Only 9 days left until Christmas!…..and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping! But…
I am not worried. I will probably go out and buy a few gifts for my loved ones before Christmas day. When I see how Christmas has morphed into what it is today, how materialistic it has become, I tend to draw away from it. Not to draw away from celebrating Christmas, but in getting caught up in all of the gift buying frenzy of the season. Yes, I know that there are those that love shopping and buying gifts, and that is alright, but I am not one of them.
The statistics that I read for this year were amazing….
- Americans will spend $400 billion dollars on Christmas this year.
- 40% of the toys bought for Christmas giving will be broken in just a few months time.
- 50% of Americans will spend more than they can afford.
- 1/3 of the Christmas shoppers will take 6 months to pay for their Christmas spending.
- 20% of Americans will have trouble paying their regular payments in the month of January because of their Christmas spending.
I know that the $400 billion dollars spent are very important for the retailers of our nation. “Black Friday” is the day that they get into the black and out of the red in the financial area. But it seems to me that so much of the spending is just for inconsequential ‘stuff’. Why are we spending this much money on cheap stuff that will soon be broken, or tossed aside because it has lost its appeal, spending money that we can’t afford to spend, and suffer for it in the following months?
Here are some things to think about in regards to Christmas spending-
- Purchase good quality gifts. Fewer gifts of good quality, made with durable materials that will last, make more sense than lots of cheaply made items that are soon broken and thrown away. When I think of quality gifts, I think of the older type toys-metal tonkas, legos, wooden building blocks, books, etc. (Yes, I know how thrilled the children are with the remote controlled vehicle-but how long does it last!?)
- Purchase gifts that reflect you moral values. That is why, in general, we do not buy electronic gadgets. We much prefer toys and items that are more of a learning or teaching type. We would rather that the children interact with others, than staring down at the electronic game all afternoon. We are very careful in choosing gifts that agree with our values. So many of the toys today are of a violent nature, (I am mainly thinking video games here), or have immodest or immoral aspects that I am so against. The types of books given as gifts should reflect our values. Be careful of what you give, make sure that is an influence in the right direction for the recipient.
- Set a budget and stick with it. Spend time thinking ahead about the gifts that you would like to give, and how much you can afford to spend. It is financially careless to just spend money on gifts that are not thought out. Watch the prices, and follow sale ads of the items you are thinking about. If you have been keeping an eye on prices and sales, you will know when something is a good buy. Sometimes it is best to purchase early in the year, sometimes it is best to wait until just before Christmas, when many items are marked down.
- Set aside and save money through the year to be used for Christmas shopping. That way you won’t be caught in a bind right before Christmas, and find yourself spending money that belongs somewhere else.
- Last, but not least, remember that it is Christ’s birth that we are celebrating. Find some way to celebrate His birth by giving to others-providing gifts for those less fortunate than you, inviting someone into your home for a meal and fellowship that otherwise would be alone, visiting and taking cookies to shut-ins, spending time with the lonely. There are many good organizations that provide a way for you to be a help at Christmas, and they would love for you to help.
These are some of the reasons that I sew pajamas for my grandchildren at Christmas. The pajamas are a labor of love for each one of them, they will get good use out of them all year long (and, hopefully think of their grandma when they wear them and are all snuggly warm in them!) The grandchildren will receive 1 toy each from us, also. But, as I see all of the gifts that are given, I realize that we have too much. We could have so much less, and still be happy.
How nice to be loved for who you are and not for what you can give.
“The Lord knoweth the days of the upright:
and their inheritance shall be for ever.”
photo credit-Google images