‘Tis the season to be jolly and merry and all of those other holiday-related emotions except, I’m really not feeling any of them at present. The mere mention of the silly season is making me feel utterly exhausted and I haven’t even begun to get properly prepared. Sure I’ve bought a few presents for family members (thank God for online shopping) and kind-of, sort-of know what else I need to get but when I think of the actual festivities planned for the official Christmas period, I want to run and hide in a dark, dark cave of obliviousness. I have no idea why I feel the way I do about Christmas this year because normally, it’s the time of year I most look forward to. I get to open presents, eat ridiculous amounts of food and relax before starting work in the new year. Perhaps my holiday dread is coming from the fact that this year, I get the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Christmas over three days (that sentence is dripping in sarcasm just in case you didn’t realise). Sure it sounds great but pause, and reeeaally think about. I love my family but seriously, THREE DAYS! I can barely sit through an entire meal let alone three entire days, without either falling asleep of boredom or finding an excuse to leave because I have absolutely nothing to say (awkward silences and I aren’t really what you’d call ‘friends’). One day is usually a sufficient amount of time to conduct the prescribed catch-ups (How’s work? How’s uni? How long do you have left of your degree? etc) and fill my extended family quota until next Christmas but no, December 25th, 26th and 27th are going to be the death of me. Seriously. I might need to medicate just to get through it.
Merry Christmas everyone!
With the silly season fast approaching, have you ever stopped and asked yourself, is Christmas still really Christmas? Are we, as a society, truly giving the gift of giving by spending copious amounts of our hard earned dollars to buy gifts for family and friends who, while I’m sure they love their presents, don’t really need them? Should we stop spending our money on consumerist and materialistic items or should we be making more of an effort to really give back to our communities at Christmas time?
I’d like to think that at least some of us would pause and consider the possibility of donating their time and money rather than just buying that $150 wallet or $500 iPad. This doesn’t go to say that I’m a saint that has descended from the pine-scented and honey-baked ham heavens to donate my time and money to others during the happiest time of the year because, well, I don’t. I’m guilty of succumbing to and indeed enabling the societal and cultural norms surrounding Christmas whereby I shower my family and friends with lavish gifts. Last year alone I spent close to $500 on presents. Who does that?! It’s crazy! Could you imagine the kinds of things that amount of money could do for people who are struggling? And by struggling people I’m not just talking about the swollen-bellied, fly covered orphans you see on the World Vision ads plastered all over our television screens during the happy season. I’m talking about the local homeless or animal shelters that have become inundated and are unable to cope. Shouldn’t I be more concerned with helping them at Christmas rather than filling the stockings of my siblings with useless trinkets and food? The simple and harsh truth is that so much of society has been programmed not to think of Christmas this way. I have no doubt that if you were to ask a child tomorrow what comes to mind when they think of Christmas, a lot of them will respond with answers like Santa or presents or decorations. Very few will actually know the true meaning of Christmas (I swear I’m not at all religious by the way) and how it’s time to be truly thankful for all that we have and to share what we can with those less fortunate than ourselves.
Maybe my cynicism is just getting the better of me here but you can’t deny the chord of truth that’s struck here. We can all do more to help people but we don’t and I’m no better than anyone else. Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on presents this year. Maybe I’ll make my presents and donate the money I would normally spend.