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Sun Dec 21, 2014, 03:47 PM

Why Iím opting out of Christmas (The Guardian)

We have ruined Christmas by allowing capitalism to tell us we should be buying ourselves into an orgy of goodwill and glamour

...

Christmas is the stick with which millions of us beat ourselves into brandy-soaked agony for being poor, single, childless, lonely, or simply bad at being jolly. Itís one thing to be single, skint and surrounded by dysfunctional relatives, but itís quite another when the entire capitalist world is telling you that this is the most magical time of the year. We seem to have lost the script to a pantomime we never even believed in. We have ruined Christmas, without even trying.

Last year the TUC published a study that showed the average British adult borrowed £685 over the festive period, grinding them into a debt that would take until June to pay off. If that adult earned the minimum wage, it would take them an entire year to drag themselves out of Christmas debt Ė just to do it all over again. And yet adverts, pop songs, window displays and shop shelves scream out that we should be buying ourselves into an orgy of goodwill and glamour Ė that Christmas has no value unless youíve paid for it.

It is because of this wild fury of expected expense that you will find yourself, panic-stricken, standing under a soul-sucking white light, gently sweating to Slade, holding four ugly brass candlesticks, a spotty teapot and some bath salts in the hope that someone, somewhere, will want them as a present. It is, frankly, a long way from Jesus.

If, like 7% of those recently polled by the BBC, you will be spending Christmas alone, then the burden can feel even heavier. Everything from washing powder to chicken nuggets is sold on the promise of yuletide love, affection and romance from about 27 September onwards. Yet it takes a stout heart and strong backbone to stare down Christmas single-handedly. And if, like mine, your family are a long way from the Bisto advert, then getting in the Christmas spirit can feel like a lost cause.

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/21/opting-out-christmas-capitalism


I'm not opting out of Christmas (myself), but like many others I feel as though much of the meaning behind the season has become lost and cheapened. In recent years I've really scaled back in my spending, while allowing myself to enjoy some of the more positive aspects: family, the food (yum!), and yeah, even the movies and the music. But I simply refuse to go in debt at this time of the year.

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Reply Why Iím opting out of Christmas (The Guardian) (Original post)
inanna Dec 2014 OP
BeyondGeography Dec 2014 #1
LiberalElite Dec 2014 #2
LiberalElite Dec 2014 #3
inanna Dec 2014 #4
LiberalElite Dec 2014 #5

Response to inanna (Original post)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 04:28 PM

1. It isn't Christmas' fault that too many people define themselves

by their propensity to consume and the perceived quality of their consumption.

There's still plenty of ways to enjoy the occasion without blowing £685 on gifts that no one will remember. Set limits, stick to them, decorate your space a little, put on the holiday music of your choice and make a good meal or two. Simple, satisfying stuff that won't break the bank and leave you feeling miserable.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 09:07 PM

2. Author doesn't blame Christmas

he blames what we've done to it. Me, I try to think of it as just a nice winter festival. Keeps it light without the baggage.

(And to all who have no such "baggage" from times past and as such have no idea what I'm talking about, good for you. )

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Response to inanna (Original post)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 09:08 PM

3. It starts around 27 September?!?!

It's worse in the U.K. than here! Although here 27 September is when the "fragrance" gift sets begin to appear on the shelves at Rite Aid...

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Response to LiberalElite (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 09:28 PM

4. Here in Canada....

it begins the day after Halloween @ stores like Shoppers Drug Mart, etc.

And with the ads on TV/radio.

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Response to inanna (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 21, 2014, 09:31 PM

5. Here Halloween - a BIG moneymaker -

is getting run over by Christmas. It used to be mostly after Halloween but not this year. And I'm old enough to recall when the madness didn't start till the day after (our) Thanksgiving.

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