It’s that time of the year again. The time when I come face to face with a conflict of commercialism, my job and my conviction.
I work retail. My livelihood pretty much depends on your coming into my store and spending your money on our products and services during the Christmas season. Without the Christmas shopping season our economy would look very different. Retailers depend on “this” season to get most of us through “those” season. You know, the other times of the year.
But Christmas is also that time when people go into their deepest debt and spend the rest of the year trying to claw their way out before the next Christmas season. Every time someone pulls out a credit card to buy Christmas presents, my guts shrivel up and I feel remorseful for them. Yes I know that some people like to use their credit cards just to get points or to build credit, and some of them even manage to consistently pay them off each month. But the reality is that is not the case for most people. Most people buy on credit at Christmas because there is no way they can afford the season from their normal income.
And then there’s the fact that we are so ridiculously commercialized and wealthy in a sort of “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, but check out my new XBOX ONE” kind of way, while children around the world go hungry and entire communities lack safe drinking water.
But I’m not the type of offer a polarized solution to our excessive activities. I think festivals and traditions are good and healthy for a community. I don’t think exchanging gifts, enjoying grand meals and celebrating with the extended family are, by default, bad things. I also don’t think that, on account that someone somewhere is hurting, we should all strip our lives of any pleasures at all times. But this is not the place to argue for what I just said. Instead I’m going to offer you a few tips for your Christmas spending. Continue Reading…