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Written by Reg Wright
For the major stores, and most other stores too, Xmas is a money making bonanza. Shop until you drop. Just swipe your credit card and you are on your way. I am continually astonished how, for many families, rational financial management goes out the window in the glamour and glitter of Xmas.
The merchandisers know the psychology of advertising. The advertising starts in November -- only so many days to Xmas. Don't leave your shopping to the last minute. Store loyalty cards, discount offers, points systems, fuel discounts and bonus prizes are a way of life now. All are designed to help us spend our hard earned dollars and, in many instances, run up a debt on our credit card. Buy now and worry about the repayments later.
And because Xmas is cited as a time for the giving of gifts the subtle pressure is that we would not want to disappoint our children. They must have Xmas presents whether or not we can afford them. And the merchandisers make it easy for us to buy on time payment – no interest on 24 monthly payments – but, if you default on your monthly payments, the interest charge you will end up paying will frighten you.
According to a Commonwealth Bank Media Release, Aussies will spend some 17.8 billion dollars this Xmas season. This may be good for the country's economy but the report said that the individual will spend an extra 1079 dollars per person. Many will not be able to afford this additional cost.
Keeping up with the Jones (to use an expression) is another pressure upon families at Xmas time. And this is especially true with the children. When gifts are given out, children compare them. And our children are quick to observe when others receive more expensive gifts than theirs. In order to deal with this perceived inequity, parents will spend more than they should so their children do not feel they are disadvantaged. This is not a healthy state of affairs.
It is time we took a stand and not let Xmas run our lives. My wife and I and our family have not kept Xmas for over 50 years and it has been such a relief not to have to deal with all the hype of Xmas. We sale through the Xmas season with ease! The constant flow of television commercials advertising Xmas gifts and services are of no consequence to us. There are no pressures, no worries about spending reserves of money needed for upcoming bills, no concerns about going into debt and how we are going to meet the payments. With peace of mind we let the Xmas glitter and glamour pass us by and after Xmas our peace of mind continues as our finances are still in good shape.
During the year we take the time to give gifts to our family and spend time with them. We are able to do this at times of our choice and as our finances permit. In addition, we had another incentive to remove Xmas from our events calendar. Through our personal biblical and historical research we became convinced that Xmas with all its commercial trappings and revelry does not honour our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was not born on 25th December and the Xmas season has its origin in paganism – another good reason to withdraw from this annual charade.
We realise not everyone will come to the same conclusion and make the same decision as we have. But our advice is: If you insist on keeping Xmas then don't let it run your life. It is certainly not running ours.
If you would like to learn more about the origin of Xmas, our free booklet Holidays or Holy days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep? contains much relevant information on this subject. You can read or download this booklet online on this website, or you can request a printed copy to be sent to you by mail.
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