Americans feel the pressure to buy a lot of Christmas presents for loved ones, even if they don’t have the money. Experian Consumer Services recently conducted a survey on more than a thousand users, and found that 41% “feel obligated to spend more than they can afford” on presents at the holidays. With the average present budget at just over $800, nearly half said they will use credit cards to cover the costs. And, even though holidays are generally associated with time off of work and spending time with family and friends, nearly 30% said that the task of buying presents stresses them out. Discuss
U.K. department store John Lewis has become known for their touching Christmas commercials, and this year the store went above and beyond, setting their ad in outer space. It's not the most logical commercial, and it might leave you with a lot of questions (How can that old man breathe on the moon without an oxygen tank? How is that little girl's telescope so powerful? What exactly are they trying to sell?), but it will also warm your heart. And after all, isn't that the real point of Christmas ads?
A public school’s annual Christmas Spectacular play is now at the center of a controversy about the freedom of religion and separation of church and state. For more than 30 years, Concord Community Schools in Indiana have produced a large-scale production that includes a live nativity and a reading from Scripture, but this year, it has come under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the ACLU. The two organizations have filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the celebration “is coercive, represents an endorsement of religion by the high school and the school corporation, has no secular purpose and has the principal purpose and effect of advancing religion.”
The school’s superintendent isn’t backing down, however, and has argued “If a student or parent finds objectionable any portion of the Spectacular, or any school assignment for that matter, that student is free to opt out of the performance or assignment." The suit was filed on behalf of a student who is involved in the music department, which helps put on the production, but says he is now faced with “direct and unwelcome contact with the objectionable portion of the Christmas Spectacular.” Nothing helps ring in the Christmas season in modern America like a high-profile, federal lawsuit. Discuss
Joe Riquelme, the founder of the company that makes the Videoshop editing app, sure knows how to remain nonchalant when executing a massive surprise. Yesterday, he gave his parents a nondescript envelope as a Christmas present, but it contained a pretty large surprise: Along with checkboxes showing how much his parents had sacrificed over the years for the things that come along with being the head of a family (raising kids, college loans, mortgage), the envelope contained a note that read, “Your house is paid off. Merry Christmas.” He also managed to capture the whole exchange on video, and their reaction is as great as you would expect ... Discuss
Not only is The Rock a wrestling legend, a Hollywood superstar and a fashion icon, as his recent appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael shows, he is one of culture’s great karaoke performers. Also, where can we get one of those ugly sweater onesies? ... Discuss