Why the whole world is overspending on the holidays

Written on December 24, 2013 by Waya Quiviger in News

by Doug Saunders

Let’s try to add it all up: There’s $110 for the tree, $70 for the wreath, $50 for lights. Plus $150 (on sale) for party-grade shoes, because the old ones were ruined by salt.

Then $80 for the turkey, $130 for the ham, $190 for the prime rib, $200 for wine and beer, $120 for champagne, that much again for the overpriced cheese plate, and don’t forget that $40 bottle of brandy because Aunt Mavis will be here.

Add all the trimmings, and we’re deep into the four figures before we’ve even thought of gifts. Six days later, we go and do it again for the New Year’s Eve party.

It doesn’t make sense, does it? This was a tough year and we’re in considerable debt, so maybe we could cut back. But we don’t. Spending more than you can afford isn’t just a side effect of the holidays – it’s the whole point. This, all else aside, is a time for largesse and self-sacrificing excess.

Economists have long been baffled by it: Spending weeks of pay on a holiday-feast blowout is not something that fits into the traditional rational-actor models of economic thought. Moralists denounce it as the wealthy West’s commercialization of a formerly austere and religious moment; back when the Christians occupied the ancient Dec. 25 holiday (and got the naming rights), we didn’t do this sort of thing, did we? Read more….

As published in the Globe and Mail on Dec. 21, 2013 www.theglobeandmail.com


Mark December 24, 2013 - 9:57 pm

I enjoyed reading this blogs… Nice post Doug

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