Money Monday: The Christmas-Shopping Hangover

Panorama composition photo of active father christmas dance loud music night club 2022 coming isolated over shine red color background

If the “Santa” in you went a little crazy before Christmas, we have some tips.

Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, gifts have been exchanged, holiday greetings have been sent out to family, friends and loved ones, dinners and family gatherings have taken place, what’s left?  The financial hangover! Now, strangely enough there could be good hangover, or bad hangover. A good hangover is you’ve received lots of gift cards and money for Christmas and you’re wondering how to spend it.

You may have questions like: should I regift these gift cards? When will these gift cards expire?  Or, is there something additional that I need to purchase even though Christmas is over?

However, a bad hangover has you asking how you’re going to pay the credit card bill is coming in January. With a bad hangover you are evaluating, did I blow my holiday shopping budget, and by how much? (Or worse, “what budget?” since you just never made a plan anyway.)

So how do you deal with the holiday spending shopping hangover?  \

Whose Fault is it?

Since finance ranks among one of the top reasons for divorce, a holiday shopping hangover can play a critical role in the relationship. Fundamentally, you and your spouse have different holiday shopping habits and trends that contribute to the shopping debt.

Panorama composition photo of active father christmas dance loud music night club 2022 coming isolated over shine red color backgroundFor example, some data suggest that men are more likely to be procrastinators and wait until last minute to purchase Christmas gifts. In waiting until the last minute, they usually are not able to comparison shop and may end up over-paying for their gifts.

Women, on the other hand, purchase more gifts than men and according to some data spend at least 20 hours on average shopping for holiday gifts. Not to mention women start holiday shopping in October if not earlier.

When you begin to examine the data there is enough finger-pointing to go around but that’s not the appropriate response to resolve this hangover.

Resolution means you both take responsibility for your actions. You both engage, intentionally, by having a  conversation with the goal of paying off the Christmas debt before the January bill arrives or when it arrives. If you need to consult with a financial coach or trusted independent financial adviser, then it is what it is! Just don’t respond to your debt casually or business-as-usual and allow this hangover to destroy your relationship! While it may not happen today, you are establishing a dangerous precedent in your finances, if allowed to go unchecked.

 Unfinished Business

Christmas may be over but there are still some deals out there for you. The first thing you should know is that some of the best days for deals after Christmas are December 26 and 27, but it’s not that simple. This should be obvious but still worth mentioning and that is, for many of the Christmas-related items like wrapping paper, artificial trees and lights, they go on sale the day after Christmas. I would suggest you begin your shopping for next Christmas early by focusing on the perennial Christmas items.

Those are the obvious items which will go on sale, but what else? This week you will find winter clothes discounted and ugly sweaters you might want to wear next holiday season on sale. December 27, 2021 is also one of the biggest after Christmas sale days for electronics. But not all after Christmas sale days provide the biggest discounts. For example, even though exercise items might be advertised in the after-Christmas sale, the better time to purchase workout gear, sneakers and machines might be in January 2022. Retailers are aware that you will be making or trying to keep your new years resolutions, get healthy, and stay in shape. Therefore,  you are more likely to save or get a better deal on those items next month.

Beware When You Go Back Into the Stores

January might also be a better time for savings on household items such as bedspreads, towels, rugs, sheets and the like. The takeaway here is that just because it’s the after Christmas sale days and many things are discounted, are you saving money or is it really an extension of your Christmas shopping? In other words, your Christmas shopping did not end on or before Christmas Day. Did your holiday shopping budget account for after Christmas sales?

The National Retail Federation has indicated that more than sixty percent (60%) of consumers who visit a store to either exchange or return a gift, usually end up purchasing some item they had not planned to purchase prior to returning or exchanging the gift. That’s because of the after-Christmas sale hoax. Don’t get bamboozled!


Today’s what’s up is about what’s your financial plan for 2022. In the new year I want you to take some action towards improving your finances. Thirty percent (30%) of households have a long term financial plan. Write down three financial goals for 2022 and let’s work on your success in 2022. Thank you for supporting Money Monday and see you in 2022! And that’s what’s up!


Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC . Give2Get Rich, LLC 2021. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

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