What If There is No Christmas?
This is a intellectual exercise. It is a thought experiment for all of us. The question is what if there is no Christmas? I am referring not so much about the religious significance of that holiday but the economic impact of this tradition. Think of all the gifts not bought. Think of the end of Black Friday. What would the result be?
Will life be the same? The latest coronavirus outbreak is an early indicator. Look at the economic impact. When people stop traveling, going out to eat, or go to conferences and ball games? Many of these activities are not necessary to our survival. Will our economic system adapt to such a dramatic shift? Will the stock market become less relevant?
- March 2020
Our Consumer Based System
The Christmas holiday, accounts for half of all our spending. The reason Black Friday is so critical to our retail business. It is the Friday before Christmas where the retail business turn profitable after a whole year of operating in the loss. The question is what if we no longer celebrate this major holiday? What will happen to the retail business? What will happen to the toy business? What will happen to the Christmas tree business? and the millions of jobs associated with all these items?
Don't forget, many of these goods are consumer products that are unnecessary for survival. In fact, we need very little to survive. Some food, some water and some clothing and shelter and some energy to light and heat our homes and work place and some form of basic transportation to get around.
All the rest are niceties. A piece of expensive jewelry, a fancy car, a mansion, a cruise, a vacation, a yacht and a million other items. They make our existence fun and exiting but they are "optional."
But, it is precisely these other stuff that make our world go around. It is what generates demand for products and creation of new businesses, development of new and better ideas, new inventions, new drugs and better medical equipment to keep us happy and healthy.
Without such demands, how will our society be? How can we adjust to a world without Christmas?
The Coronavirus Crisis
The silver lining of this latest health crisis gives us a glimpse. As people are fearful of this unknown new virus, we stop traveling on planes and cruises. We stop going to ball games. We shut down our universities and schools. We stop going out to restaurants. The basic consumer society is curtailed to a minimum. The economic impact is great. Energy prices drop as businesses cut production. Businesses stop hiring or cut back on their labor force. Investors gets nervous and sell. A vicious cycle of down turn spiral begins. Where will it stop, no body can predict.
What is that silver lining? We stop and focus on what is important in our lives. Our health, our family and loved ones, our community and our country are all beneficiaries.
No man is an island. We are all in the same boat. What happens to one affect all others one way or another.
Getting back to my original question, what if there is no Christmas? The answer is we will survive. We will adjust over time to the new reality. Our economic system will adjust. The keyword is "survive", not thrive. Christmas brings out the best of us. It is a time of joy and celebration and giving. It is charity, good will and sharing. It is kindness and a feeling of peace and tranquility that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
Do we want to live in a world without Christmas? if we had a choice?
Getting back to the current crisis. Do we want to live in fear? and stop all activities that are unnecessary?
The answer is up to you. What do you want out of your existence?
For me, the answer is simple. I want to celebrate Christmas. I want to bring joy to little kids. I want people to stop and enjoy and smell the rose away from their busy and hectic life. I want people to thrive and achieve new goals and not just live in fear and survive. Is this too much to ask?
What is the purpose of life if not to bring joy to others?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jack Lee