What does it mean to say "Happy Holidays"?
Did you know there were so many winter holidays? Most cultures have needed winter celebrations since the beginning of time to get them through the dark and cold times when loneliness and depression may set in easily. Most holidays are full of lights, music, feasting, and spending time with friends and family. I can't think of a better way to spend the winter! Happy Holidays everyone!
Most of us here in the United States are referring to Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa when we say "Happy Holidays" to people during the winter season. However, there are many more than just those four! You might be surprised at the number of winter holidays celebrated around the world. Below I name several, but not all, of the celebrations planned for 2012.
- December 6th is St. Nicholas Day, the Christian Saint's Day. Many people around the world receive gifts from St. Nick on this day rather than Christmas Day.
- December 8th is Bodhi Day, the Buddhist Festival of Siddhartha's Enlightenment.
- December 8th through 16th is Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
- December 16th through 24th is Las Posadas, the Latin American celebration of the Holy Family's journey to Bethlehem.
- December 21st is Yule/Winter Solstice, which many cultures celebrate as the beginning of the end of winter.
- December 25th is Christmas, the Christian celebration of Jesus' birth.
- December 26th is Kwanzaa, an African-American Festival. It is also Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day, a Christian holiday for giving gifts to service people.
- December 31st is New Year's Eve
- January 6th is Epiphany/Twelfth Night/3 Kings Day, a Christian celebration of the visit of the 3 Magi. Many children received gifts on this day from the Three Wise Men instead of Santa at Christmas. Epiphany ends the 12 days of Christmas.
Making Holiday Traditions
It is that time of year -- stores are bustling with shoppers and decorations are all around. There is an excitement in the air that you can almost feel. Everything seems magical, and you can bring that magical feeling into your own home and share it with your family. I am talking about family holiday traditions, certain rituals and events that you do every year. These are the things that bring the magic and excitement into your home.
Holiday traditions don't need to be expensive or elaborate. Anything that brings family and friends together and spreads joy and laughter is perfect!
You can get together with friends and go ice skating or bowling â€“ of course this is something you can do almost anytime. But you can add a little something extra to make this time special, a special dessert or a small gift. Plan it as an â€˜after decorating party' and do it each year to give everyone something to look forward to.
Visit a holiday light display. If you live in a metro area where there are commuter trains available, ride the train with your family to see the lights. It will be magical for little children - almost like riding the Polar Express! Many communities have concerts, pageants and other activities during the holiday season. Even department store window displays bring joy and excitement to kids.
Invite your neighbors over for a casual holiday party. Have everyone bring a small treat and just enjoy one another's company. In our busy world we don't spend as much time getting to know our neighbors as we used to. If it is cold, serve warm bread or pastries with cozy hot chocolate. You will have warm hearts and friends in no time.
Take the time to make memories and traditions this holiday season. Gifts are soon forgotten, but the good times you spend in the company of family and friends will linger forever.
Review Your Financial Plan in December
December is a superb month to assess your financial plan. Since it is considered a holiday month, all of us should take the means to look at our financial matters. When January arrives, we shall have an apparent idea of the financial solutions for next year.
Creating a Financial Plan
To develop a financial plan covering the key aspects of your life is truly a difficult task. It takes technical know-how regarding the key facets of financial planning: risk management, liability and cash flow management, investment, tax, estate, and retirement planning. An extensive financial plan is bundled, consisting of various needs and goals. The task by itself can be scary since it is, in fact, an evaluation of your financial health.
However, people who have a financial plan realize that their own financial goals are usually clearer, thereby easier to attain. The plan also shows them a route for creating and preserving wealth.
Completion of a monetary plan shows the following:
- The net worth: Whether all of us possess a bigger portion of assets or a bigger portion of liabilities.
- The cash flow: For many, it is a concern of how massive the deficit is.
- Whether all of us have sufficient insurance protection for loved ones.
- Whether the investments are making the profits that we wanted them to be.
- Whether we are going to accumulate sufficient money to stop working after retirement age or need to continue working.
- The value of the estate.
- Performing a complete financial plan is quite similar to carrying out a complete medical check-up. It can be frightening, but necessary.
Reviewing a Financial Plan
The very first financial plan is definitely the hardest to make. Subsequent evaluations of this plan will be simpler, unless your initial plan has been done longer than five years ago.
Events that need an evaluation include:
- Change in earnings: Maybe you were promoted to a better position, changed jobs or opted for voluntary separation scheme.
- Increase in certain liabilities: You just welcomed a new baby or just bought a new car.
- Change in marital status: You have just married or divorced.
The ideal practice is always to look at your own financial plan annually. You can certainly do it on your own if you possess the proficiency and allocated time, or opt for a financial planner.
For more help on financial planning, contact Summit Funding, The Home Loan Experts.
Content provided by Summit Funding, Home Benefit Plus.