i­ly Christ­mas par­ty, and, of course, watch­ing movies on the Hall­mark chan­nel with D‑list celebri­ties.

Now on to the must-dos…

Con­tribute to Char­i­ty

Hol­i­day to-do lists often con­tain tasks that might seem absolute­ly nec­es­sary, when in all real­i­ty they are a want and not a need.  I change my pri­or­i­ties in Decem­ber.  I need to make char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions, but I also want to make char­i­ta­ble con­tri­bu­tions.  From a tax stand­point, the con­tri­bu­tions have to be made by year-end to get a deduc­tion on your tax­es.

Spend down FSA accounts

Flex­i­ble Spend­ing Accounts (FSAs) are tax advan­taged accounts.  They are typ­i­cal­ly set­up for a spe­cif­ic use like med­ical expens­es, child­care, or com­mut­ing costs. The funds in these accounts are use-it-or-lose-it. A lot of the plans now have a grace peri­od of a few months, but spend down as much as you can by year-end, so you don’t lose the mon­ey.

Take time off

Brush up on your paid time off pol­i­cy.  Each company’s pol­i­cy is dif­fer­ent, but a lot of small busi­ness­es pro­vide paid time off.  Some busi­ness­es treat these days like the FSA, where you either use it or lose it.  If your com­pa­ny allows you to car­ry over time, read the pol­i­cy fine print because some will only allow car­ry­over of a lim­it­ed amount.

Hope­ful­ly, these items will make you more cheer­ful as you lis­ten to uncle Stan at the third fam­i­ly Christ­mas par­ty this week talk about how he drove to Day­ton to buy a deeply dis­count­ed TV, so he and aunt Lau­ra can watch the Hall­mark chan­nel in 3D.

Hap­py Hol­i­days to you and your fam­i­ly!