Blast of Spending

Each year we set a budget for Christmas gift spending. This year we have spent most of that as we try to get Christmas things done well in advance of our travel to New Mexico and then Bob’s second eye surgery. What about you? Is there a plan to your spending?

With the economic woes from this rampant inflation the news was reporting on something I too have noticed with on-line shopping …. this offer of ‘buy now, pay later’ on line. They keep offering to let me pay in three or four installments. There IS nothing new under the sun!

What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

When will we reign in this desire for new things, better things, larger things and learn to live within our means? At first I am saddened in the grocery store when I hear a mother tell her child “No, we cannot afford that.” That is usually in regards to cookies or a new cereal. I want to buy the thing for the child, but my next thought is respect for the mother. She is willing to tell the child the truth! That is not often done in this day and age.

I think we are selling our souls in this quest to fulfill our untamed wants and making ourselves think those are needs. What happened to contentment? Can we separate ourselves from the ways of the world?

 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. 1‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.

John 15:17-19 NRSV

We can make our own ornaments out of pressed paper egg cartons. We can string popcorn and cranberries. We can limit our gifts to one another both in quantity and by cost. We could choose to stay within budget. Setting limits on how we celebrate might tell the world more than our words about how much we value Christ and His teachings. What if this holiday you actually told the people you love how you love them and why? Wouldn’t heartfelt truth over a cup of coffee be more memorable than some bauble they likely do not need or want?

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NRSV

Consider the facts below. yikes.

Key 2022 American Christmas Spending Stats

  1. Americans spend approximately $1,000 on Christmas each year.
  2. 65% of US holiday budgets are assigned to gift purchases.
  3. US holiday sales have grown year-over-year for over a decade.
  4. 96% of Americans buy gifts for their families.
  5. Americans spend well over $200 a year on non-gift items.
  6. Canadians spend roughly twice as much as Americans during the holidays.
  7. On average, men spend 10% more than women on holiday purchases.
  8. The highest-spending Americans over the winter holidays are aged 45-54.
  9. The Northeast outspends the South by around $100 per person each year.
  10. Gift cards are the most popular present to receive.
  11. 43% of Americans begin Christmas shopping before the end of October.
  12. More than half (57%) of Americans shop online for holiday purchases.

Average Christmas Spending 2022

Christmas is a major expenditure for many Americans. According to the latest data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), American consumers spend an average of $997.73 on gifts and holiday items each Christmas.

I pray you will mindfully choose how you celebrate this year. May the fragrance of Christ be your best gift to give. Remembering Whose birthday we are celebrating may be the most powerful monitor of our intentions and purchasing.

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