Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Stress

It is three days before Christmas, and I feel the need to talk about the big elephant in the room: Christmas.

As dentists—OK, at least for me—this is not a joyful time. There is so much stuff going through my mind right now:

Gifts for my wife: OK, I can do this. What size shoe is she again?
Gifts for the staff: I have to remember to put the receipt in the box, because I know most of them will return or regift it.
Staff bonus: Oh man, I am getting a headache.
Gifts for my kids: Do I get them the thing that is way overpriced, or do I get them that other thing that is way overpriced?
Christmas party: Ugh, do I host it at a fancy place? Do I bring the spouse? Should I just give the attendees more money and bag the dinner?
Time off: Now I really have a headache. I don’t know if you know this, but you can take time off, but the bills keep on coming.

(I refuse to work on Dec. 23, but I am starting to second-guess my hard stance and am thinking about working the morning of Dec. 24. I just sit around the house doing nothing anyway. Joking; I am joking.)

But in all seriousness, being a small business owner this time of the year is not merry. I have told myself that I want to save for this time of year so it is not so miserable. I wanted enough money in reserve to prepare for the days off at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It took all year, but I have managed to save a bunch of money. But guess what? It is not enough.
Thanksgiving came and depleted some of it. A bad week depleted some more of it. Something broke in the office, and there went that saved “bunch of money.”

Now I am looking at six to eight days off in the next couple of weeks, a Christmas party, Christmas bonuses, billions of presents under the tree (oh, by the way, I don’t care if I ruin it for you, but I am Santa Claus), vacation time for the staff, and no production.

But I know it is going to be OK. I might be in debt for the first couple of months of the new year. I might stress out big time on Christmas morning and stare the “death stare” at my wife for the overspending. But it is going to be OK. And for you, it is going to be OK, too.

We will learn from it, we will save a little more next year, and we will someday have enough money saved in our retirement account that Christmas doesn’t stress us out. It is going to be OK.

I hope you have a great Christmas season and a great New Year’s. I hope you can take a deep breath and enjoy your family. I hope you can take time and count your blessings. I hope you even enjoy your work Christmas party.

John Gammichia, DMD, FAGD

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Gifts for staff, bonuses, Christmas party, paid vacation, etc. You are making this tough on yourself.

If you have to save for a Christmas party you can't afford to have one.

Maybe past generations of dentists could afford to do this. Those days are gone. Sure, some dentists have a hard time admitting this, but don't worry, this truth will come crashing down on them.

Keep up the great writing. But more importantly, get rid of these outdated perks, so next Christmas is a MUCH better one for you.


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