Advent Conspiracy 2010

by Kevin on November 17, 2010

There’s a conspiracy going on. It’s been going on for a few years now.

Are you part of it?

What is Advent Conspiracy?

Advent Conspiracy is a movement that started with a handful of churches a few years ago. The members of those churches were tired of the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

Why? Isn’t that part of the idea of the holiday season? Because if you’re a Christian then Christmas isn’t about toys, gifts, and horrible holiday sweaters.

They decided to intentionally spend less on Christmas. Instead of money they invested their time in non-profit programs and simply spending more time with their families.

Advent Conspiracy Relevant to All

Now I know there are some of you out there thinking, Woah, woah, woah… I’m not religious…

That’s fine. I still think Advent Conspiracy is a great thing for you to be involved in. It makes a valid point regardless of your beliefs.

According to the video above (one of many available on the Advent Conspiracy website) Americans will spend $130 billion on Christmas gifts this year.

The whole idea with Advent Conspiracy is to refocus on what’s most important during the holidays. Do you really need another tie?

Imagine what would happen if half of that $130 billion was used in ways to benefit society or the world. Building clean water wells in Africa. Funding better quality education. Feeding the homeless. Reducing the national debt. Installing alternative energy solutions across the country. Paying off your own personal debt! There are more than enough ideas to go around.

Why We’re Conspiring

I hate shopping.

Okay, just kidding. That’s not the reason. (I still am not a fan of shopping…)

As I’ve written about selling our house and having to stage our home it really hit me how much stuff we have. A lot of what we own is in our attic, and it’s a lot of stuff.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on each other we’re focused more on spending as much time together as possible. We’ll exchange a gift or two, but I’d rather get something really special for my wife than a bunch of random stuff just because we’re “supposed” to exchange a bunch of gifts.

Also we’d rather get each other stuff throughout the year — small little surprises — than everything all at once.

The money we save can go toward our retirement, paying down our home debt, or giving support to organizations in our community.

The Cost of Christmas Debt

According to the video the average family will spend $743 this year on Christmas.

Since a majority of people are in debt up to the ears let’s figure out how much this could potentially cost in the long run.

Let’s say the family puts all $743 of their Christmas shopping debt on a credit card with a 19.99% interest rate. The minimum payment (5% of the balance) on the card would only be $37.15 per month. The family considers this a deal — that’s pretty cheap to have a great Christmas, right?

Wrong. Those $37.15 payments would last for 4 years and 3 months. The total cost of that $743 Christmas turns out to be $1,032.22.

The difference between what you started with spending and what you end up paying is $289.22. That’s 39% more than the original balance… and you paid for over four years to pay off the debt.

Small Steps to Big Impact

I’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate the holiday season. Nor am I saying you shouldn’t exchange gifts at all.

But taking small steps today, over time, can have a huge impact especially if you aren’t alone. Many small impacts can have a big impact on our communities.

{ 4 comments }

Golfing Girl November 18, 2010 at 9:48 am

I’m shocked it wasn’t higher than $743!

Kevin November 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Yea they must literally be factoring in families that can’t afford anything. I would have guessed higher as well.

JP November 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I have not heard of the Advent Conspiracy…but I love it!

This year we decided to have a used/handmade Christmas. We won’t get it 100% right but it’s a start!

We are trying to get thoughtful gifts without spending a lot. I have a list of things I’m looking for and cruise the Value Village once a week or so to see if there’s anything there that’s on my list.

We have observed Advent for years. Christmas decorations don’t go up until about 1 week before Christmas, but we keep them up until the end of the Christmas season, usually the end of the first week in January.

The kids don’t always think it’s cool…that whole counter-cultural thing can irk them. But someday I’m sure they’ll appreciate it…right?

Kevin November 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm

That’s the idea. One day they will appreciate it. I dig the counter-cultural thing. Stick to it!

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