Monday, October 10, 2011

Christmas Is Not An Emergency

One thing I love Dave Ramsey says, well actually he tends to yell it. It's a wake up call.  He asks why do you get a credit card... "For Emergencies" is invariably the answer. Then he asks something like "IS Christmas An Emergency?"  Then he yells "Christmas Is Not An Emergency!"

So the last few years in October my Knight in Shining Armor and I sit down and tighten up areas of the budget so we can save up for Christmas. This is our wake up call, time to save up for Christs birth, cause I don't want to pay "Santa" after January.

I saw a shocking statstic while watching this video called  Forgotten Christmas   460 billion was spent on Christmas last year. Ok lets see if my math skills are up to that Number 460,000,000,000.   That is a lot of zeros!!!  Then I think that children all over Asia that are in virtual slavery to the local moneylender. Working for no wages to pay back a debt their parents incurred. A debt that is often equal to only 15-20$ but high rates of interest extremely low wages paid and cost of food and "sick" days, and out right fraud perpetuated on those with little education keep them enslaved.  Twenty bucks is less than your average cost of a tie, or a Wii game.

Used with permission copyright Gospel for Asia
So for the last few years I have painted Christmas bulbs and made ornaments out of clay for my friends and relatives,  I will buy something from the stable like chickens or rabbits and make a corresponding ornament. Last year I blew the Christmas budget on one goat and everyone on my side of the family got goat oriented things. I have a fondness for goats.  One of my love languages is gifts.  You know I love you a whole lot if I give you a gift, and I think you love me a whole lot if I get a gift. :-) Part of my make up wants to give a tangible gift and balks at sending "just a card" that tells you a gift was sent in your name.  A card can in no way truly show you a  life stuck in perpetual poverty will be rescued because a family received a pregnant goat in your name. Or a pair of chickens produces enough eggs and chicks that the new chickens can be sold and mom and dad can now come pay off  their debt and redeem their child from the money lender.

I love my brothers reaction to the first time I gave him a rabbit ornament (11$ to buy a pair) He was delighted. He showed his kids the rabbit and said "Look I need nothing, I want for nothing this is a gift that gives twice." Every year those kids will put that ornament on the tree and know a family was saved from poverty due to a pair of rabbits.  My brother did not want yet another wallet, sweater, tie, or aftershave he will never wear cause I have no idea what he likes anymore.   Let's face it we all have been there and done that. The dilemma of what to buy someone we never see anymore due to the fact 1300 miles separate us. We hope upon hope it won't end up in the basement or attic or get re-gifted because they hated it. I am the queen of finding my gifts in other peoples homes, and in basements, it's a talent I wish I didn't have. Really if you hate it give it to the local thrift store! 

But year after year I know I pull out my ornaments, hang them on the tree and think of the lives saved that they represent.

From the website below describing quarry workers in India:

Contractors working for quarry owners secure the labor of poor, landless migrant families. The workers are required to purchase their own materials, including drills and gunpowder, and provide for their own medical expenses and housing. They often have no choice but to borrow money from the contractors, moneylenders or quarry owners. Dependence on loans and advances leads to a high incidence of debt bondage, with debts ranging from 100 to 10,000 rupees (approximately $3.00 to $300.00).104 No records of the debts are kept. Bonded families are not allowed to leave until their debt is repaid, but low wages and high interest rates make this difficult.105 Physical threats are sometimes used to intimidate workers and prevent them from leaving.106 Bonded children are sometimes sold to other contractors.107
Sometimes children are born into bondage because of a debt owed by their parents to contractors.108 In stone quarries in Faridabad, near Delhi, "three generations may be seen working side by side in conditions of brutal debt bondage."109 Most of the youngest generation receive no wage.

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