Boycott “Holiday” Spending


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Sorry about this guys. I’m not Mr. Groovy today. I’m Mr. Curmudgeon. I want you to boycott “Holiday” spending. Here’s why.

Mindful spending is about spending wisely. If you’re behind on the retirement preparation front, have loads of credit card debt, and live paycheck to paycheck, you shouldn’t be buying things you don’t need. And if you do have your fiscal house in order, you still shouldn’t be buying things you don’t need. You already have enough stuff. More stuff isn’t going to make you happier.

Mindful spending is also about respect. There are a multitude of vendors out there hawking stuff. And there’s no law saying you have to patronize the ones who figuratively spit on you. That’s the beauty of freedom. Vendors are free to treat potential customers with disdain, and potential customers are free to shun rude vendors. So unless you have no self-respect, you should only buy the things you need from vendors who respect you.

“Holiday” shopping fails both of my mindful spending rules. You don’t need to buy Christmas gifts. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so people could camp-out at Best Buy on Black Friday eve. And why is Big Retail so intent on ignoring Jesus during December? Is the end-of-the-year spike in shopping activity being driven by non-Christians? Would it kill Big Retail to show Christians a little appreciation? Call me a cynic, but I can’t fathom a  Macy’s in Saudi Arabia instructing its clerks not to wish Ramadan shoppers a “Happy Ramadan.”

Here’s the bottom line: Big Retail is uncomfortable saying “Merry Christmas” to Christmas shoppers and including Jesus in its December promotional campaigns, not because it might be offensive to non-Christians, but because it’s definitely offensive to Big Retail. And that’s okay. Big Retail doesn’t have to like Christians.

But Big Retail wants the money of Bible-thumping Jesus freaks. And that’s why we get the “Happy Holidays” crap. It’s a compromise Big Retail can live with.

But can you live with it?

Here’s an idea. Celebrate Christmas the Jesus way, not the consumerist way. Get together with family and friends. Read the Bible. Be charitable. Take the money you designated for Christmas gifts and give it instead to Wounded Warriors or a local food bank. Remember, Jesus was all about loving thy neighbor. He wasn’t about buying a lot of unnecessary stuff from vendors who loathe you.

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  1. Ron Cameron

    Once you’re past being a child, Christmas gift receiving loses it’s luster pretty quick. And gift giving…how often are those gifts really meaningful? My wife and I stopped giving each other gifts a few years ago.

    Instead of gifts I take my siblings out for a nice post-Christmas dinner and movie to spend time together. My “adult” (15+yo) nephews and nieces I take out for dinner and then we hang out and play games for an overnight at our house. The next morning we nominate two to make us “Gorilla Bread” for breakfast as we cheer them on.

    Getting everyone together seems much more meaningful and appreciated than some crap that is obligatorily given. Having said that, I -do- give the occasional gift when I see something and think “Oooh, so-and-so would really like that”. Surprise heartfelt gifts are still awesome!

  2. Once again, great work. This post definitely resonates with us. Over the years, I’ve definitely felt a waining sense of joy around Christmas, and I’ve concluded that it all stems from that sour consumerist attitude and forgetting the real spirit of Christmas. Additionally, it’s pretty strange to me that people forget everything they know about money during Jan-Nov and blow EVERYTHING in Christmas shopping.

    We’ve really enjoyed your articles lately. Keep up the good work

    • Mr. Groovy

      Hi, Brian. Thanks for the kind words. It is strange how people lose their fiscal minds in December. I have a cousin who seemingly gets an expensive piece of jewelry from her husband every Christmas. And, yet, I never see her wearing any of this jewelry. My sister tells me it’s stored in my cousin’s attic, along with all the other shiny objects she and her immediate family have exchanged between themselves over the years. It’s insanity. Buy, wrap, open, oh-and-ah, put in storage, wait 12 months and repeat. Thankfully my immediate family woke up about ten years ago. It dawned on us that 1) we never really remembered what we got in previous Christmases, and 2) we had everything we needed. We now do a grab-bag where everybody contributes a gift worth less than $25. We also pool our money and take turns picking a charity to bestow it upon. We find that this makes for a much more enjoyable (and authentic) Christmas.