• Emlen Miles-Mattingly

Taking Control: Holiday Cheer or Fear?

If you missed the podcast version of this, fear not! I've got it for you right here:

Merry Christmas, readers!

I would like to give you all a big thank you for supporting me, as I attempt to reach out and change the face of financial literacy.

I strive to make educational topics interesting and accessible.

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by creative and intelligent people who willingly share their knowledge on this platform.

This idea for this solo was conceived after I started considering all the many things that I’m grateful for.

I also realize that many readers may face apprehension as they prepare for the holidays. The holidays do tend to bring out so many of our emotions.

In today’s blog, I hope to share some of my life and alleviate some of your pre-holiday anxiety.

Are you engaged in holiday cheer or fear?


Are you engaged in holiday cheer or fear?

I believe having an attitude of gratitude helps you to embrace the holiday cheer.

Let me go down my gratitude list!

My wife--I couldn’t do this without her. She is everything: fan, supporter, inspiration, and helpmate. I’ll let you in on our newest reason to be grateful: we are expecting a new addition to our family!

I’m thankful for my support system, which includes my family and friends. I won’t name any one person. I’m sure you all know who you are!

I want to thank all of my listeners for the times you’ve reached out to me in public to the messages you send on social media.

It’s all very much appreciated!

The Blues

The holidays aren't always a time of cheer and gladness.

You may be experiencing a time of hurt and pain during the holidays. I have had some first-hand experience. I’ve walked in those shoes, so I can speak from my own personal experience.

I’ll let you in on a secret: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

However, that doesn’t mean that every Thanksgiving has been festive or happy. There was a time, years ago, when I was going through a divorce. I sat alone feeling blue on my favorite holiday.

There may be readers out there that are feeling lonely or depressed as we approach Christmas. It might be that you don’t have a large family or a close family. Perhaps, you've lost a family member.

Are you experiencing holiday cheer or fear?

It can be overwhelming this time of the year, and I want to be mindful of you.

I know it can be tough, especially if you've lost some loved ones. I’ve had several family members pass away--including my mom.

That means that during this time, I embrace family memories and traditions.

I’d like to give those of you going through tough times a few words of encouragement. I know the holidays bring up memories but this is just one moment in time. There will be others, and eventually, things can turn around and life can improve.

Life can get better!

Holiday Shopping

Does shopping make you anxious?

It’s an unpleasant task for so many people. There's so much anxiety around holiday shopping. You are feeling pressure to get the right gift, the biggest gift, or an expensive gift.

It’s not about the gifts.

The reason for the season is spending time with your family. This is the time to talk to the children and instill family values.

It’s time to make memories.

What is the best way to combat holiday anxiety?

The best way is to budget for gifts (if you can afford them). We've had Christmases where we’ve had money and there have been others when we didn't have as much money.

I’m thinking of a memorable gift that my oldest daughter, Jayda, bought for me. She received some money for her birthday (December 2nd) and spent it on a gift at the little school store.

It didn’t matter how much she spent. I don't even know how much she spent. It couldn't have been much. However, when I see it on the corner of my desk, it means so much to me.

At that moment, I realized that we had taught our children something special about the holiday.

That you give what you have.

Don’t get caught up in thinking about how much money you should spend. Give yourself a budget and stick to it.

Sometimes it takes creativity to get those gifts within a small budget.

Creativity can be fun and meaningful!

Pay it Forward

Have you ever been touched by a good samaritan?

Kudos to my good friend Tyrone Ross; he saw “No Layaway November” (we’ll extend it to December) on Twitter and inspired us!

The idea brought back memories.

I remember how excited I was to receive the gifts that had been on layaway. I didn’t realize back then how difficult it must have been for my parents to make the payments.

We’re going to take the kids to Walmart and pay off a few layaways.

It’s a simple way to bless someone.

Just go into the local Walmart (or Kmart) and make a good samaritan payment on someone else's layaway.

I guarantee that you’ll brighten someone’s holiday!

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