Just Say No to Inflatable Santa’s

“Mommy please can we get one of those inflatable Santa’s?” This is the plea I have heard from my eight year old son since we began to decorate (with our already purchased) holiday decorations the day after Thanksgiving. My answer remains constant, “Not right now buddy, we don’t need an inflatable Santa.” 

Unfortunately millions of Americans apparently do feel they need inflatable Santa’s, two Christmas trees, and thousands of twinkle lights to adorn their homes so they can feel the magic of the holidays. 

According to a Bloomberg report, “This year U.S. consumers will spend $6 billion on decorations, the most in at least seven years, according to the National Retail Federation, which began tracking the data in 2005.” 

Why the Increased Spending on Holiday Décor? 

Different strokes for different folks I guess. We all spend money for different reasons; to make us feel better, out of necessity, or because we feel compelled to have a coveted item. 

The holidays are a time when many of us, despite what may be happening in our lives feel more sentimental than usual and this can lead to increased spending with money we don’t have.  

This is why CareOne Debt Relief Services  see’s a decline in new enrollments and a surge of posts in their community with customers stating, “I can’t make my payment this month, can I skip it?” 

No one wants to part with their credit cards over the holidays because they feel that they need them to purchase holiday gifts, decorations, and items for holiday gatherings. By participating in a Debt Management Plan the goal is to stop using your credit cards and pay off the balances, not get into more debt. This is why most customers’ credit card accounts are closed and CareOne recommends they include all of their accounts in their plan; to avoid the temptation at times likes this. 

Skipping payments even around the holidays is not recommended as CareOne states, “You are only delaying your progress and run the risk of losing benefits you may have been provided by creditors.” Even with that risk many customers forgo their December payments in an effort to make their holidays merry and bright with increased spending on credit.

For those trying to get out of debt on their own the same concept holds true. They pay only the minimums on their cards, skip payments, or open up additional accounts around the holidays. 

Saving for the Holidays 

A concept that has seemed to lose its luster over the years are Christmas club accounts offered through local banks. When I was younger I remember hitting the bank with my mom when she received her weekly paycheck and watching her whip out her Christmas club book for the teller to stamp. The amount she applied to the account each week was small, but it added up to magical Christmas’s for my brother and I.  

As I have said in a few previous posts my dad’s motto when it comes to spending has always been, “If you can’t afford to pay cash, you don’t need it.” While my mom no longer does the Christmas club thing she carefully saves each month of the year for holiday presents. While not considered rich by today’s standards my parent’s have absolutely no debt and don’t intend on incurring any. 

Holiday Magic Doesn’t Have to Cost a Thing 

I know my son wants an inflatable Santa for our yard, but I am just not willing to blow my budget to see him smile. Instead I have several activities planned for the upcoming weeks that are sure to make his face light up:

  • A drive through a local neighborhood, that goes all out with their outdoor light displays. 
  • A holiday movie marathon in our pj’s while stringing popcorn and sipping hot chocolate.
  • An afternoon of holiday baking done with (almost free) ingredients I have been purchasing with coupons and sales.
  • A visit to see Santa at a local nursery complete with free games and activities for the kids. 

While most of these events are specific to my geographic location, there are many similar activities available all across the country. Do your homework, ask around and see what kind of magic you can dig up for your family.  

For me the holidays are a special time and nostalgic, but I won’t let my emotions snuff out my financial goal to live debt free! 

How do you feel about inflatable Santa’s and using credit to fund the magic of the holidays?

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About Suzanne Cramer

7 Responses to “Just Say No to Inflatable Santa’s”

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  1. Wow $6 billion on decorations? And I can only imagine what the electricity cost is for an inflatable Santa with a ton of lights! I think it’s perfectly fine to get a few decorations, but no need to go too crazy. I just bought a little rosemary tree for my living room, which makes me happy in my apartment.

  2. My best memories from my childhood holidays have nothing to do with money my parents spent. I loved baking cookies and making crafts and watching movies past my bedtime. Those are priceless–and you don’t pay any interest on them.

  3. Suzanne Cramer says:

    @Jeffrey Trull I know crazy statistics and yes I am quite sure those that participate in extravagant holiday displays have massive electric bills! Love the rosemary tree idea–perfect for an apartment, less mess!

    @Emily Gut Birken So true the best holiday memories are those spent with loved ones participating in activities that envelop the true spirit of the holidays.

    Happy Holidays to both of you!

  4. Michell Biesinger says:

    I bought my xmas tree after christmas after my divorce my friend had 2 so she give me one of her. 2 yrs ago we have thunder strom and rain storm by basement had 3 feet of water. But that year I took my christmas tree out for christmas which was in bin it stink really bad i spray air fresher on it but it still stink so after christmas I bought my first christmas tree for 10 dollar which was 40 was pre light and I get christmas decoration from my parent plus they give me their old orament some i made as kids and got from teacher and what my kids made in school even though i have plastic lid with nothing on it but ribbon from my kids from headstart made is on the tree. I dont decorate outside becuz it be to cold to take down and i don’t want to spend money so but we have bay window so i went dollar tree spent 4 dollar on 2 stenical and 2 can snow spary one each for my kids to decorate and my parent give me light so they decorate my window that is all. This year I am on careone dmp which I love but I am struggling becuz i dont get child support and my paycheck because I just had surgery havent work for 2 month but i get 600 on disabilty so I shop on school sale and clearance and i get coupon all the time at old navy which i spent 75 but pay 25 which is good deal. I shop for what on sale and I only spend 110 for my 2 girls together.

  5. @Michell Biesinger It sounds like you are doing an amazing job using your creativity and good frugal sense to give your girls a magical holiday! Best of luck with your DMP, getting out of debt is never easy but being debt free is an amazing feeling–Keep up the good work!

    Happy Holidays!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Great post Suzanne~ and it is unreal how most of us lose all sense of rationality when it comes to ‘holiday’ expenses. It’s almost as if there is mysterious side budget that we all pretend exist! It is never easy to say not to your kids so I applaud you for staying true to your budget. Like you, we avoid the inflatable Santa requests from our kids, but we take many hot cocoa filled drives through local neighborhoods to enjoy other peoples fun displays! Thanks for the reminder to stay strong! Happy Holidays!

  7. Brad Chaffee says:

    Yeah I’ve never been big on buying Christmas gimmicks like the inflatable yard ornaments. For me the Christmas tree ornaments are enough. I just couldn’t imagine spending almost $100 or more for one of those inflatable yards toys but it never stops Isaac from asking us to buy it. LOL

    We do have some lights for outside but my wife either bought them at a yard sale or we picked them up after Christmas at 50% off.

    There is a street right around the corner from us where almost everyone on the street decorates their house, roof, yard, porch, trees, bushes, mailbox etc… The kids really enjoy driving down this street but I couldn’t imagine what all of that must cost not to mention the electric bill for just that street could probably feed a small town of starving children. 🙂

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