THE pressure to buy
expensive Christmas presents puts pressure on relationships and
"spoils life", the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Tuesday.
This month, the
Government-backed Money Advice Service published the results of a
survey of 2000 people, which suggested that almost one in ten were
still paying off debts from spending last Christmas. Its research
suggests that one in four people spends more than he or she can
afford at Christmas, while one in five feels obliged to buy his or
her children this year's 'must have' present.
Speaking on The Martin
Lewis Money Show: 12 saves of Christmas on ITV on Tuesday,
Archbishop Welby said: "Obviously the secular over-the-topness,
everything you have to have, new clothes you have to have, new
this, new that, new the other, is ridiculous: it's absurd; it
shouldn't happen. It puts pressure on relationships because, when
you're short of money you argue.You get cross with your kids more
easily; it spoils life."
He admitted that it was a
"cliché" to speak of the materialism of Christmas, and demurred
from suggesting that people should stop giving gifts: "It's
obviously not what Christmas is about, but, to be absolutely
honest, there's not that much point in saying it, because nobody's
going to pay attention."
He did not feel guilty about
the accumulation of debt during a Christian festival because "the
Christian bit of Christmas isn't the bit that's getting people into
His message was a "positive"
one: "God gives us his Son, Jesus Christ, to give us life and full
life and abundant life. Giving at Christmas reflects that
generosity of God. So be generous in a way that shows love and
affection rather than trying to buy love and affection.
"You can't buy it: you can
show it; and when you show it, it comes back at you with interest.
Save up for the Christmas budget, be sensible, don't put pressure
on your finances - don't make your life miserable with Christmas.
Share love and affection with reasonable gifts that demonstrate you
really care for someone. That makes for the best Christmas you
could ever have."
Last week, Martin Lewis, who
runs the website MoneySaving-
Expert, told the
Parliamentary Business, Innovation, and Skills Committee that
vertisements should be
banned from being shown during children's television programmes. He
said that payday lenders were "in danger of grooming a new
generation to this type of borrowing".
The call was taken up by the
leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, this week.
On Tuesday, the
Times journalist Robert Crampton argued that the
Archbishop's comments failed to take into account that
Christmas-related business provided half of annual turnover for one
third of British retailers: "Many livelihoods are at stake at this
time of year."
"Besides, we want to spoil
our loved ones, often using money we haven't quite got," he