Guest Column: Spend more time, less money, on who matters this holiday season

Published 8:03 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Guest Column by Anita Bissinger

Anita Bissinger


“Whatdya get for Christmas?” Remember bragging or pouting when you came back to school after the new year? Perhaps you could name every part of the G.I. Joe, Barbie collection, Masters of the Universe or Transformers. Now think back to last Christmas. Could you answer the same question? What did you get Aunt Maisie? Would she remember?

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She likely would remember the time spent together, even watching the latest generation of children play with their new toys. But her greatest joy was the time together.


Time is money

Think of our expressions: How will you spend your time? Can you save time? Can you waste time? Can you make time? Can you be timely in the time spent, that you saved for friends and loved ones without wasting it? Of course, if you are with loved ones, how is it possible to waste time? (Maybe if you sit and stare at the clock …)

If you think of time as money, then it needs to be balanced just like any checkbook. Balance in one’s life is often the key to improved mental health, especially during the holidays. 

Time is something we all have — no more, no less than anyone else. Shall we spend it here and there on the trappings, the material aspects of the days or spend it with the people who are worth far more than the latest “giddy-gap” with the spinning “what’s-it” on top.


Spending time together

Does Christmas have to mean frenzied forays to the discount high-end store, or fretting about shipping dates?

Consider gathering your people and going to a movie, dining out, skating at the local rink, caroling in your neighborhood, hiking or cross-country skiing in the woods, playing cards or a board game or maybe watching those Christmas specials for the umpteenth time. You’ll be together and likely not spending a lot of money doing so.


The season of giving

Spend a little time, and maybe a little money, but spend it together. During this season and for all of your days, your gift of time is the most precious gift you have to give. Give your time to others generously. More than any expensive gift, you and the receiver will be happier about the time you give.

Anita Bissinger, licensed independent clinical social worker, is in her sixth year at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and Austin. She works with integrated behavior health, providing psychotherapy and general social work for primary care patients in Albert Lea. Besides spending time with her family and dogs, she finds quilting to be a great stress reliever.