This has been the most Christmas-y Christmas season I can remember in a long time. Usually Kris and I downplay the holiday. I know that Christmas is important for many people, but there are other holidays (like Thanksgiving) that we value more. This year, however, we seem to have some of that old-time Christmas spirit, and I like it.

What makes this year different? I’m not sure, but it may be because:

Aunt and Niece, Baking Cookies

  • We’ve been listening to Christmas records on evenings and weekends. (Yes, actual vinyl records — cheap at the thrift store!)
  • We have a lovely tree.
  • Kris invited our four-year-old niece over to bake Christmas cookies.
  • As always, Kris made something crafty for our friends. (This year, she made vanilla extract.) But for once, I contributed something to our gift bags. I’ve been obsessed with high-quality caramels and fruit jells this year, so I bought some in bulk to share with our friends.
  • We’ve attended several Christmas parties, all of which have been low-key and fun. More than that, we just seem more connected to our friends this year, which I like.
  • I’ve actually put some time and effort into my Christmas shopping, which made the process more enjoyable.

It’s been a fantastic holiday season so far, and it’s reminded me that I am a fortunate man. I have a great wife, a job that I love, a beautiful home in a beautiful city, robust health, and four fine cats. I can afford to eat well, to travel to far-away places (with strange sounding names), and to indulge my hobbies. I do not want for much.

I don’t say this to gloat or to brag. I really do feel fortunate and grateful for my wonderful life. And lately, I’ve begun to be a little humbled by it.

I’ve had several conversations this month — in person and by e-mail — with folks who are struggling, people who don’t have everything they want. Some even find it difficult to get everything they need. These conversations have let me see my own life through the eyes of an outsider. I feel like I’ve gained some perspective I’d been lacking before.

Your Financial Wishlist

Recently, Get Rich Slowly partnered with Money Rates to ask readers a very unscientific poll question: “What’s at the top of your financial wish list this season?” The results after more than 3500 responses:

  • 43% said “increase my savings”
  • 35% said “lower my debt”
  • 13% said “get a new job”
  • 6% said “buy a new home”
  • 3% said “sell my home”

I suspect the “increase my savings” category includes a lot of responses from people whose goals aren’t actually included in the other options. (My answer would have to be “increase my savings”, though that’s not actually one of my current aims.)

What’s on your financial wishlist right now?

Recently, the Savvy Sugar website asked a group of financial writers for their Christmas wishlists. What did I tell them I wanted? Pants and books about Africa. In retrospect, that seems silly. I don’t want anything. I have everything I want.

What I want is for you to get the things on your wishlist. I want you to meet your goals, financial and otherwise. I want you to be safe, healthy, and happy. This isn’t because I’m some namby-pamby do-gooder. It’s because I have a great life, and I want you to have a great life too.

Maybe it’s too late for me to help you get to that great life in time for this Christmas, but I’m motivated to try harder to help next year. I’ll do my best to make Get Rich Slowly a place that will help you set and meet your financial goals.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Have a great time with your family and friends. I’ll see you on Monday.