Christmas is coming soon and with it a fury of shopping.
Shops are trimmed with Christmas trees, silver chains, reindeer, Santa Claus and snowflakes appear on shop shelves and carols are heard everywhere from dawn to dusk and beyond.
All that is to make people feel the Christmas spirit and to open their wallets and for once in the year to forget about saving money. Merchants have waited for this moment all year.
The average Pole will spend 240 zloty for presents this year (Ipsos). One out of 10 will spend more than 500 zloty. The more educated people are the more money they spend.
Men, who often say they’re not going to spend much, end up spending more than women (on average men 245 zloty women 236 zloty).
“We will buy even more next year,” said economist Witold Orlowski. “If the economy develops people buy more and that is right.”
Internet shopping also is feeling the Christmas crush. Shopping online is becoming more popular because it is easier than traditional shopping. This is especially true of busy big-city dwellers.
Online shopping can be done regardless of the time of day, which is one reason e-markets will be most popular just before Christmas, said Jaroslaw Sobolewski, analyst and e-business expert working for Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Poles spend huge amounts of money on Christmas, often using credit?as merchants rub their hands in delight. Analysts say some Poles may run up a bln zloty in debt this season.
Hypermarkets and banks have credit to offer. Bank counters are located just next to cash desks. Consumers can get money quickly and easily. At Media Market and Saturn credit covers as much as 60 percent of sold commodities.
Shops try to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. Many start with promotions and sales of Christmas trees even in November. Shopping peaks Dec. 15-17.
“It is a kind of exaggeration. Just yesterday we bought chrysanthemums and candles and now we are made to buy Christmas trees. In the past it was possible to buy a Christmas tree just two days before Christmas. Ornaments we made ourselves. We had enormous joy. Now every part of Christmas is aimed at just spending money,” said Jadwiga Doroszkiewicz, a pensioner.
Poland at Christmastime differs from other countries. In Great Britain, for example, the first Christmas decorations can appear as early as September. In the U.S., Christmas shopping starts on so-called Black Friday, the fourth Friday of November, the day after Thanksgiving.
“Christmas decorations on display almost everywhere are to make us think about presents and consequently to use credit,” says Tadeusz Poplawski, sociologist and chairman of the faculty of marketing and enterprise at Technical University of Bialystok.
Such spending is dictated by Christmas “temples of consumption,” the huge market centers. Such centers make the greatest profits with small shops trying to keep up. Christmas, a time of reflection, meditation, joy and love, changes into a race between shops.