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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Cost of Christmas

A few years ago my family and I decided that we were going to spend much less on Christmas gifts. In the past, I had always gone overboard in giving presents to my children. The main reason I spent too much was based on my own magical childhood Christmas experience. I wanted to make their Christmas the same kind of memorable  day I had experienced. However, I have now come to realize that I was putting my priorities in the wrong place. Interestingly, it was my children who initiated the decision to downsize the number of gifts, and the spending in general.  In fact both of them ganged up on me and begged me to limit the number of gifts to three. 

Ever since my family decided to limit the spending,  Christmas has become a lot less stressful for all of us. It has also turned into a holiday that focuses  more on family and the joy being together than on gifts, or "who got who what?  Of course, I'm lucky because my children are in their late 20s. They aren't three, five, or even 13 years old. They haven't believed in Santa Claus for a long time, nor are they influenced by television advertising since neither of them has a television. However, how about the millions of parents who are ruled by the myth of Santa, who can bring their child everything he or she wants, or by television ads and shopping centers whose only message seems to be "buy, buy, buy." 

Parents are spending a lot more money on Christmas than they want to. In fact, a according to an an article in the British newspaper , The Daily Telegraph, parents will spend an average of £112.50 ( $175.25) on Christmas presents for each of their children, covering every thing from a main gift to stocking-fillers (The Daily Telegraph)

In the U.S., the average American spends $935 on Christmas each year and carries an average credit card debt of $8,562. The same applies for most Canadians. For more information on the American cost if Christmas over the past number of years go to The American Cost of Christmas. 
Here are a few questions for you to think about. Feel free to add your comments and opinions on Christmas spending, or on  the specific questions below. 
Guess what the idioms "gang up on someone" and "go overboard" mean. Then, ldook them up in your dictionary. 
  • Do you go overboard for Christmas? 
  • How much will Christmas cost you this year? 
  • Will it cause you to go into debt? 
  • How much should people spend at Christmas? Why? 
  • Should people even bother to buy gifts at all at this time of year? Why?

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