People can’t afford Christmas

Modern Christmas, dominated by commercialism and relentless pressure on ever widening present lists, is a financial challenge for most people.

Newstalk ZB:  Survey shows one in five Kiwis can’t afford Christmas

A new survey has shed light on the struggles Kiwi families face during Christmas.

The Salvation Army survey shows one in five Kiwis say they can’t afford to celebrate Christmas, with almost half saying Christmas is a time of financial struggle.

Head of Welfare Services Major Pam Waugh told Kate Hawkesby these numbers don’t come as a surprise, given the rising living costs.

“When you look at what’s going on in our communities and you listen to families, this us quite indicative of what we see coming through our door but also of families struggling to keep their head above water.”

Ever year the number of families needing help increases, however Waugh says they are hoping the Government’s Families Package will start to help.

“This year we are hoping to stabilise it. We think the Families Package has made a dent…but a lot of the families we work with are struggle with debt that has built up over years of not being able to afford their basic living cost.”

“We have encouraged people to look at that debt and get it paid down so in another year or so we will see the full impact of those packages.”

She said Christmas puts added stress on families who are already struggling to cope.

“Christmas impacts on all of us. We are in a consumer-driven society. Children are watching TV and see what they want. They have the same wishes and wants as all children and that impacts on our families who really struggle to provide that.”

While not being able to afford Christmas depends on what your budget is, generally and for the Christmas period, it has become a financial disaster zone for many people.

I remember some very sparse Christmases when I was a child, especially in years where fruit was hit badly by frost. Things are easier these days by a long way for me.

But it’s very easier to get drawn into more presents for more more people, and far more food than anyone needs. And this can set the finances back far more than is necessary.

I’m looking forward to a great Christmas this year – it will be the first one shared with three grandchildren who are coming to stay for three weeks. The present challenge is amplified because they all have birthdays in the week or so before they arrive. But just sharing the occasion with them will mean more than anything that money can buy.

Leave a comment

32 Comments

  1. Trevors_elbow

     /  November 19, 2018

    Just opt out. Simple. Or if you have save for Xmas as my mother did….took forever we didn’t get the latest craze but Xmas was always fun

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 19, 2018

      Yep. Don’t be a slave to other people’s expectations.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 19, 2018

      My mum started buying things for next Christmas on Boxing Day of the last one. As kids we got one “big” present (like maybe a fancy toy gun or a cowboy hat, or a skateboard, or our sister a doll or something teenage girly. The year we were old enough to qualify for our first 2nd hand bicycle and maybe a few small items of the Christmas Stocking Variety.

      Only my little brother ever complained that whatever he got wasn’t new or expensive. He gets a million dollars plus worth of business a year these days.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 19, 2018

        We had one big present and a lot of little ones in the stockings (my father’s old footy socks) . My first bike was new; a lovely shiny blue one.

        Nowadays with the ‘$2 shops’ I can’t see how anyone can say that they can’t afford anything. $2 a week put aside all year would be a nice stocking full. There are some lovely things in those shops, also in K Mart and The Warehouse.

        Given that John Wyclif was writing 700 years ago that Christmas’s real meaning was long gone and it was now an excuse for drinking and bad behaviour, this is nothing new.

        Reply
      • Trevors_Elbow

         /  November 19, 2018

        Same for us Gezza one large pressie and a collection of little things… was like that till my two eldest siblings had left home. Handmedowns – toys, gumboots, bikes, clothes – thats the way I grew up…

        Reply
  2. robertguyton

     /  November 19, 2018

    I’ve grown various plants for everyone I give gifts to; peach trees, fuchsia, kaka beak, host and so on. Sowing seed, striking cuttings, potting up is much nicer than roaming the shops looking to spend money.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  November 19, 2018

      hosta

      Reply
      • Ray

         /  November 19, 2018

        Robert, do you know why Hostas are such snail magnets, I know a High Court judge who like me goes out with a torch on moist nights hunt the buggers who flock to them.
        Use to get hundreds but now only a few as we cull them down.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  November 19, 2018

          Ray – I’ve heard about snails and their love for hosat; I don’t suffer that because there are no snails in my garden, but elsewhere in Southland, they are an issue. Hosta are edible and palatable to humans also, hence the reason for my growing them. They’re best when young shoots like asparagus. Night-hunts are the best way to de-snail, as you know. A head-lamp helps free up both hands.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  November 19, 2018

            Ever since I saw a snail on the outside of the window and realised what an amazing creature it was as it rolled along, nothing would induce me to kill one.

            A late friend gave his ex-wife a book for Christmas that I had bought from the library; it was all about the part of England she came from and had places that she knew. This present cost hardly anything but was received with great delight. Its price was irrelevant !

            When my husband went to England without me, he’d bring me Toblerone as a present. I am still glad that I never let on that I don’t like Toblerone.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Same for me, Kitty, only it’s paua I saw, gliding across the rock face in a big rock pool; beautiful, elegant and vulnerable. I don’t eat them now, nor whitebait.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 19, 2018

              This was a large snail and it was possible to see how it was moving on ‘rollers’, gliding along without any wasted movement. It’s amazing that their shells grow with them.

              I haven’t seen pauas moving in real life, but can imagine what it must be like. I don’t eat any form of animal life now, I can’t bear to.

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              Especially not bears I see 🙂 Snails can slide unhurt along a razor blade, somehow. If you ever get the chance to watch a paua in a display tank of some kind, it’s worth taking (the chance, not the paua). Do you know “Turtle Diary”? by Russel Hoban? Perhaps it’s “your ” sort of book. Riddley Walker is mine.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 19, 2018

              I’ve heard of it.

              I love Victorian Lit, and Russian Lit (I have to read that in translation, unlike my ex) I also love good English whodunnits. As a child I fell in love with Gerald Durrell and wanted to marry him when I grew up. I didn’t know how old HE was and it was a real disappointment to find this out. Oh, well. I love biographies and history.

              Do you know a book called Callanish about an eagle who escapes from a zoo? It’s inspired by a real eagle’s doing this…but Goldy (great name for a golden eagle – I DON’T think) was dobbed in and caught. Any decent person would give him a good feed and send him on his way….and, of course, not see him. No, no eagles around here…..

            • robertguyton

               /  November 19, 2018

              I found “My family and other animals” hilariously funny when I first read it – laugh-aloud funny, and I was travelling on a bus at the time. Tears, streaming down my cheeks. I’ll look “Callanish” up. I have a real story to tell, involving a bald eagle, a boy and me, but I’ll save it for if ever we meet. It happened in NZ and is true. Eagle attacked boy, my fault. That’s all I can say here. I read Russian lit when I was younger and Czech too. Polish etc. Weird humour – I liked it.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  November 19, 2018

              I found it hysterically amusing, especially the name of the boat, the Bootle-Bumtrinket. As a child I found that so funny that I could hardly say it.

              I once sat on a bench in Hamilton’s main street reading a ‘William’ that I’d just bought, having to take off my sunglasses every few seconds because I was weeping with mirth, An Indian friend made a total fool of himself on a train with ‘Just – William’ and the Fat Wild Woman. I still laugh out loud over William,…I am reading my way down my shelf of them as bedtime reading. Vignesh knew that he was making a public spectacle of himself, but he couldn’t help it. The one I made an idiot of myself over was the one where the archaeologist comes to the village to give a talk. It’s a shame that William has been relegated to the children’s section, as they were not written for children and were in Punch, The vocab is very sophisticated.

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  November 19, 2018

    How can anyone ‘not afford Christmas’ ? It’s a day and days cost nothing.

    Going to church is free. So is being together. So is playing games.

    They’d be having a meal of some sort anyway. It needn’t be a big fancy one.

    They can surely afford something.I can’t believe that anyone can’t afford anything at all.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 19, 2018

      I see that two PDTs are generously sharing the Christmas spirit early, or their idea of it. Miserable buggers.

      Reply
    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  November 19, 2018

      Its another Leftie NGO crusade to guilt the well off in to giving to rogues and scoundrels who flock to free stuff like horse flys to horse shit… a bit like the Living Wage crusade (18 year old should be paid an experienced persons wage… because faaaiiirness)

      Reply
  4. wooden goat

     /  November 19, 2018

    We don’t do presents any more – with a family of eight (parents plus six) the cost got ridiculous a long time ago.
    We just get together for a feed and a few drinks and people contribute (either food or cash) towards the nosh-up.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  November 19, 2018

      A man I know had 99 descendants some years ago. I imagine that little 100 has come since then and was greeted with a lot of pleasure. But imagine trying to buy presents for that little lot. Just remembering their names would be all but impossible.

      Some people have a draw and just give the person whose name they draw out a present.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  November 19, 2018

        I still can’t quite get over how we met all the various definitions or measures of poverty that have been published in the last couple of years, and we were actually poor it seems, but only our little brother seems to have felt that.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 19, 2018

          Ridiculously poor by today’s standards but like most others then and making the best we could of life.

          Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  November 20, 2018

          I probably look like a pauper in surveys that ask if you have……and I put NO to almost everything 😀 I am not materialistic, that’s all. It’s not a virtue, just a characteristic.

          Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s