According to the American Research Group in store shoppers are expected to spend an average of $929 for Christmas gifts in 2016. Online consumers are expected to spend an average of $1,342. Forbes reports that 63% of Americans have under $500 saved, however. Nearly two-thirds of Americans cannot afford to make a car repair, or pay a one-time small medical bill. One minor emergency could be the onset of financial ruin! As the holidays draw near, we look forward to shopping, buying gifts, and decorating. It can also be a stressful period. It’s a time when we place unnecessary expectations on ourselves. We want more…more money to purchase more gifts. This mentality can lead us into debt which will take a toll on our future finances. Therefore, it is especially important to remember the reason for the season —your loved ones. Possessions are unimportant, so don’t go into debt buying gifts. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.~ James 1:17 Merry Christmas from Youth Smart Financial Education Services.