Treat Christmas differently

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Okay ladies and gentlemen, start your engines because today is December 1 and it is now no longer ridiculous to talk about Christmas.

The season of buy more stuff or we’re all screwed goodwill is officially upon us and although shops have had a good run-up at it since September, for those of us who haven’t taken leave of our senses Christmas and everything that comes with it starts today.

Now here’s the thing. People lose their minds and what little self-control they have at this time of year. Bank accounts are emptied and credit cards are loaded up buying things ordinarily beyond their means.

Here’s a question and you’ve got two seconds to answer it. Don’t think, just speak. What did you get for Christmas last year? One…two. Can’t remember? Don’t worry, nobody can. Which is why buying loads of pointless tat is a waste of time and money. But mostly money.

Honestly, that games console for your 12-year-old you are bankrupting yourself for will be obsolete by the time you’ve finished paying for it. Stop, take a moment and breathe. Here’s a reality check. Games which cost £40 a pop a few years ago sold on eBay yesterday for £46.87 for a job lot of 39.

That’s a museum standard collection of games that nobody wants to play anymore. If you only remember one thing from this column today remember this. Please don’t get yourself into debt by buying things you can’t afford for people who you don’t like much. Listen, a magic fairy isn’t going to turn up in the New Year with a pile of cash to wipe the slate clean, but your credit card bill and bank statement will.

December 25 shouldn’t come as a shock, it’s on your calendar in the kitchen and has been since January. It’s too late for this year but, for the love of God, next year put a bit away each month and what you’ve got in December 2017 is your pot.

Despite what the nation’s finest advertising agencies want you to believe, Christmas isn’t about buying things. It’s a bit soppy but here goes… who’s around the tree is a hundred times more important than what’s underneath it.