Personal Finance Round-Up: Christmas With a Dash of Spirit

christmas spiritBuy buy buy! Sometimes, that’s what I feel Christmas has come down to. It’s all about buying that perfect gift at some retailer. I know, this discussion crops up every year: “The spirit of Christmas is dead; it’s all about commercialism now.” Well, it deserves mention yet again, because for many people, holiday spirit still lives!

Some of you have actually toned down the buy mentality and are looking at creating more personal gifts this year, like homemade clothing or Christmas treats. Others have even gone a step further, which is the case with Leo from Zen Habits. He writes about his kids who have opted out of receiving any Christmas gifts at all.

In Kids Who Are Gift-Less Are Gifted, Leo explains what happened when he gave his kids a choice between getting gifts and taking a different approach to the holidays. It’s an inspiring notion – no gifts, no retail, no debt…just pure Christmas spirit.

More holiday inspiration can be found in the following:

Wells Fargo Donates $50,000 to Toys for Tots []
Even the big bad banks seem to have Christmas spirit this year! And if they can do it, maybe we should try a little harder to be charitable even when times are tough. There is always someone worse off.

Throw a Holiday Party Without Breaking the Bank [My Dollar Plan]
Holiday parties add to seasonal costs quicker than you might expect, as the invites never seem to stop. These tips can help you enjoy yourself and still keep costs down.

3 Tips to Optimize Your Holiday Spending [Money Blue Book]
This holiday season, take note that how you spend can greatly affect how much you spend. These tips are your weapons when shopping for the holidays.

5 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Save You Money [I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…]
New Year’s is just around the corner, and there’s no reason to hold off on preparing to change your life. These resolutions could put you in a completely different financial position.

Can Money Make You Happy? [Kiplinger]
Money can’t buy happiness, right? Then why does so much money pour into retailers’ pockets this time of year? Is happiness really affected by what we own? The studies may surprise you.

Courage Isn’t Always Glamorous – Actually, It Almost Never Is [Life After College]
Courage is earned – through tears, fears, heartbreak, and failure. It’s never glamorous or easy. But with it, the world is yours. You can do what others won’t.

Want to Save Money? Slow Down [Get Rich Slowly]
Go! Go! Go! That’s often the chant of the masses during the holiday season. Everyone is in such a rush to get their shopping, decorating, and traveling done. Slowing down can mean less stress – but also more money.

The Eurozone Debt Crisis Explained [PayPlan]
Confused about what’s going on in the Eurozone? Don’t worry, most of us are. This will help clear up the matter.

5 Reasons to Pay in Cash [Free Money Finance]
When you go shopping this holiday season, how are you paying: cash or credit? There are arguments to be made for both methods. This is one for cash.