This is a sign that is on every bulletin board on my estate. It scares me but it speaks of the brutal truth, there are people that will forgo paying their rent so they can have an impressive Christmas spread and more stuff under the tree.
In the UK, Christmas advertising starts in October so the advertisers have a good 11 weeks of trying to brain wash the public that if they don’t have Champagne at Christmas they will be letting their family down. I find it heartbreaking that people will risk losing the roof over their head for the sake of keeping up with the Jones’.
If you are a regular reader, you know I am not a big fan of the Jones’, or the Smith’s or anyone else that might pressure people to spend money that they can’t afford. I know it is not a popular view to dislike the Christmas holiday but it is not the holiday I dislike – it is the buying of useless stuff that just sits on shelves gathering dust that I hate.
I don’t think adults need to exchange gifts, by the time we are 30, we pretty much have everything we need. Yes, some items need replacing regularly, but those are not the type of items that people give for Christmas. When was the last time you got new tea towels as a gift? Or a set of sheets? These are not sexy gifts that people think about giving. You are more likely to get a cute cat statue because you have a cat.
Some families will limit the spend per gift, which sounds like a great idea but when you limit a gift to under £10, you are even more likely to get a throway, gifty item that you don’t need or want. If a family is having tough times and who isn’t, I think you should do a secret Santa. Where everyone picks a person to buy for out of a hat and gets to spend a decent amount of money. Since you are only buying one gift you can spend £20 – 25 on that person.
There are even online secret Santa websites that will pick the person you should gift and give you suggestions on what they want. I love this idea, as you get what you need or desire in the quick click of the mouse. Please don’t think I am a scrooge at heart, I just deteste the way we are encouraged to spend when we don’t have the cash.
2011 has been a difficult year economically and we don’t know if 2012 will be any better or heaven forbid worse so it is foolhardy to over extend your finances over Christmas. I am being very conservative this year and sticking to my budget. I do not want to wake up in January with a giant financial hangover and possibly less work.