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Who Stole The Spirit Of Christmas

Once again it is the time of year where it is impossible to forget that Christmas is just around the corner, we see advertising on our TV’s, in the shops, on the radio and we read about it in magazines and newspapers, but what is Christmas all about? How have things changed since the time that Christmas began? Originally Christmas was all about Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus, now it has become a time where the kids are looking forward to seeing what Santa has left for them in their Christmas stockings and under the Christmas tree. Santa Claus (St. Nicholas) was a wealthy man who gave gifts to poor who were struggling financially, however, he didn’t want them to know where the gifts had come from, so he gave in such a way so the folk would find his gifts but not know who gave them, hence the myth about Father Christmas. However, for many people nowadays, Christmas has become a time where families worry about the cost of Christmas rather than looking forward to the occasion. The temptation to take out loans and credit cards can prove to be irresistible with the thought of Christmas costs looming and how they are going to afford it. Having said that, people do like to celebrate Christmas, it is a time for families, parties and celebrations, however, the costs involved are still a major factor of the celebrations.

The purchasing of decorations, food, drink and spending on travel all adds to the cost proving that Christmas is the most expensive time of year for families in the UK. The Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) said they expect the total UK spending in December to be a staggering £48.7bn, a rise of 11% on last years spend in that one month! Free debt advice agencies such as Payplan ( www.payplan.com ) say that the amount of enquiries they usually experience in December is significantly less in comparison to other months throughout the year, however February is the time they receive the highest amount of enquiries, due to debtors denying the true cost of Christmas until they realise their finances have been crippled.

The figures reflect what happens in the credit industry in the months surrounding December. People take out loans or spend on credit cards in order to keep up with the costs of Christmas and then look for ways to deal with their finances in the New Year. A survey conducted by Payplan in 2003 showed that over 45% of people were still paying for presents bought in 2002. Already people who use debt forums are talking about how they are feeling the pressure of Christmas and looking for ways to ease the stress and find ways to cope with Christmas costs without adding to their existing debt problems. “It’s just a bit of a depressing time for people trapped in debt!!” said one poster, “The true sprit of Christmas has been hijacked by marketing and advertising people and whipped into a three months spending frenzy “ said another. Marketing and advertising make their job of easing the costs very difficult, but they are determined not to get into more financial difficulty because of the price tag on Christmas, “I have been buying stocking fillers for the children in sales when I see them and I have told all family my limit is £5 each as they are token gifts and its the thought that counts. All my family have more disposable income than I do. So with such a small budget I have been doing alot of shopping around. “ Christmas needs to be a time to put smiles on peoples faces, not to cause stress and difficulty in trying to keep up with all the costs put before them in order to enjoy, what should be a happy occasion. “Christmas is about family and I hope my family understand that it is better to have a token gift rather than get me in debt again.


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