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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:22 PM

Has Christmas jumped the shark?

A lot of people I know -- regardless of how much money they have -- are drawing away from the consumerist binge that Christmas has become. The emphasis has been more and more on smaller, more meaningful gifts to those closest to them. Dashes to big-box and mall stores to purchase new TVs, super-expensive fad toys and flashy jewelry seems to be increasingly out of fashion.

Is this just the impact of a still-slow economy, or a sign that the pendulum is swinging back toward sanity? I suspect it is both.

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Reply Has Christmas jumped the shark? (Original post)
LuckyTheDog Dec 2012 OP
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2012 #1
DJ13 Dec 2012 #2
dballance Dec 2012 #3
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #4
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #5
Care Acutely Dec 2012 #6
Berlum Dec 2012 #7
SoCalDem Dec 2012 #8
ChisolmTrailDem Dec 2012 #9

Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:26 PM

1. My wife and I (and two daughters) discussed that quite a bit over the past few weeks.

Our conclusion - it depends! Ads on TV (non-stop car in the driveway with bows, TVs and electronics, etc) and news of lots of shoppers indicates one view (shop til you drop and spend til you bleed)....and our family positions indicate another. My wife and I are in our mid 50s, have what we need (we can pay our bills and have the basic "stuff" - and don't feel we need much beyond that), and with me leaving the work force, feel like quality of life and time spent with loved ones and on loved hobbies far exceeds the need to spend and buy. My two girls are both dollar poor so can't buy much. All in all, we all found we were utterly thrilled with very little spending and few gifts - but it was one of our best feeling Christmas days and seasons.

So I think it all depends on where each one of us are in the cycle (or personal pendulum swing!)...

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Fri Dec 28, 2012, 10:50 PM

2. I think its a reflection of the pessimism many have over their financial future

When people see a bright future they spend.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:14 AM

3. Actually, A Long Time Ago My Family Regained Sanity

We finally agreed one Thanksgiving to draw names and only purchase one gift for the person who's name we drew and spend no more than $50. It made the Christmas season SO much nicer. We still got to spend time with one another and we didn't have that Christmas gift arms race anymore.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:23 AM

4. Not before setting it on fire first

The OP up about "My Christmas Faux Pas" was hilarious and spot on.


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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 12:44 AM

5. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, doesn't come from a store.

Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Remember the reason for the season.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 05:24 AM

6. It did at this house, some years ago

We rejected consumeristmas about 5 years ago. Best decision ever.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 05:56 AM

7. We are winning the War on Christmas (R) !

...the crass commercial exploitation promoted by Republicans like Bill O'Reilly is dying a gruesome death.

Finally -- as the Crass & Vile Republican Commercial 'Christmas' is slain -- Americans will at last be able to snuggle up with some locally grown organic SugarPlums enjoy the true Spirit of the Season.

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 06:33 AM

8. For our family, it did about 3 years ago

Our kids are grown & no grandkids yet, so we just all had a pow-wow & decided to stop it all.. A nice dinner, a phone call & that's plenty

We had been pretty much exchanging gift cards anyway

I still buy stuff when I see things I want them to have..but I just give it to them THEN..June..October..May..whenever..

We expect nothing in return...we don't need anything at our ages anyway..

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Response to LuckyTheDog (Original post)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 06:57 AM

9. What we've done in my family that I have often

heard from others is that we don't gift adults outside the immediate family. For instance, we have five grown children, all of which now have children of their own. We give one gift each to our adult children and we give 3-4 gifts and a stocking to our grand kids/step-grand kids. We also adopt one family, which this year was a member of our extended family (1 gift), his daughter (4 gifts), and his long-time girlfriend (1 gift) - they were also fed a Christmas feast and spent the day with us. Anyways, we set a limit and stick to it. We spent a total of $1200 this Christmas to gift to 20 people, an average of $60 per person. And the wife and I got each other something.

To contrast, when our adult children were still minors and living at home they each got more like 20-22 gifts and we gifted our brothers, sisters, close co-workers, friends, and each and every extended family member with we had regular contact. Our Christmas budget from 5-10 years ago was always around $2400 in those days and at times we went over.

From about 5 or so years ago to now we slowly drew back our Christmas spending as we lowered our per-person allowance and then eventually eliminated all extended family from our Christmas list. And as we eliminated extended family we explained to them that we're giving our Christmases back to our children and more often than not we saw relief in their reactions. Turns out our new attitude was readily welcomed by those extended family members as the financial burden was heavy and no one ever knew what to get anyone else anyway. And they were glad to give Christmas back to their children also.

So, these days our Christmas bill is half what it was a few years ago and I've heard a LOT of friends, family, and acquaintances say that they are doing the same, gifting the children or only their immediate families. I believe this is a general trend in America spurred on by a lax economy, less disposable income, high gas prices taking up even more of what would have been disposable income, and a host of other factors.

Also, I believe there is just a lack of any really new products to spur buying excitement save the latest version of a favorite gaming console or smart phone. iPads and the like are too expensive for most people to gift. Walmart is also a factor, soaking up a good portion of the Christmas bounty on mostly unexciting merchandise that only inspires consumers due to cost considerations.The only thing I've been excited about recently is a Kindle and I already have one of those.

In conclusion, like you, I suspect what we are seeing is indeed a combination of a still-slow economy and a return to consumer sanity but also little to be excited about in the way of new products and gas prices during the rest of the year thrown in.



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