December is the month of holiday and shopping. Irrespective of one's religious and cultural background, one cannot resist the temptation of going out shopping.
Shopping malls are swamped throughout the month especially on the Boxing Day by shoppers who go ballistic in their attempt to take advantage of sales.
Corporations are the true winner of this holiday season as they are the only ones who laugh at the end of the festivals while everyone else is left to deal with the pain and agony of debts and credit card bills which bring the feeling of depression and despair along with them.
Even though financial experts advice people to shop wisely, little heed is paid to such calls as big store chains work hard to distract shoppers from such advices by luring them to the store aisles.
CBC has run an interesting piece on how to spend smarter for the holidays by outlining a set of instructions to do that.
Plan ahead, is their first piece of advice. "To avoid feeling the dent in your wallet during the holidays, start planning for the extra expense as early as possible," says Pat White, executive director of Credit Counselling Canada.
Very few people can resist the temptation of shopping during this month. It is as if the store has played magic on people. Even though you have a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes, you still look for more and more and can not have enough of it.
I have a relative who is obsessed with shopping. The amount of clothes she has would be sufficient to clothe all the needy in Africa. In spite of all this, she will be the first one on the line to take advantage of the sale even if it involves standing in cold weather.
Many people fall victim to the entrapment of advertisement, which most of the time exaggerates descriptions of products. Marketing specialists put a lot of efforts to manipulate the mind of the consumer. As soon as you purchase a product, there's a fancier one to seduce you. The same product you had fallen in love with moments ago becomes old and repulsive in your eyes and you return to the store the next day and line up in the cold weather to be the fist one to get the "latest gadget."
You get all kinds of offers that distract you from making sound decision.
The cycle of madness never ends. You get a product today and it becomes old the moment you bring it home. The next flier makes you lose your sleep and call all your friends to take advantage of the next "gigantic sale" where "everything must go."
"Our rampant consumerism is proof of society's decadence," wrote Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail. "The amount of crap we have is obscene. Our obsession with accumulating more and more material goods is destroying the Earth, to say nothing of our souls.
"The evidence is all around us. Every year, we recoil with horror when barbarian hordes storm the gates of Wal-Mart on Black Friday and trample each other to death in pursuit of 48-inch flat-screen TVs," she added.
It requires self-discipline and a strong mind to win the battle and look the other way.
It helps to ask yourself before handing out the credit card to the store clerk; do you really need the product you are buying?
It also helps to remember the less fortunate in our own country and around the globe. While you are debating with your family which latest gadget to buy and ignore the fact that you already have one that is functioning well, there are people out there who can not afford to buy a piece of bread for their children. There are homeless people in our own backyard who are sleeping in the cold. The fancy product will not bring happiness or take your worries away.