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Holiday Reflections

December 04, 2018

December.  What is the right balance between living in the past – memories and tradition – and creating the future?  I remember Christmas at my grandparents, and as they got older, the duty passed to my Mom and Dad.  I remember dating and newlywed Christmas, young children Christmas, teenager Christmas and now grandchildren Christmas.  The same is true with the celebration of New Year’s Eve.  Each season in life calls for a slight modification to the celebration.  I must confess that fulfilling the Christmas list of a grandchild is vastly different than thinking of what to get Nani.

First off, Molly is seven and the oft heard phrase while watching TV is, ‘I want THAT!’  There has been discussion from the Grinch-ier side of things that we simply present a sign that reads ‘That’ to Molly on Christmas morning. 

There is not much that Nani needs or wants from a material side of things.  If you question that, go look in our garage – it’s bursting with STUFF.  We struggle to think of things that we could wrap up under the tree. Seems to me, her real wish and desire is more time with the children and grandchildren.

Lastly, I have heard frequently from parents about giving something more meaningful to children rather than gathering a number of things that might be broken before summer rolls around.  Perhaps getting them started on savings.

A couple of thoughts…

I am often asked about those beautiful stock certificates offered by one company or another.  Disney stock often tops the list.  There is a website,, where you can do just that.  Disney shares are currently around $115 per share and the company sells a framed certificate for $214.

If it isn’t the pretty certificate you seek, then many companies like Disney have a Dividend Re-investment Programs (DRIP).  For example, you can start by visiting their website ( and go to the Investor Relations tab and read about the process under ‘The Walt Disney Company Investment Plan Prospectus.’  For $175 you can own 1 share, reinvest dividends to watch the account grow, and add to the account when appropriate: birthdays or other holidays. There’s no pretty certificate, but I have enjoyed the annual report which talks about all things Disney.

Many companies offer this type of program, so perhaps you can find something your child / grandchild is interested in and start a DRIP account.  As an added bonus, you can talk about this for years as the child grows and their interests, and possible future career, grows.

If you want something REALLY exciting, you can get them life insurance.  Doesn’t that create the Christmas Tingle?!  NOT!  However, life insurance can be a great savings (not investment) vehicle, and it will never be cheaper than at this point in their young life.

You can open a college savings fund.  They can start small, you can add to them over the year, and every dollar contributed means one less dollar of college debt in the future.  If you don’t want to be tied down to spending the money on college, you can open a UTMA or UGMA account.  There are slightly different tax ramifications, but they can use the money to buy a house, start a business, or ????

I tried giving books.  For a young child, the opportunity to read with Mom/Dad/Grandparent carries an added benefit.  Teenagers and young adults get tougher, but a certain son-in-law loves bird books, and Chase loves rock climbing.

What do I want for Christmas?  Events that create memories.  Don’t tell the kids but Nani and I are trying to plan a family event for 2019.  Somewhere I heard the phrase: Imagine. Believe. Achieve.  I think I should follow my own advice.

Thanks for a fabulous 2018 and here’s to 2019!  Every day should be filled with things that make your heart leap and choices that build a fantastic tomorrow. Happy holidays!

(Our office stockings!)