Christmas Weight, Bills, Spending, and “Stuff”

On average we gain seven pounds (three kg) between Halloween and New Years. I wonder if we don’t lose a thousand bucks on Christmas stuff. Then, according to fitness experts, it takes us an average of five months to lose that weight. Well, according to financial studies it takes even longer to get the Christmas spending paid back: It takes until June on average.

But every year I’m reminded that most of what we buy, not just at Christmas time, is just “stuff.” And that’s not what Christmas is, or should be all about.

A few years ago, after decades in our family home, my parents could no longer handle the physical upkeep of a large single family home. It turned out that the trauma of selling our family home wasn’t nearly as bad as what us “kids”, now middle aged ourselves, had to do in order to make it happen.

 One Friday we ordered one of the big commercial dumpster bins to be delivered to the house. After giving away stuff  that our family members, friends and neighbours wanted, we knew there’d still be a lot of things that had to be thrown out: From sleeping bags to tools, furniture to books, and extra dishes to everything else, none of these could go into a one bedroom nursing home unit. What we weren’t prepared for was the visual impact of a huge and full bin being hauled away, then a second bin, and even a third bin. In total, the stuff accumulated added up to over 14,000 pounds – in the dump. Few things in life have had such a powerful and visual impact on us.

 Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of stuff, purchased one at a time, over a lifetime, ended up as 14,000 pounds of trash. It sure put things into perspective. You’ll now understand why I’m just not that excited about buying that newest whatever, the next model of some gadget or another, or running up my credit cards. (Money Tools & Rules excerpt page 216)

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