Someone in my circles on Google+ linked to an interesting article on CNBC this morning. A poll seems to suggest that up to 45% of us would rather skip Christmas this year. It appears that the major reason for this has to do with stress and financial reasons (or stress due to financial reasons, perhaps?)
This sort of thing always strikes me a bit odd. Perhaps this is because no matter how poorly I was doing financially over the years (and believe me, there were some lean years) I never felt that I had to spend a certain amount of money to make the holiday right.
My parents were brought up during the depression so they knew how to live within their means. They never placed a huge value on the gift part of the season. Yes, we exchanged presents but that wasn't a big deal. The family meal with all the siblings and our aunts and uncles was more important.
I won't say that my mother didn't get stressed out about preparing the feast because that wouldn't be entirely accurate. I will say that much of that had to do with my mother wanting everything to be perfect and that this was simply the way she was about these things. It was largely self-imposed stress that the rest of us didn't feel.
Now, yes. I'm not a Christian and you might think this has a lot to do with my point of view but you'd be wrong. See, even when I was a Christian I never felt this sort of financial stress around the holidays. I just did what I could do with what I had. This is because the most important part of the entire holiday season to me is getting together with family and friends - not what we purchase for each other.
I guess you could say that the most important gift my parents gave to me was the ability to live within my means and I learned that from their fine example.
Image found here