As you wake this Christmas morning with all the excitement and joy of the festivities, you can be forgiven for thinking I’m nothing more than a miserable tight-fisted old git who never thinks of anyone but himself, but in truth that has never been the case and it still isn’t…
But this Christmas, like so many of them before, there is a recurring theme to the festivities for me. I’ve offered my Humbug Carols from the river bank previously, I’ve reminded you that the Grim Reaper still works on Bank Holidays and I’ve asked what did you do today to make you feel proud. My seasonal salutation is as it has been for several years now, Merry Christmas / Bah Humbug (Delete as appropriate) and I’m not alone…
Humbug: I’m not a massive fan of Christmas, to be honest. Ever since I heard Mr WARREN do his infamous “Bah, Humbug” assembly at school when I was a teenager, I’ve had something resonating in my head. As well as activating anxieties around a general principle of mine – that if something takes longer to plan than it does to do, it is inherently unworthwhile – there is also all the cultural abuse that goes with it…(Mental Health Cop)
This year perhaps even more than ever before (mostly because of austerity and lack of disposable income etc), it appears that many others are also starting to think a little like me, always assuming they didn’t already. Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com fame asked recently; Is it Time To Kill Off Santa?
In a time when many are feeling austerity, is it still a good idea to perpetuate the myth of Santa Claus – a man outside the reality of economics who brings free gifts to children around the world? (Martin Lewis)
And recently in The Telegraph Martin also suggested that we should ban unnecessary Christmas presents and I tend to agree in the main, with both sentiments.
Across the country people are growling at the enforced obligation to waste money on stuff they can’t afford, for people who won’t use it. Festive gift-giving has lost its point, risks doing more harm than good, mis-teaches our children about values and kills the joy of anticipation of what should be a joyous time…(telegraph.co.uk)
It’s probably a bit extreme to deny our kids the magic and enjoyment of Santa and the seasons festivities (always assuming they still hold that belief in the first place) however; it probably is time to readjust the message we are delivering to our children at Christmas. A large proportion of us can no longer afford the financial realities of the Christmas expectations and overt extravagance connected with the festivities. We need to try to stem this tidal wave of excese and extravagance.
I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I am one of those people who really needs to call a halt to all this seasonal financial suicide. My priorities are (and always will be) keeping a roof over the heads of my family, keeping us warm dry and sustained. With the recent increases in fuel and food costs, coupled with a reduction in family income of more than two thirds in recent years, I can assure you this really is no mean feat.
I’m not sad or angry but because of my current personal financial predicament, most of my friends and family won’t have received a gift or card this year. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. It also doesn’t mean I don’t think about them and love them, or consider the people that truly matter to me. Those individuals are special to me/us, they are also an important part of our lives and they are also held in high esteem and have true status in my family and social group however; because they are the type of people I think they are, I would also expect them to be understanding of our situation. If they don’t I had them all wrong.
Despite all of the above it doesn’t mean I won’t be giving something to others this Christmas, I will. But to significantly reduce the unnecessary and unaffordable expenditure I have decided upon the following; for every individual that I would normally send a card/gift I will be giving £1.00 to a worthy cause. My intention is to donate that money to a charity that works to improve the life of people who are less fortunate than I am.
At some early point in the new year I will inform you all how much money was gifted and to which specific charity. Until then, love and best wishes to all my family and friends, I hope Christmas is/was everything you expected it to be.
As Ever…Merry Humbug and whoever your particular God is, may he/she watch over you!
- That Bah Humbug Feeling – Again! (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- FFS It’s Christmas – Not The Relief of Feckin’ Mafeking (bankbabble.wordpress.com)
- Martin Lewis: Is it time to ban Christmas presents? (telegraph.co.uk)
- The 12 saves of Christmas: Money saving expert Martin Lewis on how to avoid financial hangover (mirror.co.uk)
- ‘Is it time to ban Christmas presents?’ (telegraph.co.uk)