A recent survey reported in the Guardian
(4 October 2022) indicates that people are planning to cut back on their Christmas spending this year by an estimated £4.4bn, almost a quarter of the amount spent in previous years. The rise in the cost of living – particularly in food and heating bills – together with the current bleak political and economic outlook generally are major factors in this trend. At the same time, there will of course be knock-on effects for the retail trade, which normally accounts for about one-third of its total annual sales during the festive season.
Time will tell whether this predicted decline is in fact realised. For the past two years, during the pandemic, similar predictions proved wrong:
A reduction in Christmas consumer spending is certainly long overdue. But it is a shame if it is happening for purely financial reasons. While it may be the responsibility of the new prime minister to address the crisis as a whole, it is surely the responsibility of churches and their leaders to address the impending 'Cost of Christmas' crisis. If ever there was a time to preach the gospel of bringing good news to the poor, as Jesus states in Luke 4:18, that time is now. Have a closer look at this website www.christmasgiving.net for ideas how this might be done.
individual spending is said to have increased during both years (although this may well have been due to an increase in online shopping). And a previous Mumsnet survey had reported that parents tend to panic in the day or so before Christmas and rush out to buy extra gifts for their children at the last minute.
Saving Christmas This Year
Here's some news that really resonates with CASCaid. An article in the Church Times in November 2020, entitled 'How to save Christmas this year', suggested that we might achieve this by keeping Advent. Indeed we might, this year too. Why has it taken a pandemic to bring such thinking back into the papers? Some of us have been advocating it for a number of years now.
It's especially relevant these days, and at just £3.95 it might be worth its weight in gold this year.
Buy Nothing Day
The tide seems to be turning against Black Friday.
A move toward a national 'Buy Nothing Day' is gaining some traction instead. In the run-up to Black Friday (which this year occurs on 25th November), the media were full of warnings that not all the discounts advertised were as good as they might appear at first sight. And in France, there were reports that the government was making moves toward banning Black Friday altogether - although given the extent of online shopping that dominates the day, it is not altogether clear how this might be done.
In the meantime, more churches and Christian charities are advocating the 'Reverse Advent Calendar' scheme, whereby donors are encouraged to purchase items for their local food banks throughout the month of December. All these movements may help contribute toward CASCaid's aim of reducing personal debt while helping others, and helping the planet, at Christmas.