I was listening to the news the other day when they reported what I thought was an astonishing statistic, that there were 33 million people in the U.S. still in debt from what they had bought last Christmas! This being twelve months later, do you find that as shocking as I do? I was never brought up under the good example made by my parents to think that Christmas was the one day of the year set aside which obligated everyone to go broke. That whole notion, I am sure, was the brainchild of retail stores and banks pushing ‘easy credit’.
Christmas to me means a family get together, a very nice meal, going to the midnight mass thanking God for our blessings. It was never about how much money you could spend trying to ‘one-up’ everyone else. I know that commercialism is not the intended meaning of Christmas, never was. People have been brainwashed to think it is about the ‘things’ you get.
My mother has always said that you get what you need when you need it, at any time of year, and only if you can stay within the budget. I agree. She is from an era that was devoid of the temptation’s of credit cards, the ‘buy now pay later’ traps. She is from the era of pay cash or do without until you could pay cash. We need urgently to get back to that way of thinking.
I guess the 33 million people that are still in debt from last year have put upon themselves the added, (needless) stress of how to pay for this Christmas also. The best things in life are free…. It is hard to wean yourself from the ‘easy credit’ trap while trying to impress people with ‘things’….
Start by getting back to the basics, just being glad that your family is together and well, by enjoying each others company. People do not love one another based on what they can buy each other, that is not love. Simple thoughtful and caring actions are the real measure of love, not ‘things’. The whole world would be better off without the traps of ‘easy credit’. May the true Spirit of Christmas find you and yours well. 🙂
Mark Shean, submitted 12-7-2010