Holiday Season Shopping - What will it be like?
This year, Christmas Day and New Year's Day fall on Mondays. Due to visiting family and in observance of these holidays, there will be no blog posts on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. There will be additional reminders in my upcoming blog posts.
In addition, my last blog post for 2023 will be on December 18th., and it will be a VIDEO blog post. Thank you.
Greetings to all. As a reminder, 95% of my blog post topics come from requests from my readers and subscribers. Posting nearly 48 posts a year makes it easier to develop a diversified number of topics. Thanks to all who have emailed me with your requests. I try to address all the requests, and sometimes when the subject matter is close, I combine similar topics in one post. This week's post is one of those times. That said, this is an excellent time to combine the requests to discuss shopping, costs, and holiday traditions into one post.
In life, we cannot always avoid the facts because they are real and often affect us all. Regardless of the Holiday, many things surrounding various holidays involve tradition. What we must understand about tradition is that it may look different over the years and generations. However, the basics of tradition do not change. Many are denied the opportunity to learn and experience tradition due to a variety of reasons. Although that percentage is low compared to those who have the chance to experience and learn about traditions, it is equally important.
Each religion and culture has different traditions they follow at various times of the year. Tradition is important because it sets a base we get used to. These things are usually done at certain times of the year that we look forward to. It may be prepared for special foods, events we attend, how a family practices their religion, or how they handle the holiday. Tradition is a vital part of what makes us the people we are today. In most of these cases, this involves the art of shopping.
I call it an art because that is precisely what it is. An art. The art of shopping for the best deal, the cheapest price, and traveling from store to store or online store to online store until someone finds it the most affordable. For the most part, I do not do that. When I need something, I go out and buy it. Only when it may be an expensive item will I shop for the cheapest price. I hate to think what I could save at the grocery store if I looked for all the coupons. Those people are much more intelligent than I am.
Shopping is essential for many reasons. However, it can become expensive. In an effort NOT to make this part of my blog post political, we can all agree that the cost of things has increased tremendously. Let's look at some facts.
Most small businesses rely on their holiday sales to stay open through the following year,
Christmas is the most significant shopping season of the year,
2/3 of working people are living paycheck to paycheck,
It is estimated that this Christmas, the average household will spend $1500.00 on gifts, not counting food, decorations and other items,
As a comparison, in 2021, Christmas retail estimates showed 889 Billion dollars was spent, and in 2023, it is estimated that 960 Billion will be spent in retail sales. (references)
Holiday credit card debt goes up significantly. Many people take the entire following year to pay it off (references)
Most retailers combined will spend over 1.3 trillion in retail advertising this Christmas (references)
At least 93% of people will do a portion of their Christmas shopping online (references)
Exchanging gifts is part of the tradition,
Most people overspend on gifts.
Wow, there are a bunch of facts. The exciting part about these facts is when combined, they represent the most significant cause of holiday depression. So many places the value of a gift on how much it costs rather than appreciating the thought behind it. Since when is love determined by the amount of money spent on a gift? Yet, for many, it is. Have we as a society become that superficial?
I tell my family the best gift they can give me costs nothing. Having my family together is the best gift they can give me. Besides, the things I buy cost more than I would want anyone to spend on me, and I buy what I need when I need it throughout the year. Spend your money on the children. Most would agree that Christmas is for the children. For adults, it's about tradition and family. The mystery surrounding Santa Claus is already out in the open for us.
WHAT WILL SHOPPING BE LIKE?:
Shopping rarely changes. People will stress over the cost of food, decorations, and gifts. Traveling will be a nightmare because of traffic; the stores will be swamped with people, and the lines will be long. People will stress over their spending or wonder where to get the money.
Previous holiday family time suffered because now stores opened on Thanksgiving night to get a jump on Black Friday, and stores stay open so late on Christmas Eve. All of this leads to more people shopping online. How much easier can it get? Usually, the shipping is free; in many cases, it's cheaper, and you get the product in a reasonable amount of time. Also, you can find it online when you can't find it in a store. Yet, there will always be things you have to go to a store for.
For many, shopping is the most fun part of a holiday. NOT FOR ME. Too much hassle. I do all of mine online. However, with the present state of the economy, shopping will be different this year. People have no choice but to limit their spending. Most Americans already are carrying a high credit card debt, and the money just isn't there. There is a reason why 2/3 of the working population are living paycheck to paycheck. Yet, they will go into deeper debt. The story doesn't change from year to year, and I do not expect it will be different this year for many. However, is that what these holidays are supposed to be about?
Life has evolved. It's not like years ago when entire families lived one or two cities away. It was easy for them to spend holidays together. Now, families are spread out across the country. This is part of the evolution. Now, people live where they want to live, where the higher paying jobs are, or where the jobs themselves are. It is a matter of necessity. Anyone who takes a plane during the holidays knows that airfares usually triple unless you purchase your tickets well in advance. In my case, I have two children and my grandchildren in Florida, and one child and my sister in Connecticut. That is much easier than many others.
The question is, what is important? What happened to the meaning of a holiday? Growing up, my family went to church on our respective holidays. Many no longer do that. Have the holidays become too commercial? Does this threaten or change our values? What does this represent or show to our children? Growing up, my sister and I HAD to attend church every Sunday. No questions asked. Of course, as we became older, the choices were ours. However, we learned values, traditions, and the meaning of holidays other than simply exchanging gifts. We couldn't feel entitled because we had chores and responsibilities to meet at home and school. What you were allowed to do was based on what you did or did not do. We weren't entitled; we were accountable. I raised my children that way, and they turned out fine. Although it is their choice, I hope they will do the same with their children.
Everything in life is not about the almighty dollar. You cannot put a dollar amount on love.
Family, tradition, friends, love, and religion have a much higher value than any gift that can be purchased. First, you don't have to shop for them because they come from within you.
Before I move on to my closing remarks, I'd like to take a moment and combine some comments on religion. Due to the state of the world, I received many emails asking me to discuss religion. First, whatever religion a person chooses to follow is their choice. Although the concepts of different religions may differ, they all share one thing in common. They all worship a higher power.
For many, that higher power is referred to as God. The source of all moral authority. The supreme being.
In other cultures, different names may refer to higher power. However, for the most part, it is referring to the highest authority.
With that said, what is going on in our society, especially on our college campuses and throughout the world, regarding antisemitic threats, and for those of you that are not familiar with what that means, antisemitic is a hostile or prejudiced feeling towards Jewish people, is the poorest testament as to what we are as a people. Sometimes, I believe our society is going backward rather than moving forward—shame on any institution that supports it. Freedom of speech is one thing, but freedom of speech does not include causing or harming others. Freedom of speech is being exploited well past what our founders intended it to be, and our institutions help to support it.
People can freely practice their religious beliefs without fear of harm or ridicule and should be able to do so. People should also be smart enough to see where this fails and not support it. In this case, the Israel conflict is caused by terrorists. Isn't it amazing that some want to live as they choose but do not want others to do the same?
Our institutions of learning are there to educate people, not to take sides. There should be no place for these types of actions at any institution. In addition, these college kids are young. They have no idea what they are doing today will follow them for life. So many Attorneys and other organizations have stated they will not hire students who graduate from the colleges that support these actions. Donations have started to decrease to these schools. There is a price to pay for everything. Now, some of these schools are rethinking their positions on these matters. Money dictates everything.
I have read this post three or four times. Did I miss anything? Yes, I covered a bit more in this post than holiday shopping. Wow, there are so many reasons mentioned not to enjoy the holidays. However, is there anything here that is new? Of course not. It's the same every year. The exciting part is, each year, the holidays will come and go and we will survive them, and move on to the next one. It is up to us as people to be more intelligent than life and not let it control us, and we control life. It's part of the craziness of the season.
However, the way to beat it is this. Please take a moment, sit down, and figure out what it takes to make your holiday memorable and happy, and strive for that. Forget the money. Do what you can afford to do. Those who love you will understand, and maybe, in return, you might be taking some pressure off of them as well. I have friends that, as they have gotten older, their families do not exchange gifts any longer. They have reached a point in their life when spending time together is more important to them than material things. Therefore, many people have found various ways to cope with these issues.
The most important thing to remember is, never let anything take away from your joy and love of the holidays, your family, and your friends. Everyone has to decide for themselves. There is no right way or wrong way. When it comes to shopping. I wish you all the best of luck. I'm sure we will all see on the news the arguments and fights at the stores for that last item on the shelf. Thank you.
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Be safe, stay well, and focus on being happy. And remember to always:
Live with an open mind,
Live with an open heart,
Live your best life.
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