What “gifts” will you give your family this holiday season?

I always struggle with the comments I hear this time of year.

“I just have to get Susie/Johnny the game they want, even though I don’t have the money.”

“I just got out of last year’s debt - and here we are again!”

“I just don’t know what to get these kids; they get everything all year long anyway!”

I think this season brings with it many stressors, and while we all want to give our loved ones a token of some sort to “show our love,” I always like to recommend some other things that may be a bit more valuable.

Parents and partners, give each other the gift of a deep conversation. This conversation should be about protecting each other and your children if something were to go wrong. I can’t help but recall a comment one of the passengers who was on the cruise ship that recently caught fire said, “it seemed like the crew wasn’t really prepared for what happened.” Are any of us really thinking that something could go horribly wrong every day when we get up? Of course not—or who would want to face each day! However, avoidance is not the answer either. Do you have wills in place for guardianship? Do you have life insurance in place that would continue to provide the standard of living you are used to if one of you were gone tomorrow? Is there an emergency savings in place in the event one of you was to lose your job? Are your disability benefits at work really enough to keep you going if you were ill or injured long-term? OK, it’s not a diamond necklace, but to be prepared is worth its weight in gold. And if you are fortunate enough to be able to get a beautiful piece of jewelry, make sure you know your homeowner policy limits - you may need an additional policy!

When grandparents or godparents ask what the kids would like this year, why not tell them the gift of life insurance or a college savings plan? While your children may not understand the value of these gifts, you can make it exciting for them by explaining how they are going to be able to do things many other children may not be able to afford. They are going to have protection for their families when they grow up because Grammy or Pop-Pop took such good care of them. It is one less thing to break, outgrow, or clean up!

I have seen many people change their priorities over the past two years. Tough decisions have been made based on loss of jobs, investment income, and tragedy striking. What good is cable TV if something happens and you can’t make the mortgage payment? How important is that “game” to your children if you are in debt the next 12 months paying it off?

You hear it said - remember the “true reason for the season” and try to explain to your children that the meaning of the holidays is love, family, and being all together. Give gifts that will create a legacy and protect your family no matter what may happen. It is a memory they will cherish at a price you can afford!

Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous New Year! •

Jeanine O’Donnell is your Good Neighbor State Farm® Agent in Lewes. You can reach her at 302-644-3276 or Jeanine@jeanineodonnell.com.

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