Today I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of Christmas.
With just a few days to go until the big day the shops are filled with frantic mobs, rushing to buy the latest games consoles, Disney merchandise and enough food to feed an army.
BBC News reported that this Saturday, dubbed “Panic Saturday” by researchers, Britons will spend an estimated £1.2 billion on gifts and groceries (full story here).
I’m literally scared to go out and buy a pint of milk.
So what changed? When did Christmas become more about money than tradition?
As far back as I can remember we’ve always made a big deal out of Christmas in my family, being taught that it’s more important to spend the holidays having fun with the people you love rather than spending money on things you don’t need, especially when there are people on our doorstep that don’t have that luxury.
Now that I have a toddler I understand the way that parents feel when they want to give their child everything they can, even in these troubling financial times. I’ve probably spent more than I should on gifts and toys this year, but now I’m starting to feel guilty about the excess. Especially after seeing this campaign by the homeless charity Crisis.
This advert really touched me, far more than any other Christmas advert released by organisations aiming to make a profit over the winter season, including M&S, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis.
For the price of a doll, a decent bottle of liquor, a dvd, or half the price of a new Xbox game, you can give necessary comfort and a hot meal to someone really in need.
That’s why instead of buying my little girl this doll…
…I visited the Crisis website and bought a Christmas dinner for a homeless person for the bargain price of £21.62.
This Christmas I’m moving to bring back tradition and start looking after each other instead of lining the pockets of retail giants.
I’m hoping this post will move people to reconsider their priorities over the festive season, start a new tradition, help a friend or neighbour or just make more time for the people who matter most to you.
If you would like to make a charitable donation The Big Give is a great website that let’s you search for charities based on your interests and location.
Thank you for reading and MERRY CHRISTMAS!