Santa arriving in Kildare town recently PICTURE: TONY KEANE
Kildare households will each spend €2,690 on average this Christmas, according to research by the business group Retail Ireland.
The figure represents a 3% increase on the average spend last year. That is a lot of money. Why do we go mad at Christmas?
What is about Bing Crosby’s White Christmas played on repeat that makes us panic buy our way into December 25, which is basically just one day in the year.
It’s like that old saying ‘spend (act) in haste, repent at leisure’. This mainly just applies to Christmas.
This year, I am hoping not to fall down the rabbit hole and get caught up in all the pressure the silly season can bring by trying a few new tactics.
Admitedly this came from something shared on Facebook but it hit a note with me — so instead of giving presents be ‘presence’ for people around you. Instead of wrapping presents, wrap them with love and kindess... and I can’t remember the rest and it’s a bit twee, but you get the drift.
It’s about making Christmas about the people in your life, and enjoying time out from the everyday hustle and bustle of life to really take stock and give thanks.
Easier said than done, when you are in the grip of it and the Christmas madness takes hold but isn’t that what we love about the festive season? Or is it?
We shop till we drop, and we stock the shelves with enough food to keep us in calories for a month.
We enjoy a tipple and we play silly games, we get on each others’ nerves and family trigger points are on full alert, but even if we don’t enjoy Christmas — it’s not for everyone — the break from work at this time of year is always welcomed.
So if we can at all distance ourselves even a little from the pressure that it can bring, the endless running around, the pressure to over spend and to make it perfect, and instead just enjoy the break, I am sure January will be a lot easier this time round.
I will be testing my theory while going away this Christmas to visit family, and I am hoping this too will bring with it a chance to enjoy it rather than spend it.
There won’t be room for big presents in the case, and we have all agreed that the trip is the present to each other, rather than buying more gifts that none of us really need. Let’s be honest, we all have enough for one life time.
Not that I don’t enjoy a good gift, but I do think it could be spent elsewhere — given to charity, or on a day out later in the year, creating memories with the people that matter, or on a mini break alone.
Yet with just over three weeks to go to Christmas, the busiest shopping period of the year is in full swing.
According to the aforementioned report, they have worked out that householders will spend an extra €866 more during December than during any other month in the year.
In total, nationwide, it expects that €4.65bn will be spent during the period — €150 million more than last Christmas.
This tells me that we are still a nation of Christmas shoppers.
The message of Christmas should not be about the next new iPhone or bottle of perfume but it seems still to be at the core of Christmas.
Maybe this year give a different kind of gift, a handmade one or a charitable donation on behalf of your loved one. Sure you may be scoffed at at first and these things take time but it might be worth the effort in the long run.
Take time to spend a joyful Christmas this year.
Spend time rather than money, and book yourself and family a little break away in the New Year on the savings. A definite remedy for the January blues in my book. And while I’m at it — Merry Christmas everybody.