I turned the calendar to November this morning and my first thought was, “Let the advertising begin!” We all know that the Christmas sales campaigns will start this weekend and we will be inundated in print and on every available screen with the bargains that will make us the “best Santa ever”. We will be informed that ___ is the “it” must-have item for this year. We’ll be told that we need to upgrade all of our gadgets and devices. We’ll be advised that new, new, new is better, better, better. And parents everywhere will be guilt-ridden if they don’t buy their children each and every item their little hearts desire.
I understand the basic tenets of our economy and I know that the upcoming season is vital to the profit margins of merchants. However, I also know that many parents will spend far more than they should on toys their children most likely don’t need, and perhaps won’t even remember or be able to locate in six months. Some will dip into savings, emergency money, even grocery money to do so. I think it is important to remember that children have short attention spans and will often be quite satisfied with a few presents rather than piles and piles of them.
This is also a good time to teach our children and grandchildren the virtues of community service and helping others in need. There are food drives, coat and blanket collections, “angel trees”, etc. that everyone can participate in and I think it is wonderful when parents explain to their children that part of their Christmas budget is automatically designated for a charitable cause.
So…not trying to be a Scrooge…but let’s give a little thought to what we are really trying to do before we buy, buy, buy this season.