Thursday, November 20, 2008

If the economy is putting a crimp in your style....


I've been curious to actually ask this question, whether the economy will alter anyone's Christmas plans. Since I don't participate, it's become a matter of curiosity.

In some deep dark crevice of my constantly pondering mind, I can't help but think the economy may be a good thing. People will have to come up with other ideas for their celebrations ~ something beyond buying "stuff" and creating debt.

If you had absolutely no money, how would you do it differently? How would you explain to your kids?


~*

31 comments:

WendyB said...

Most people's livelihoods in some way depend on people buying "stuff." I don't want people to go into debt, but I don't want to go out of business either, and I think neither does anyone else, whether they work at Starbucks, Prada or Citibank.

Border Explorer said...

When will we figure out that the earth's resources aren't unlimited? "Buy, buy, buy" might help the economy, but it is killing our planet and creating serious injustice in the human community. //People will have to come up with other ideas for their celebrations ~ something beyond buying "stuff" and creating debt.// I say: Hooray.

WendyB said...

^^ So we go back to subsistence farming? Because that worked really well at keeping the population down through starvation. More starvation, less population, less harm to earth?

Bec said...

ebay, freebay & freecycle. All sites I used often to get & get rid of things & have bought a few toys for my son from ebay to be placed under the tree. I think there is no perfect answer but you have to ask;

Why can these stores all of a sudden reduce their prices, often up to & over 50% less than they charges 6 months ago? The profit margin must have been so great that they can afford to do that in leaner times so I wonder, why don't they just keep the prices low in the first place, would def go some way to reducing the massive household debt that most people find they have now?

We have always had subdued Christmas, my husband is buddhist so doens't beleive in it but will celebrate with my family as it is part of our culture but neither buys nor recieves gifts from them

My son will be raised knowing both sides & will receive lots of gifts from my family but I am not an excessive buyer & he will only receive one gift from us & a stocking with small trinkets & sweets. It's is ample imo.

I also never buy any of the "Christmas" foods like mince pies & candy canes int he run up. They promote obesity & gluttony imo but on Chritmas day we eat a large meal, have Christmas cake & brandy cream, chocolates & drink too much but on boxing day life goes back to normal. It is supposed to be one day of celebration, merry making & reflection not a 6 week orgy of greed, excess & debt inducing shopping. Shame not everyone understands that though.

Ramble over ;)

ThomasLB said...

I make my own Christmas cards. That takes a little time, but it saves a lot of money.

I always give books for Christmas. If I've had a good year, they're hardback; if it's been a so-so year, they're paperback; if it's been a tough year, they're used.

Sober Briquette said...

Here's an old one from 1935 by Irving Caesar:

Make my mommy's life a song
Keep my daddy safe and strong
Let me have them all year long
That's what I want for Christmas

Let my dolls be made of rags
Fireman hats of paper bags
Just write love on the greeting tag
That's what I want for Christmas...

TZT said...

I always make some part of my Christmas gifts (usually natural bath stuff), and want my son to help me this year.

I interviewed the president of a massive food bank a few days ago, and he told me about an 8-year-old girl who decided to forgo her birthday gifts & party - asked her friends to donate food and money for the food bank instead. She got $350 and a bunch of food. Apparently, this was her own choice, prompted the news that hunger in our state is way up this year.

That's totally Christmas to me.

wheelsonthebus said...

the economy is simply solidifying choices i had made for environmental reasons

Cecilieaux said...

A twist on Wheels' comment: the economy is solidifying choices I made for simplicity's sake.

I've given my boys an envelope with money for years (one of them has a birthday on Christmas Eve). Only occasionally, when I see something that I actually know someone will like, do I go and buy that.

Cecilieaux said...

One more thing: see http://www.conference-board.org/utilities/pressDetail.cfm?press_ID=3522

Say It said...

First, I wouldn't explain anything to my kids, they are naturally accepting and I don't think they would have a problem. Second, I would try to create a magical day rather than gifts. But thats harder to do, so it might be a flop. Oh well, its the thought that counts right?! Third, I think you are onto something here with this: think about it question. Good job.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

The economy is providing the opportunity to survive by getting back to basics or to complain about all we've lost.

Most people are feeling the pinch and last night's news announced over 1,000 new layoffs from banks and other businesses in the Bay area.

Hopefully, out of this will come renewed solidarity, people helping each other more, and children learning that caring, sharing and love are more important than shiny objects advertised on TV.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

afeatheradrift said...

We make more of a thing out of Thanksgiving than Christmas now. Christmas we just kind of lay low, make a nice but not substantial meal, watch a good movie in the evening. We settle on one gift we both can use. A couple of years ago it was Tivo. I don't know what we will do this year, we haven't really thought of it. We wanted to do a CD player, but don't know much about this new Blue ray crap and whether we should wait...lol. I basically don't like Christmas any more. It's just a commercial buy fest and the planet cannot afford this kind of gluttony.

Christy said...

I don't like to give or get material gifts.

(And that sometimes that makes others feel I don't care, which isn't true)

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

We called a truce with gifts with some of our family. There is simply no reason for me to dig around for something my sister-in-law isn't going to like, while she does the same for me. We don't make a big deal about gifts with anyone. We give a few gifts, but don't do Santa with our kids and make a bigger deal about the festivities of the day than getting stuff. We bought the baby's Christmas gift on consignment, and have waited for the toddler's to go on sale before we buy it.

Stephanie said...

We called a truce with gifts with some of our family. There is simply no reason for me to dig around for something my sister-in-law isn't going to like, while she does the same for me. We don't make a big deal about gifts with anyone. We give a few gifts, but don't do Santa with our kids and make a bigger deal about the festivities of the day than getting stuff. We bought the baby's Christmas gift on consignment, and have waited for the toddler's to go on sale before we buy it.

Stephanie said...

Did I answer your question? I just realized I kind of didn't.

The truth is that I enjoy Christmas, and all that comes with it. The religious and familial traditions are both important to me. Even so, we never go into debt for Christmas. We work ahead (my husband's been going out of town for a month now to pick up extra income), shop ahead, and make it work. If we can't buy it in cash, we won't buy it.

On some level, I think learning to rely on each other and to live within our means as a nation will be a blessing from the economic crisis. But it comes at a great price.

SUEB0B said...

I don't generally exchange Christmas gifts with anyone, and you know I don't have kids...

As far as the economy goes, I think it helps to realize that we should not be defined by our circumstances, but by how we respond to our circumstances. I know plenty of people here who are field workers, hotel maids - who were lawyers and doctors in their home country. Yet they conduct themselves with dignity and pride. They set good examples for the rest of us, who may have to learn humility as this economy shakes out.

Christy said...

(I am sorry to address another commenter in your blog, Chani...but it seemed WendyB was feeling persecuted.)

WendyB, I think it is a matter of balance with most people. I'm not very materialistic, but I am sitting here in Ugg's boots, a Northface jacket, etc., to stay warm, when I could have bought off-brand.

So we all do it, and it isn't wrong, per se.

I went to your blog and you look at fashion as art and that is beautiful!

Good for you!

Everybody needs a passion. And I doubt the country will turn its back on yours. Your stuff was great, btw!

Angela said...

I like to do gifts that I put something of myself into. Time, heart, love. One year I did potpourri with all the native materials available to me. I can always cook something relatively inexpensive, mixing together spice combinations is a cool gift. I've been doing that for a few years and just buying things for the little kids in the family. I think it will only be a good thing to move away from so much materialism - even if it is forced.

Mary said...

Chani,

We'll have plenty of food but will spend less this year.

I don't think the economy will have good effects at all. If we don't spend, the entire world and every citizen in this country will be adversely affected. My daughter may lose her job and that makes me grit my teeth. My husband, a few years from retirement could lose his job and I might, too. Personally, I'm scared and pissed off.

Perhaps the auto execs need to sell their private corporate jets and take the Amtrak instead. I could go on and on.

Leann said...

I've given much more thought about what I want to give others this year.

As for what I would tell my children, the spiritual aspect of the holiday means more to me than the materialistic. We would celebrate what it means to be a family and spend the day encouraging and rejoicing in that choice.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Been there... D had lost his job. We weren't homeless or hungry, though, and we had a "little bit" extra - we went to our local kiwanis store, bought C a couple of games/toys, he bought earrings for his exchange "sister" and D and I challenged ourselves to get as many things that the other would enjoy for $5. I made our exchange daughter an advent calendar with photos of people she loved behind every door. It was actually our best holiday by far. We usually, though, just give donations anyway, except for the younger kids.

Womanin a Window said...

Oh, in a way it would be an extraordinary thing, to have NO money. We have little but still manage to spend a lot and buy more than what is needed. These are fleeting young years and I delight to an insane level in the holiday. But the part that we delight in most is the pre-time and post-time. The snuggling, the baking, the talking and listening and singing. We're not religious but the holidays give us pause to stop and celebrate family. The money is irrelevant.

Relyn said...

Wow! I just stopped by to say Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I was fascinated by the storm of response your question created. Very interesting. I'd be interested to know why you don't participate, if you care to share. My husband's family also does not celebrate Christmas. So, of course, I find the reasons behind the choice especially fascinating. I have enjoyed the posts and comments I've been reading here at Thailandgal. I think you have a thoughtful, pondering way of considering things. I like it. Hello, friend.

Ian Lidster said...

We've always done Christmas in a very 'small' way, so the economy makes no difference to us.

MsLittlePea said...

Oh I've always thought people go too overboard when it comes to kids gifts for Christmas. Not because I don't like kids, you know I love children but the way people spend spend spend for Christmas gifts that will be enjoyed then forgotten in few months time has always baffled me. I've been lecturing my sister for years about it. She would go out and spend thousands of dollars on gifts every year and it seems that she was alleviating her own disappointment at not getting much for Christmas when we were growing up. Now that times are tough she's freaking out about what to do because her kids are so used to millions of presents under the tree. So I would hope that I wouldn't get to the point where my (hypothetical future) kids just expect it. I hope our Christmases are modest and more family oriented than a gift bonanza. I do like giving presents but I think a few well thought gifts and a loving Holiday is better than breaking the bank to make up for past feeling one's kids don't even know about. I just don't see how raising kids to think some stranger they've never met comes with thousands of dollars of free stuff (rather than mommy and daddy work very hard for all that we have and bought you the best they could afford) is a healthy philosophy. But I can't really say anything with authority since I don't have any kids.....yet.

I gave up giving gifts to my husband a long time ago since he's difficult to shop for- when he really wants something, he'll get it for himself and I'm the same way. We shop together often so it's just easier for us to shop for our own gifts together. If money is tight, for his birthday or on Holidays I'll usually make something, like his favorite pie. Little things like that are better gifts because they are from the heart. So if I had a big family that's probably what I would propose we do. Small special favors and homemade things.

painted maypole said...

i do have hope that the recession will help people take the focus away from stuff - not just at Christmas, but year round. We throw money at everything and everyone, and nearly all of us could stand to live more simply.

That being said, we usually have pretty simple Xmases to begin with, so it probably won't change much for us this year.

Border Explorer said...

Oh dear, I'm in the midst of packing and moving and just now checked back on this thread. I agree with Christy that my comment appeared combative to WendyB. I am sorry, Wendy; I did not mean it as a personal response to what you wrote. Not knowing you or your blog, I can understand that, if you are a retailer, it is important to you to be able to sell your inventory. I wish you success in your work. Peace.

I do become exasperated because Christmas turns into a celebration of capitalism that appears to have very limited connections to the Gospel message (if any!) I'm sorry that my exasperation came out as offensive. Chani, my apologies to you, too, for any discomfort caused here.

3brainer said...

I don't have any money this year. I will make art for friends and family or give away things of my own that I know they would like. I am moving onto a boat in the spring and need to do some clearing anyway. I don't have kids, but if I did, I'd bake them sweets and tell them stories and sing and dance and let them stay up late doing whatever they wanted. And maybe plant a tree instead of cutting one.