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What can you do this Christmas? - 4th December 2017
Have you noticed how retailers always push seasonal products that would never sell at any other time of the year?
Does this concern you? Do you get sucked in?
Whichever way you look at it, the ethos of Christmas is about giving, and of being selfless. Obviously this stems from a religious perspective but I think the average atheist or agnostic would not argue.
The modern retail version of Christmas has taken this concept of 'giving' and distorted it. It has made us all anxious that we haven't spent enough or bought enough gifts. My parents' generation of children received a Christmas stocking with a few simple gifts in it. These days, the phrase 'stocking filler' conjures up images of what I would describe as "plastic tat". The kind of thing a person might buy in desperation, when thinking they need to buy something that is "fun" or perhaps that the main gift for a person is simply "not enough".
These products only proliferate when we swallow the message.
Most of them should have some kind of warning attached, "perfectly useless after Boxing Day - guaranteed to be clutter".
So, this year, I urge you to be vigilant. Only spend money you have and spend it on gifts that have instrinsic and lasting value. Time spent with loved ones at any time of year has a value way in excess of any gift box or Christmas 'knick-nack' you could ever buy. Years after you are dead and gone your children and grand children, nieces and nephews will fondly remember the games you shared and the books you read to them.
Last week I came across an article about a pop-up store in London, 'Choose Love' that has been established for shoppers to buy gifts for refugees. Everything from tents to toys. Something for every stage of their journey. All put together with so much heart. Shoppers can purchase their chosen items and leave the shop empty handed. This is a powerful image of what Christmas could look like for all of us.
This way, Christmas is no longer about what you can afford financially.
Don't think what can I buy? Think what can I do?
I wish you all a calm and happy Christmas.