Monday, 16 January 2017

The Cost of Christmas

by Isabelle Sambles

Now the Christmas season is officially over, it gives us a chance to look back on the festive holiday. Personally, my holiday was one where I felt I was busy doing nothing; I certainly saw a lot of people, but my time with them was spent doing nothing but talking and eating. Certainly a lot of Christmas involves digging deep into our pockets to find the money to spend of Christmas gifts and presents for loved ones.

Although this time of year tends to be fun and joyful, there are a lot of negatives at Christmas time; the average person gains 2kg in weight, and 35 million bottles of wine and 250 pints of beer are consumed in Britain alone during the December month; a 40% increase compared to the rest of the year. Moreover, through our poor dieting and over drinking, the hospitals are put under a lot more strain and so the NHS bill rises, meaning that government must either increase their total spending or, direct more of the budget into the healthcare services, which means that other areas that benefit from government spending lose out.

Also, there is a big impact on the environment at Christmas due to litter and recycling. In 2014, the figures showed that $2.4 billion is wasted on uneaten food and unwanted gifts, which accumulates to an increase of 30% more rubbish produced. On top of this, the amount of wrapping paper that is used and thrown out, if laid from end to end, would stretch from Earth to the moon. This has a massive impact on our environment, and, with landfill sites filling up fast and climate change becoming more prominent in our newspapers, surely we could reduce climate change dramatically by cancelling Christmas?

Furthermore, from a single Christmas dinner; a 20kg carbon footprint is produced. This means that the country as a whole will produce around 51,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from food alone. Impacting the ozone layer and, thus increasing global warming.

On the other hand, in the USA 19.2% of the total retail industries total sales amount to Christmas shopping and over 768,000 employees were hired throughout the country. This shows that Christmas has a big impact on a countries long-term growth through less people being unemployed and the huge profits countries make over Christmas, which can be taxed and will increase the government budget.

Throughout this article, I have spoken purely about the cost of Christmas and the impacts that have. I have not mentioned the social side: the initial joy of seeing family and the community coming together to sing Christmas carols and donate money to those in need. And so, as clich├ęd as it may be, you cannot put a price on love and family. So, in my opinion, every penny spent is worth it for that magical day.

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