Cost of Christmas Crisis
According to the Bank of England, consumer borrowing rose by an additional £1.8bn between May and June 2022 (having already rise by £900m the previous month). Soaring inflation rates of over 9% means that people are now using any kind of credit available to them to pay for food, fuel and energy, as well as other items such as rent, mortgage and the costs of loans for capital items such as cars.
Small wonder, then, that many are already concerned about the impending cost of Christmas. A Mumsnet survey found that some may be forced to choose between heating their homes on Christmas Day and buying presents for their children. Justine Roberts, the CEO of Mumsnet, notes that instead of looking forward to the festive season this year, Mums have said they were 'sick with worry' about it.
But while Roberts believes that responsibility will lie with the new prime minister to address the crisis as a whole, it is surely the responsbility 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.
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.