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Apparently, yesterday (Saturday) was ‘Panic Saturday’. This is a term coined by retail researchers and refers to the last Saturday before Christmas. On this day it was expected that some £1.2bn would be spent. The Centre for Retail Research thought that around 13m consumers would each spend £92 per minute on gifts and groceries.

The Money Advice Service annual Christmas spending survey published a few days ago (www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk) suggested that the average adult in the UK would spent £530 on Christmas this year. The survey also suggested around £28 per person was spent on discarded food and drink last year, with £54 per person was spent on unwanted gifts.

This is a Thought for the Week, so what do I think about these facts and figures? I’d say if you can afford it, celebrate. Give gifts to those whom you love. The angels in the Christmas story brought “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10 NIV), and if you believe the Christian meaning of Christmas then that is something worth celebrating.

But let’s consider those who can’t afford it and share our surpluses with those who have little. Let’s be there for people for whom Christmas will be a lonely or painful time, so that the joy we feel might be shared at least in some measure with them.

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