Christmas Without Credit – And This is a Bad Thing?

This is the opening paragraph of a Newsweek article titled, Bah, Humbug!:

Here’s a scenario that will be more common this holiday season: You fill your arms with purchases and head to the register, where you’ve been told you’ll receive a 20 percent discount by applying for and using the store’s credit card. That will help, because you’re already nearing your MasterCard limit. But a moment later, the teenage salesgirl says, “Sorry, you’ve been denied.” You slink out, gifts left at the counter, angry and a little bit ashamed, too. Didn’t the store encourage you to ask for the card?

GASP! A Christmas you can actually AFFORD? What’s up with that?

Seriously, I fail to see what’s so bad about this scenario. Isn’t credit the reason we got into this mess in the first place? Yes, a lean Christmas for consumers will mean a lean Christmas for retailers. But, it’s time we get back to the basics in this country. Basics like buying what we can afford, when we can afford it. In other words, NOT charging Christmas and paying it off over time so that you have to turn around and charge next year’s Christmas too.

14 thoughts on “Christmas Without Credit – And This is a Bad Thing?”

  1. I think people need to be realistic about christmas and what they can afford. If you have no money spare for christmas this year tell people presents and dinner won’t be as flash and they will understand. Or make money so that you can afford the extra money at christmas.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, it’s the same here in Australia. We have one of the highest consumer debt per capita in the world and our Prime Minister has just offered a large proportion of the population a stimulus package for right before Christmas, to boost consumer spending.

    Will we learn nothing from the current global financial crisis?

  3. Agreed – the store encouraged this hypothetical person to apply, so s/he did, and then the store said no. I guarantee the hypothetical store clerk has seen it before and will see it again, and there’s no shame in it. They have criteria, and the shopper doesn’t fit them. Notice our hypothetical shopper had picked out as many gifts as s/he thought s/he could get credit approval for. That’s the problem! Even if you are approved for credit, it doesn’t mean it’s wise to use it.

  4. Yes! Our financial philosophy is all jacked up in this country as a whole. You can look at our national deficit and see that even our government hasn’t figured out some basic financial philosophies.
    You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the aspect of purchasing what we can afford. Is that such a bad thing? Must we finance Christmas, birthdays, vacations, school, ect. when we are already financing our homes and multiple vehicles?! When is enough, enough? Our country definitely needs a lesson in good credit and bad credit. I don’t think charging Christmas is such a bad thing, if you’re planning on paying that card off before the interest rate kicks in.

    Great point here.


  5. We’ve had a No Credit Christmas for 10 years because we save a little every month for that very purpose. There is no describing the sense of relief and relaxation when you’re well prepared.

  6. My wife and I have not used credit cards for a while and I don’t believe that we ever really used them for Christmas any way. You have 12 months to prepare for it don’t you. We also go by the idea that we only buy what our kids need and maybe a couple beyond that. We don’t exchange with my brothers or her sister and only get one present for each of their kids. If Jesus only got three presents why should you get more than that. Isn’t he the real reason for the celebration.

  7. I have seen so many articles with similar headlines stating “Have a Cash Christmas” or something like that.
    What the heck? Since when was a normal thing to use credit to fund Christmas? What, is Christmas a “gimme”, where people can just charge up their accounts willy-nilly, just because it’s a holiday?
    The fact is, people should have always had cash-only Christmases… and beyond!

  8. Christmas is NOT about buying a bunch of gifts.
    It is about Jesus. Sure, it is a time when we like to give to one another. There are alternatives to spending. Make something special for your friends/family from your heart. Or follow this rule of four gifts: (for your kids, spouse etc.) Something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need. (these can be simple inexpensive things. A pack of socks, a used book, you get the idea…

  9. Yes indeed, it’s become such the norm in the past decade or two to live it up on debt. Maybe now we’re seeing the final death knell for that unsustainable lifestyle. I’ll believe it when I see it for more than a few months though.

  10. Some people just don’t get it!! I have a Christmas account and I save all year so I spend what I save and that is it. More people should open an account like this – like someone else said – we have 12 months to save for this – everyone has 12 months; Christmas just doesn’t all of a sudden appear.

    My boss has the mentality of most America – spends spends spends and now she is worrying how she is going to buy presents for her kids since her CC are maxed out. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!

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