I watch from the safety of the bus as the abundance of Christmas lights aggressively fight for dominance, like some death match of which house can stand for the meaning of Christmas the most. Instead of the festive joy they should be bringing me, all that comes to mind is the huge amount of electricity going to waste. I guess you can call me a concerned left winged millennial.
So much for the Christmas spirit. Age seems to only bring routine: buy presents, write cards and decorate an already cluttered house. Maybe because I’m not having the best time at the moment I’m becoming a bit of a Scrooge or maybe my eyes are open to the commercialism and lack of genuine compassion that has become our expectation of the season. Little do I see people teach their children the value of family and friends and instead they value the amount of presents they receive. It’s the same with Easter and any excuse for a holiday we have as a country. It’s become a game of ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ as if winning a competition of commercialism will benefit anyone other than the multi-million corporations you are contributing to.
Taking a step to reflect on my own childhood I was a rather spoilt child. If I had wanted it, I would have had it. Contrary to this, I only ever remember visiting Toys R Us once in my childhood and even then my brother and I were limited to one present each. By being taught to have my feet firmly on the ground from a young age meant that I haven’t carried that childish ‘I want it all, I want it now’ mentality through into my adult life and has really taught me to enjoy Christmas for what it is: well deserved time off to spend time with the people closest to me.
Obviously, I still enjoy presents, who doesn’t? But for me, it’s the act of giving a present, a really well thought out present, that makes it all that bit more special. For instance, I paint and for several of my gifts in the past I have gifted these custom creations to friends and family. My partner has a large family and cannot afford to buy twenty odd presents for everyone so instead has previously made gingerbread to share, or has bought a board game for everyone to play together.
This year my brother had the bright idea of suggesting that all he wanted for Christmas was love and affection, which, for me, sums up the whole event in a nutshell. Christmas is not about how many presents you receive but how many hearts you warm. It doesn’t matter if aunt Bernadette or grandma don’t like your cooking or that you forgot to write a card for that lady you never speak to in the office. Life is for living and spending time with the people you love and what better time to express that than at this festive time of year.