Even before the inflatable ghosts and goblins are put away for Halloween, the red and green décor is swallowing up stores and sale signs for the hottest toys and electronics are out on display, almost consuming the whole Thanksgiving holiday. It seems like we are embracing the fact that Christmas is over-commercialized. We love the holiday bustle and give into the craze of buying the must-haves before they are sold out.

The truth is, we’ve bought into manufacturers’ plans to get us to buy and buy like there’s no tomorrow, but what happens after the big Christmas holiday is over? The real mega-sales begin and most of us have already spent all of our money because we need to have a Mount Everest-shaped pile of gifts under the tree on precisely the morning of Dec. 25.

According to livescience.com, 26 percent said that they were bothered a lot by the commercialization of Christmas, another 26 percent said not a lot, 10 percent said not much, and 38 percent said not at all.

Just how much are we conned into buying? What do stores do to get their shelves full of goods emptied?

According to prestashop.com, shops can boost Christmas sales by giving the store a festive feel, promoting star products, aggressively promoting Christmas offers and having control over the stock of products and supplies

Although we anticipate buying presents, eggnog, hot chocolate, gingerbread houses, Christmas trees and decorations, stores strategize how to sell as much of these Holiday products to us as they possibly can

Most of us already have Christmas decorations dating back at least 10 years, yet in 2011, businesses were still able to rake in 6 billion for decorations, according to businessinsider.com.

Sales continue to go up year after year.

Christmas, the biggest money-making holiday, brought in $165.16 billion in sales in 2010. Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s day were runners up, according to ibisword.com.

Just keep in mind, that when walking into the Walmart Christmas section or the red and green-blasted Toys R Us store, and that tingling “Christmas spirit” takes over, creating a need to buy, choose carefully.

It all looks like a sugar-coated, plum-inspired dream, but it doesn’t all have to go into your cart.

Granted, traditions like Christmas lights and piping hot apple cider are what makes the Christmas season warm and cheerful, but we have to set priorities.

Buy decorations frugally. Plenty of garage sales and discount stores are out there that can prevent the buying of over-priced Christmas décor. Try to save money for the more important things, and don’t be afraid to recycle past Christmas decorations.

Get the most important gifts first. Make a list of the gifts that are definite pieces that loved ones are sure to enjoy. These could have higher price tags,` so before buying the stocking stuffers, get these first.

Enjoy the Holiday festivities that come without a cost. Have the family, friends or roommates pile into the car and cruise around an area in town that has plenty of houses decorated for Christmas. Try to find the ones that are linked up to a local music station that coordinates the lights to the songs. Watch the best Christmas shows on television.

We can all enjoy a Christmas classic with a bunch of loved ones who can quote all the lines word-for-word with us. Check out local churches and schools that are planning to host a free Christmas play or banquet. Every year, dozens of these places put together these festivities to keep fellow Americans reminded of the reason for the season.

But first and foremost, keep calm and celebrate on; gifts should just be the whip cream on top of the pumpkin pie, so to speak.

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