Originally Published: November 30, 2017 6 a.m.
It’s beginning to look a lot like debt collectors, everywhere you go…
According to the NerdWallet personal finance website, a distressing number of shoppers are still paying off credit card bills from last Christmas.
NerdWallet’s survey shows that 24 percent of Millennials, 16 percent of Generation X and eight percent of Baby Boomers are still trying to recover from the doorbusters, layaway treasures and stocking stuffers of 2016 — and avoid LIVING IN A SNOWPLOW DOWN BY THE RIVER.
You probably expect me to join NerdWallet in bemoaning the incompetent budgeting (“We’re on the Island of Misfit Calculators…”), competitiveness and crass commercialism that led to this situation. Wrong. We always had love, but I remember too many tight Christmases at the Tyree home, when recession-battered consumers skimped on appliances from the store where my late father worked. I want to spare others that anxiety.
Furthermore, I will not betray the fine merchants who support this newspaper or website by guilting people into saying, “Bah, humbug!” to consumer electronics, leisurewear and scented candles. (Hey, I know which side my fruitcake is buttered on.)
It’s your patriotic duty to keep the economy humming. Remember the American dream of “A chicken in every pot and a second flatscreen TV in every medicine cabinet.”
Despite all the warnings about profligate spending, some of us are actually being way too stingy with our commitment to traditional holiday indulgence. We’re just “phoning it in.” Watch for the warning signs. For instance, if your idea of making your neighbors jealous of your holiday lights display involves setting up an intricate array of cheap mirrors and then opening the refrigerator door a smidge, you’re a threat to the economy.
If you debate whether your Christmas tree will be real, artificial or BROCCOLI, you’re a threat to the economy.
If your Nativity scene’s “Three Wise Men” consist of two unemployed tech guys and a Magic 8-Ball, you’re a threat to the economy.
If the “Ho ho ho” and carols from the Christmas cards you send are wholly dependent on that VENTRILOQUISM CLASS you took, you’re a threat to the economy.
If you make your pet parrot memorize your neighbor’s Reba McEntire Christmas album, you’re a threat to the economy.
If Jack Frost doesn’t want anywhere NEAR your nose because of your bargain-basement plastic surgery, you’re a threat to the economy.
If you give a swing set that declares not “Some assembly required” but “Some nuclear decontamination required,” you’re a threat to the economy.
If your wild office Christmas party keeps the photocopier off-limits and has inebriated employees making do with an Etch-A-Sketch from Goodwill, you’re a threat to the economy. (Goodwill, you might want to watch out for Etch-A-Sketches donated after Christmas.)
Tightening your belt and acting responsibly is not the answer. Increase your income to maintain your standard of celebrating. Sell some unopened gifts from years past. Get a part-time job. Sell your blood. (“Forget Type A and Type B. I’ve got your Type Eggnog-Positive right here!”)
Regardless of your political leanings, surely you’ll agree we don’t need a progressive agenda snuffing out the dreams of innocent tykes. (“Actually, Cindy, the Christmas wish list I delivered to Santa for you is a LIVING DOCUMENT. I think St. Nick pretty accurately interpreted your request for a PAW Patrol Lookout Tower as a desperate cry for kale.”)
Danny welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.