Is it me?
Or is Christmas really down to just a day now?
When I was a child, Christmas was a time when families got together to spend time, not just for a few hours or a night, but for a week or so.
It was time to really catch up with distant relatives and friends, and really let your hair down, because the car was parked, and you weren’t going anywhere.
Christmas cards, were filled with real sentiment, almost poetry, not just the few words today which don’t express anything heartfelt. Cards were important, they said I am thinking of you at this time, and were not just for people you hadn’t seen all year.
Everything, pretty much shut down, except the emergency services and essential workers. Christmas was a proper holiday for everyone else, shops closed early, pubs were only open for a few hours, so if you forgot anything, then tough you did without it! There was no 24 hour convenience stores or petrol stations open, which by the way, used to only sell fuel and a few car accessories. And then, the streets would be all but silent, because everyone would be indoors, enjoying themselves.
But now, people have multi-sites to visit within a set time, eating in one place, then eventually settling somewhere else. Trying to please too many other people, rather than actually just pleasing themselves for once.
Is it all about doing the right thing or being seen to be doing the right thing? And who is it right for?
All the hype that is built up, in September glittery signs and wrapping paper makes an entry mixed in with Halloween costumes, that’s now also part of Guy Fawkes night! These last two being an opportunity to turn your kids into beggars, and allow them to worship the dead! I can never get my head round that! I know all around the world Halloween means something different, but that doesn’t apply here.
Anyway, sorry I digress. I am absolutely horrified at the small fortune that some parents spend on an individual child, just for Christmas. Worse still, if it is the child specifying something expensive, as no longer are they satisfied with simple gifts that have fun, practical or educational value, everything is fast, hi-tech, and becomes obsolete so quickly.
People have finally wised up the all the chain stores, with inflated prices that get slashed a few days later. Now, the first sales begin weeks before Christmas, and by 9:00 am Boxing Day they are in full swing. Having been spurred on by the amazing “Black Friday” frenzy, madness ensues, where everyone just has to have that “must have” item, or they are buying the Christmas presents they didn’t get before. People are still filling up shopping trolleys at the supermarkets, as though they are planning for some horrific event; how much more can they eat? And how much of that is wasted? And once all that is done, we can sit back with a drink in hand and reflect on how absolutely exhausted we are.
All festivities have long gone, Christmas is ‘so’ yesterday! The ho ho ho has got up and gone, until next year.
For me, this period of time between Christmas and New Year, is ‘quiet time’, nothing much really happens, except maybe catching up on a few people. But otherwise for me, it’s a time to take it easy, get my house upstairs in order, seriously recharge the batteries, and everything is on a go slow, until New Years Day. I’ll drink to that! Sx
(30th December 2014)
Unfortunately since I first wrote this piece, I have come to the conclusion that Christmas is down to just a few hours now…
Everyone still comes together to sit at the table, but their minds are elsewhere, focussing on social media outside the home, rather being socially interactive within. Let’s face it, how many people remain sitting at the table, after the meal has been cleared away? Or take the opportunity to continue the conversation in a group facing each other? Instead almost as soon as the meal is over, everyone escapes back to their own little world. And all the preparations, the worry, and the stress slinks away into nothingness.
The crazy thing, is all the big companies tempt us with their glitzy adverts, enticing us to come see more, come buy more. But no one thinks about the real cost of making these adverts and how as a consumer they’re going to pay for it. I would rather they didn’t bother, but instead do price reductions across the board.
People force themselves to do things or accommodate people they would normally do their best to avoid, and all for the sake of … keeping who happy?
I am not anti-Christmas, but I am anti what it has come to represent. I feel for the people who feel they are compelled to go through the whole process, probably pushing their own financial boundaries, just in order to keep a child happy. Or to able to give a child something they were denied themselves as children, whatever their reasons, if everything is accessible and afforded them, it’s only teaching children to have no value for money, or for how it was earned. It saddens me that children still have all these expectations in a time when people are surviving on credit, or are literally living hand to mouth each month.
For me, I have a few unhappy memories at this time of year, so it’s never easy anyway. But for the moment, there is something missing, not just by physical loss, but the whole spirit of how it used to be. Maybe when I feel that spirit again my outlook will change, but at the moment it’s very hard to see past that. Sharon x
(Updated 30th December 2018)