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Christmas on Credit

It is possible to over romanticise the past, especially when it comes to Christmas.  Rosy pictures of past Christmases, often influenced by television ads rather then reality, can obscure a dispassionate retelling of Yuletide festivities of yore.  Much of the iconography of Santa Claus is based on images created by artist Haddon Sundblom between 1931 and 1964 for the Coca Cola seasonal advertising.  However, it has to be admitted that commercialisation of Christmas seems to be very much here to stay.

In a 2011 survey by ComRes people were asked what they thought Christmas was about these day.   The following results were obtained:

83% agreed that Christmas is a about spending time with family and friends
62% agreed that Christmas is a time when we should be generous to people less fortunate than ourselves.
41% agreed that Christmas is a about celebrating that God loves humanity. 24% disagreed with this.
40% said Christmas is a good excuse for taking time off and doesn't really have any meaning today but 34 % disagreed with this.

The results of such surveys point to an unhappiness with the commercialisation of Christmas but in fact marketing departments can use these views to target advertising strategies.

Consider the following results from the Money Advice Service's  survey on Christmas spending this year:

Almost half of UK adults say they will have to resort to credit cards, store cards and overdrafts to help them cope with Christams expenditure;
30 per cent say they will find it harder to afford Christmas this year than they did last year;
1.4 million say they will ask for loans from pay day lenders to fund their Christmas festivities;
37 per cent said they feel pressure to spend more than they can comfortably afford to put on a special Christmas for their families;
26 per cent of adults admited to getting carried away with Christmas spending so that they end spending more than they can afford;
24 per cent do not plan their Christmas spending.

Whatever we think of the true meaning of Christmas, the Christmas holiday tradition of overspending is a dangerous monster waiting to devour us.  Ponder these things my friends and beware.  And cut up that credit card.

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