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Family Christmas & Broken Banks

Christmas is fast approaching, and Christmas shopping is well underway. The shops have been bursting at the seams with Christmas glitz and tinsel since August. For a family that is a costly business.

A family turns into a spending industry when Christmas is on the horizon.

All common sense seems to be parked to one side, regardless of income parents can fall into the trap of trying to make up for all the things that went wrong, all the arguments, all the fights, all the miss-communication and disharmony in the home. It’s as if Christmas is seen as a way to repair everything that didn’t meet people’s expectations, and in doing so, creates the greatest expectation of all - that is:

if we buy what everyone wants, could possibly want or may want, or surely, they would want if they knew about it, then everything will be alright in the world, then the world would make sense, people will love each other again and back each other and we will have a great family Christmas, and very importantly, the family will love us again, as we have provided everything they could possibly want, so of course they will love us and be grateful for that, it’s obvious isn’t it?

If Christmas is seen as the one day that will fix all our problems, bring us together as a family and prompt us to love and appreciate each other, how come it never works and never has worked?

Where spending for Christmas is concerned, families are very vulnerable to exploitation. When the push and drive to have the ideal or picture Christmas is happening and our incomes don’t match what we want to spend, families can empty their bank accounts and turn to the loan sharks who are ready and very willing to step in with up to 80% interest loans. It seems unimaginable insanity to get a loan that is going to charge you 80% interest – who would do that? Yet, where the drive and push for a ‘perfect’ Christmas picture is concerned, 80% interest loans all too often become acceptable. The outcome for all too many families is a disaster.

Christmas day comes and all the presents are opened, the pictures we had that everything in the family would be repaired, restored and wonderful because of the gifts we bought, does not follow through. No matter how much we want the Christmas miracle, the pictures we have about what it all would be like are smashed to bits in front of our faces. Children are still disgruntled, behaviour in the family has not changed at the wave of a magic wand because an expensive gift has been given, behaviour has not changed, if anything it has become worse. Everybody’s pictures have been smashed, the gift they wanted didn’t make them feel better, didn’t heal any relationship difficulties, didn’t make dad and mum love more. That is a lot to handle.

The financial and emotional cost of Christmas carnage is a crisis that forces so many families to the wall, into a ‘year-in-year-out’ poverty - all in the name of ‘Christmas’.

Even if the loan sharks are not snapping at your heals after Christmas, the impact of all our ideals being smashed remains, behaviours don’t change, no one is going to ‘play nice’ just because they got a great gift…we may as well have loan sharks snapping at us. No amount of money will buy what we are looking for from a family. All we will be left with is a massive emotional bill.

No amount of presents can buy behaviour change – at any time of year.

Happy families do not come from buying gifts.

You may also enjoy our Parents Speak article on this topic. Magic Christmas Wishes


Image by the team via Canva

If you feel you need support please see the following services or contact services local to your area.

Here are some services in Australia

Lifeline - 13 11 14 - you can connect via chat line, phone or online. Lifeline also have an excellent financial counselling service The National Debt Helpline

Suicide call-back service - 1300 659 467 - you can connect via text and phone

Here are some services in the UK

Samaritans - 116 123 - you can connect via phone or chat line

Papyrus - 0800 0684141 - you can connect via text, phone or email


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