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Santa’s Money Scripts

During this season of shopping, gift-giving, and family celebrations, it’s all too easy to lose control of our money decisions. Our money scripts, or unconscious beliefs about money, can push us into overspending, make us fearful and resentful about giving, or generate all kinds of money stress.

Given the scope of his giving, just imagine the money scripts that must drive Santa Claus. Here are a few of them; you might consider whether any could apply to you.

“I have to give the perfect gift to every person on my list. It can’t be just some small thing that says I care.” Many of us equate “something special” with “expensive.” Yet a practical or wanted inexpensive gift may be more appreciated.

“If every child in the whole world isn’t included on my list, I haven’t done it right.” Sometimes gift giving can come from obligation rather than a sense of generosity and gratefulness.

“All my gifts have to be given on Christmas Eve, because Christmas just isn’t Christmas unless it’s celebrated on the exact date.” Sometimes, it’s okay for even Santa to be a little early or a little late.

“Every gift has to be handmade in my own workshop with the finest materials and hours of toil—I can’t just make a trip to the mall.” Sometimes the recipients can’t tell or appreciate the difference.

“If I don’t give all the children on my list exactly what they ask for, they might not have a good Christmas.” Promising kids they will get whatever they want is a setup for frustration. Santa needs to educate kids that even he has limits and not to expect to receive everything they ask for.

“I have to be jolly and happy all the time about Christmas and about giving.” Maintaining Santa’s Workshop has its challenges. Santa has to deal with the elf’s union, suppliers, schedules, economic conditions, plant maintenance, pet care, and Mrs. Claus. It’s not all milk and cookies.

“My job is to give and give—I don’t have time to think about receiving gifts, enjoying time with friends and family, or taking care of myself.” With a money script like that, it’s a wonder Santa is still as productive as he is.

“I have to eat everything people put out for me, even if it makes me so fat I have trouble fitting down a chimney. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no.” Santa may want to join Overeaters Anonymous, start an exercise routine, and download the Sparkpeople app for his smart phone. If not, he needs to consider a succession plan.

“I have to personally deliver every gift by sleigh and reindeer, no matter how inefficient or impossible the task may seem.” One of these days Rudolph and the reindeer will retire, and Santa may discover FedEx.

“My gift-giving mission is such a worthy cause that it comes ahead of everyone in my life. Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer need to sacrifice to make Christmas deliveries, even if Rudolph has a bad cold that makes his nose bright red.”

“If I just give enough to enough people, they will all like each other and we will have peace on earth.” Sometimes giving enough isn’t anything tangible. A gentle touch, an encouraging word, or a warm embrace can be more transformative and valued than a gift.

All these unconscious expectations have to be a heavy burden. Poor Santa. Just think of the stress this time of year must bring for him. It’s no wonder the man has a weight problem, can’t quit smoking, and talks to imaginary reindeer.

Article first published as Santa’s Money Scripts on Technorati.

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  1. Financial Planner Rick Kahler Analyzes Santa’s Money Scripts | Financial Awakenings | CIF Blog - December 21, 2010

    […] Financial Planner Rick Kahler Analyzes Santa’s Money Scripts | Financial Awakenings. Tagged as: Holiday gift giving, holiday spending plans […]