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The True Cost of Christmas?

Optimize Blog - December 13, 2009 - 0 comments

As we battle with each other in Malls and shopping centres to secure those final few Christmas presents for our family and friends it’s probably just worth pausing for a few moments to reflect on the true cost of Christmas.
Recent studies by ‘Canadian Social Trends’ found that the average Canadian now spends 45 minutes less per day with their family than they did just 2 decades ago.  Doesn’t sound much? Well, assuming a 260 day work year, that means they are spending 195 hours less per year together… the equivalent of almost five 40 hour weeks!  Despite the recession the desire for aspirational goods, general materialism and a society which defines success by wealth (or apparent wealth), means that the pressure to own bigger houses and newer cars etc is profound.  So we work harder (and many families now have 2 working parents also, both working harder) to provide ‘more’.
The recession just adds to the pressure as people work ever harder to try to ensure that they are not the next to receive their redundancy or lay off notice. Of course our younger children don’t really grasp the concept of recession and belt tightening so their expectations this year are no less than previous years.
Increased workloads and hours of work, and the way that technology allows us to take work home after hours are imposing a different set of expectations on people and a greater proportion of workers are experiencing greater challenges in balancing their role of employee, parent and spouse.
But what about the ‘good old days’ – that time when we all spent more hours with our family?  Is it a reasonable aspiration that we will regain those times or actually do the new toys and gadgets, the better cars and the bigger houses compensate for the time no longer spent outside of work?  The key issue is that it should be your choice but the economic climate makes that choice a lot less easy to make.
So as you stand in line waiting to give that final credit card once last bashing, take a minute to reflect on the year that has passed and the choices that you made.  Reassess your priorities and boundaries and try and evaluate the return on your sacrifices.  If you are comfortable with your choices you can look forward to 2010 without fear.  If you are uncomfortable with your choices start thinking now about the things that will need to change.  We’re not talking New Year Resolutions – those intentions that never make it to February 1st, but rather serious work-life choices.  Resolve to take action; put in place some new boundaries and make sure you stick to them.
Here at Zeitgeist we’re looking forward to what 2010 will bring and we hope that you are too…

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