Early Christmas Hard on Shopping Addicts

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If you haven’t noticed, Christmas came early this year. Even before the Halloween candy was set out, and long before the Thanksgiving decorations, stores are pushing Christmas. For some businesses, Santa comes once a year to keep them in the black – and the earlier they can get cash rolling in, the better.

According to USA Today, Christmas started as early as September first at Costco. Sears, Walmart, Kmart, and J.C. Penny jumped on the bandwagon by the end of the month.

The problem for shopping addicts is that Xmas time has a built in excuse to slip back into old habits. The reason? They aren’t buying for themselves, and after all, shopping for the holidays is just normal behavior, right? Unfortunately, for those who are prone to shopping addiction, it may not be normal. Just as there are social drinkers and alcoholics, there are shoppers who increase spending for the holiday who don’t have a problem and then there are those who really are addicted.

The difference comes with the emotions attached to the behavior. The classic signs mimic the same emotional rollercoaster other addictions have, with a rise in interest and passion followed by a crash after the episode is over – a crash that leaves bank accounts and family budgets crippled. Then there is the guilt and a compulsion to repeat the cycle.

This year, debt counseling services are warning about shopping addiction. Apparently their clients are susceptible – perhaps how they came to be clients in the first place. CESI Debt Solutions describes the symptoms well on their site.

With Christmas being pushed upon us, there is no better time than right now to get help for a shopping addiction. The methods to prevent overspending are simple – share the load. By separating the addict from the financial means to indulge their habit, the spending can be controlled. Making shopping a shared experience (with a helper holding the purse strings) also transforms the experience, moving it away from a private shame. Online shopping is probably the worst enabler and that has to be cut-off (usually by stopping credit card privileges).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a Christmas built of happy relationships and love instead of things?

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