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You can call me a Grinch all you want, but I’m sick of Christmas. For the past five Christmases me, and others like me have been struggling to find the time and money to do Christmas shopping for our loved ones. I might be in the minority, but I love giving presents more than I like getting them. However, for those that have large families, such as myself, or can’t afford to go out and shop, what’s the point of celebrating a holiday about giving gifts if families have to worry about the coming bills in the months after Christmas?

In 2017 alone, the average Christmas shopper spent more than $800 on Christmas presents and that number is expected to rise this year. The average family also has to take into account an expensive food bill due to Thanksgiving, Christmas dinners and holiday baking in between.

Having to manage a budget for something that’s meant to be wholesome or sincere isn’t worth the close to $800 bill throughout the season. Not to mention if you’re a 20 something like me, your time is largely spent studying for finals and working to make sure you have enough money for your family for Christmas.

The Christmas season used to actually mean something for a lot of us. From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, this was the time of the year where you could forget about the stress of life and just relax from the hustle and bustle of school and work. Work and school came as a second thought for many people, but ever since the Great Recession, the cost of living has risen greatly and wages have been stagnant for the middle class.

As a result, families now have to handle a smaller Christmas and in some instances they still won’t be able to foot the bill stress-free.

So my advice this Christmas: don’t go all out. Be conservative. Pick one or two people in your life for whom you know you can afford a present. If you and your family and friends still want to do a big Christmas, do Secret Santa! Better yet, do what I do and just ask for gag gifts. Trust me, Christmas isn’t worth stressing over or going bankrupt. Don’t take it too seriously.

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