Holiday anti-overwhelm: there is just one thing you need… so what is it?

This isn’t the time of year where most people want to read a big explainer on something weird going on in the financial world. (If you do, let’s talk, because I am still reading The Morning Brew every day and I have thoughts.)

And you almost definitely don’t want a whole bunch of to-dos on how to manage your money right now. (Again, if you do, let’s talk, but don’t expect me to show up in here all unsolicited until after January 3 or so.)

If you haven’t checked out my post on mindful holiday shopping, it’ll probably still be helpful, but we’re really in the home stretch for pretty much everything — not just Christmas, but Hanukkah (December 18-26 in 2022), Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1), and Solstice (December 21), so you might not need one more thing to read.

But you might still be stressed, and I don’t want that for you. So for once, I’m gonna make this quick:

Figure out what matters most to you right now, and then let yourself off the hook for the rest of it until 2023.

I mean it.

There are less than three weeks left in the year. A friend texted me recently after opening James Clear’s 1 December Thursday newsletter (which I normally like!) to vent about his utter failure to read the room:

I respect where Mr. Clear is coming from! I do! But almost everyone I know is at max capacity to deal with yet another thing, and are vibing more with this sentiment:

The spirit of holiday anti-overwhelm ties into your money life for a sneaky little reason. The corporations that create much of our culture make billions by manufacturing reasons to make us feel inadequate… and also manufacturing and selling us products, books, services, and courses that can coincidentally help us cure those inadequacies! (Exhibit A: a history of deodorant marketing… “Improving sales wasn’t a simple matter of making potential customers aware that a remedy for perspiration existed. It was about convincing two-thirds of the target population that sweating was a serious embarrassment.”)

The holidays, with their endless lists to be made and checked twice, set the lyrics of these sales pitches to a festive jingly tune and turn the volume up to eleven… in order to ever-more-aggressively part you from your hard-earned, inflation-devalued dollars.

Guess what, friends?

You are adequate (adj., “satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity”). Exactly as you are, even if you’re sweating.

You are acceptable, full stop. You don’t need a product/book/service/course, or an accomplishment, or a successful adherence to arbitrary rules in order to make you worthy of acceptance, at this time of year or any other. Your worth is inherent, and you don’t have to use a single minute of the last seventeen-and-counting days of 2022 to earn approval from your family or your friends or your neighbors. (Note: you may want to do the minimum to keep your employer’s nominal approval, if your job is one of the things that matters to you… but you get to decide if it is!)

You don’t have to finish a single thing on a high note if you don’t want to. You just have to decide what truly matters to you right now and show up with integrity for that.

Mariah Carey might have lost her bid to be the officially-trademarked Queen of Christmas this year, but Ms. Carey’s 1994 holiday song hit me differently when I realized that the ubiquitous tune is an unlikely anthem of Christmas minimalism. Mariah does a fantastic job of identifying exactly what is and isn’t important to her for the holidays. She doesn’t care about presents, stockings, toys, snow, or any of the Christmas magic that everyone else is thinking about. There is just one thing she needs, and everything else can go by the wayside.

So figure out what’s most important to you right now, and then kick the other cans down the road to January 2023. I’m not going to even suggest things that you deserve to prioritize, at the risk of making you feel even a little bad about some random self-care task that you’re not doing.

Just figure out what YOU want and need the next couple weeks to look like, and stop spending your time and money and energy on anything else that isn’t that.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.

One last thing: if you are still looking for a gift for somebody in your life and you think that they could benefit from some extremely compassionate money guidance, I am here for your last-minute gifting needs. Because the spirit of giving is upon me, you can snag this gift for $50/hour if you buy it by midnight on 12/24/2022. (Yes, that’s a 50% discount from my usual rate. What can I say? ‘Tis the season!)

Email me ( or purchase directly below, and I will email you a digital + printable gift certificate for as many hours of live client work as you’d like to give to your loved one (or yourself; if you’re an existing client and you want to snag a discounted session, I love you! Happy holidays!). One catch: the certificate must be used by April 18, 2023 (Tax Day), barring extenuating circumstances (I’m not a monster!). If you have any issues or questions, just email me and we’ll work it out.

I wish you a beautiful holiday season and can’t wait to talk with you in the New Year!

Fortuna Money Gift Certificate

Fortuna Money Holiday Gift Certificate

This certificate is valid for 1 x 1-hour session ($100 value) and expires 4/18/2023.


P.S. If you now have “All I Want for Christmas is You” stuck in your head, I’m sorry. To make up for it, here is a link to my personal holiday playlist; I recommend putting it on shuffle. It is a 16-hour sleigh ride through classics, funny songs, and modern triumphs, plus there’s “It’s Not Christmas ‘Til Somebody Cries” which somehow manages to be all three at once. There is truly something for everyone! But there is also the occasional bad word, so if you have little listeners or easily offended ears around, here’s how to turn off the swears.

Header photo: cottonbro studio on

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