Let’s face it – commercialism and greed have gotten way out of control. Yet, for some reason, many of us still feel the need to “keep up with the Joneses.” This is never more true than at Christmastime (this may be equally true of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, but I’m speaking of the tradition I’m most familiar with). Thanks to television and the internet, our children have become emissaries of Madison Avenue manipulation, and most of us don’t know how to say no to our children. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that the average American carries between $15,000 and $20,000 of credit card debt, a large portion of which is created in the month of December! Isn’t it time we woke up? What’s the point of buying everyone in the household every little thing their hearts desire if the following year is spent in sleepless nights and anxiety attacks? It may hurt, not being able to buy an i-pad for each of the kids, but if it’s not in the budget, it’s not in the budget! What lessons are we really teaching our children? Isn’t it more honest, more balanced, and finally, more humble to live within our means? Remember the notion of the Spirit of Christmas? Whatever happened to that??