What does Christmas impress you the most?
For me, it is the time when customers flood into Westfield during December to hunt for Christmas gifts, decorations, food and discounted items.
The most beautiful thing about Christmas is meeting friends and family, enjoying the fabulous time with them, or having a rest at the end of the year. But, since when has the Christmas gifts, Christmas shopping and spending become more important than the true meaning of Christmas? Since when has Christmas been lost to the so-called ‘Perfect Christmas’ under consumerism?
Christmas is no longer a time solely for celebrating, relaxing and enjoying when people usually feel increased pressure from the spending costs on shopping, choosing gifts, and celebrating. They increasingly experience anxiety and depression during this world-celebrating holiday.
There are five facts we should notice about the spending during Christmas
Fact 1: Christmas consumerism era
Christmas in nowadays, is not a matter of religious or holiday celebrations anymore. It is all about retailing and consuming. Different shops, retailers are fighting so hard to boost the sales during the holiday and promote the discounted items. With the abundance of attracting incentives, people are losing their minds on spending and consuming. People consequently spend extra money for Christmas gifts, boxing day sales, entertainment and food and etc. It is predicted $17.8 billion AUD will be spent during the Christmas month. According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Aussies planned to spend $1079 on average in the season while only 57% of people tried to set a budget.
Consumerism is everywhere and inescapable. We are losing the true spirit of Christmas holiday but falling into the financial spending trap.
Fact 2: Christmas financial stress
Over half of the respondents in Relationships Australia’s online survey in December, 2014 express that they are having financial pressures and concerns about Christmas and providing their families Christmas gifts. There are also over 30% people agree that they have different expectations around Christmas. 25 % of respondents have anxiety about how to pay for the Christmas food and gifts spending. Many families have not enough food to share and money to buy a presents at Christmas. The holidays become hugely stressful and difficult to them because they are lacking money and unable to meet the expectation.
Conversely, there is growing numbers of total Christmas bills and long-lasting Christmas financial hangover. People spend more money than they could afford despite the fact that they have a tight budget. They eventually undergo significant psychological stress and financial stress when they have serious financial difficulties and debt.
However, the problems are always underestimated or ignored. Sufferers are shy to seek help and discuss their difficulties. It results in a more serious psychological anxiety problem.
ASIC 2015, Australia’s Christmas spending, https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/budgeting/spending/australias-christmas-spending
Relationships Australia 2014, December 2014: Family Stress at Christmas time, http://www.relationships.org.au/what-we-do/research/online-survey/december-2014-family-stress-at-christmas-time
Browne, R 2015, ‘One-quarter of people fret about festive season expenses: Salvos study’, the Sydney Morning Herald, 4 December, http://www.smh.com.au/national/onequarter-of-people-fret-about-festive-season-expenses-salvos-study-20151203-gle9ba.html