It’s the weeks after Christmas the collectors are sad, There’s not one payment anywhere to be had, Their ears are tingling from call after call, T’was heard loud wailing and climbing the walls.
The checks are all bouncing like new trampolines The supervisor’s pushing for something in green! The promise of payment, well that was a joke They watch this month’s paycheck go up in smoke!
There’s no need to wonder “where is the loot?” It’s stolen each year by a fat man in a red suit!
Ahh, Christmas of my youth. It looked much different than Christmas looks today. I grew up in southern Alabama in a home with two hard working parents, yet very meager means to afford everyday living, much less the most wonderful time of the year. That being said, I have some of the best Christmas memories that a girl could have. I remember walking in the woods with daddy and mama in search of a Christmas tree each year. Normally we found a small pine. Daddy would cut it down and drag it home where it would be decorated with strung popcorn, huge Christmas lights, homemade ornaments, and tinsel that my mother always placed on the tree due to the fact that us children would grab handfuls and throw it instead of placing it branch by branch, one at a time. This was the time of the year when my mother would stand in a line labeled “Lay-Away” but we didn’t know why. I remember the day that my mother would receive her Christmas Club funds. Each paycheck she would set aside $10.00 and once a year, we thought we were rich! She would dole out $3.00 to each child to be used to buy Christmas presents for everyone we knew. She would take us to the “dime” store and turn us loose. What a magical time. Each year all children got together to gift my mother with another Christmas brooch yet each Christmas Eve she acted surprised. On Christmas Eve Santa would come and leave one or two gifts for each child. Always a baby doll and usually a tea set. This is what Christmas looked like 50 years ago, what does it look like today?
According to the National Retail Federation in 2019 Americans spent $720.89 billion dollars on Christmas alone. This of course should come as no surprise considering the cost of gifts, the cost of food, the cost of transportation which brings us home for the holidays. An average live Christmas tree this year cost $78.00. The Christmas Club and Lay away programs of yesteryear have now been replaced with Visa and Mastercard. Today, average income American families have 3 credit cards with an average balance of $9200.00 per card. The majority make minimum payments each month and as those payments are posted, the same cards are being used for new purchases. What happens when there have been enough fees added that the customer has reached their credit limit? The bank either raises the limit which allows for more debt or the consumer procures a new card which also allows for more debt. Have you ever wondered how the neighbor next door can afford the trips they take, the parties they throw, the toys they enjoy while you are looking through the sales ad for which meat is on sale? Most of the time you can chalk that up to debt. As a rule, in average America, the more the lifestyle the more the debt. Our children between the age of 18-21 now have 1.29 credit cards with an average balance of $1,682.00! It’s little wonder why Americans cannot pay their regular monthly bills especially during the holidays. They have no savings, yet they continue to spend. A cocktail for a sad way to start each new year!
I’m not suggesting that you don’t have Christmas, I am merely suggesting that you only spend what you can pay for with cash. Forgo Black Friday, Green Monday and Cyber Monday. Family coming together is what we will all remember the most. This year my mother recycled all her Christmas brooches and gave one to each child. What is that worth…priceless!