With six shopping days till Christmas (our capitalist overlords wouldn't want you to stop shopping on the Sabbath) here are a few fictional Christmas headlines to mull over...
"Vicar tells children the truth, capitalist parents react with fury!"
"Impoverished single mother admits she saw a glimmer of hope."
"Santa's around the country call for Vicar to be exiled to the South Pole."
It's not been a good week for Santa.
On Wednesday Santa was arrested. (CI030A)
On Thursday parents and children were told Santa doesn't exist. (CI030B)
You could almost imagine Santa had been subjected to extraordinary rendition.
I imagine the CEO's of quite a few companies chuckling to themselves as they realise that no matter how bad austerity gets, parents are so invested in the fictional world of Santa Claus that they don't want their kids to know the truth...
I'm all for feasts and festive celebrations. But there is something dark and evil about the greed that consumes us at this time of year.
When our kids were little we tried very hard to avoid lying to them about Santa. If they asked the question: is Santa real, we'd turn the question around and ask them what they believed. But we never directly told them that the jolly fat man didn't exist.
We shouldn't have been surprised that when one of our children found out the truth they were furious with us.
The BBC quotes 'A parent on Facebook' who said the Vicar had '"spoiled the magic" of Christmas.' Call me Scrooge but if the magic of Christmas is only about maintaining a fantasy that encourages us to get into further debt I'm quite happy with killing off Santa.
Parent Dish refers to a study by Asda (reported in a 2012 Daily Mail article (CI030C)) asking the vital question: Why are parents spending so much on their children's Christmas presents? (CI030D)
According to Asda, 'the average parent splashes out no less than £312 on Christmas presents per child.' Parent Dish goes on to ask: 'If these children get showered with such riches now, what are they going to expect for their 18th birthdays?'
According to Wikipedia there are 11.1 Million children age 14 and under in the UK. If the Asda survey was accurate we could be spending roughly £3.5 Billion on Christmas presents each year... (CI030E)
This is despite estimates that one third of all children in the UK live in poverty... (CI030F)
What if we were to kill off Santa? What if we were to abandon the excess of our Christmas celebrations... According to a different survey by InSinkErator quoted in the Daily Mail online, 'The day's feasting will create an extra 50m bags of rubbish, or £600m of food. As a nation we'll spend £3.3 billion on food for the Christmas table this year.' (CI030G)
600 Million pounds worth of food thrown in the bin?! Surely that can't all be brussel sprouts...
Even Money Saving Expert suggests that giving less may be wise. (CI030H)
There would be winners and losers if parents were to stop spending so much at Christmas. The winners may well be the parents themselves, even after the kids tantrums have ceased. Wouldn't it be wonderful to enter January without an even greater debt burden around our necks?
The losers may well be retailers and suppliers. Is it possible though, that the long term health of our economy would be better served by moving away from a system that encourages spending on cheap plastic and expensive disposable electronics to a more sustainable one?
Or is this just another crazy idea?
I'm taking a two week vacation from these crazy ideas so I can recite Bah Humbug while hypocritically indulging in feasting and present giving.
Of course no-one really wants to kill Santa, but if you were to "accidentally" knock him off your roof, whatever you do, don't put on the red suit or the Santa Clause will get you! (CI030I)
Do post your own crazy ideas or feedback on mine in the comments below and sign up to my mailing list below to be notified of future posts.
Why should my crazy ideas have any relevance to the economy? I'm the author of The Great Scottish Land Grab, a novel that imagines a fairer future for Scotland where the poor are empowered to change their destiny. I'm director of my own limited company: Goal 31 Ltd and I've over seven years experience working for government and financial organisations. Also, just like you, I'm a taxpayer and for some crazy reason I think that entitles us to have an opinion and for that opinion to be acted on by the government.
As I wrote at the start, I am making my 100 crazy ideas freely available. It seems unjust to propose ideas to fix the economy and then prevent people from freely reading those ideas. 100 Crazy Ideas to Fix the Economy will be published once the craziness is complete.
I can be found on Twitter: @my100goals or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/my100goals. There's a short bio here.
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(CI030A; BBC; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-30532016)
(CI030B; Evening Telegraph; http://www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/news/scotland/santa-arrested-after-glasgow-statue-stunt-1.741919)
(CI030C; Parent Dish; http://www.parentdish.co.uk/christmas/why-are-parents-spending-so-much-on-their-childrens-presents/)
(CI030D; Daily Mail; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2221432/Christmas-2012--Toy-sales-expected-soar-72-week-parents-spending-average-312-child-says-Asda.html)
(CI030E; Wikipedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_Kingdom)
(CI030F; Barnardo's; http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_work/child_poverty/child_poverty_what_is_poverty/child_poverty_statistics_facts.htm)
(CI030G; Daily Mail; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2070269/Families-spend-133-70-household-Christmas-day-food--throw-fifth-BIN.html)
(CI030H; Money Saving Expert; http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/christmas-savings)
(CI030I; YouTube; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t067u2Jnks0)