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!