Christmas is literally just a week away and I was chatting to one of my best friends, Kieran, about how commercial it has become. He said he had heard an advert for a well known electrical store which mentioned buying loved ones an expensive iPad or Macbook for Christmas and paying on finance. This shocked us both actually that to impress someone close to you, you need to be in debt for a year or so to make that happen. I feel like that had truly lost the magic of Christmas and what it is supposed to be about. It’s never been about materialistic goods only, it’s meant to be a time of happiness, joy, spreading love and spending time with family, not who can buy the most expensive or extravagant gift (that’s fine if you can comfortably afford to, but if it’s beyond your means like they were making out, it’s unnecessary).
I was also at my Buddhist group last week and we had a special get together, did some meditations centered around this time of year, and it dawned on me how busy everyone gets, how hectic life becomes, and how stressful it can also be when you get consumed with the materialistic side of Christmas. We were reflecting back on that and when I think about it, all I see if I go to town is a huge stream of people all rushing around to buy what they need, squashed like sardines at the market, and not many of them look very happy, which is sad since Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
On the other hand though, Adam and I did see a family/friends group who had asked us to take their photo in front of the Christmas tree and were really grateful and said Merry Christmas to us, the funny guy of the group had his flashing Christmas jumper on, then everyone gathered around carol singers and their faces were lit up with smiles, so I’m glad it’s still there for some. I feel like the materialistic approach that’s set upon us everywhere in the media is what makes us stressed and forget what it’s about, but then when something happens that brings us back to reality, we’re present again, in that moment. For me it’s the excitement with the fake snow that blasts out of the machines in Southgate at sporadic intervals. There’s not many adults that seem to enjoy it, but I sure do! I also stop to look at the lights and decorations, embracing it, as it’s different and so magically pretty, but it seems that a lot of people don’t even look up when I watch, they’re too busy.
I’m not judging anyone here as each to their own, and I used to actually be a big Scrooge believe it or not. I never used to enjoy Christmas as I found it quite boring (among other personal reasons) but as I look back on things now, I really enjoy it. We had a family tradition on Boxing Day when I was younger and we would all go to my gran and grampy’s house for a get together. This would include aunts, uncles, cousins and everything, it was a crazy day, but we would always have my gran’s traditional Boxing Day food which included cheese mashed potato, among other things, and we’d play pass the parcel, other fun games, and my grampy would chase us around with his false teeth sticking out so it was really scary, ha ha, good times. I even used to make my own horse stable by using their cupboard doors and eating a carrot (I was about 8, this wasn’t last week… or was it?). My grampy passed away many years ago now, and my gran moved away, but that magic is still kept alive as my mum does the same foods on Boxing Day, but altered for my dietary needs now.
I always make sure to enjoy Christmas now for what it is, I literally watch a Christmas movie everyday from December 1st (or before) and we put up our decorations as early as we can. I always love the music too! I love to do experiences as last year Adam took me to the reindeer farm if you remember, and that’s something I’m going to remember forever, much more than any gifts that didn’t have any sentimental meaning. When it comes to Christmas movies though, How The Grinch Stole Christmas always springs to mind as it’s purely about what Christmas should be. It was never about the gifts and presents as they always assumed, but about the time spent together, with loved ones. I half wonder if that’s where the notion of coal for naughty boys and girls came from, perhaps if they had coal, they would be forced to spend time with their family and come to realise that’s important?
I generally do prefer the entire lead up to Christmas day, as once the day is here, I get a bit sad as it’s soon over, but also because I enjoy the festivities the most. I usually just watch the TV shows on the day and we have a family meal, but everything else up to that is so much more fun and warming. I would love to know how you feel about Christmas and if you think it’s become too commercial? I hope the magic of it isn’t lost and it will continue to be at the heart of it. I also hope that it might inspire any of you to stop and relax a bit, and not get too consumed, don’t forget to look up and admire the decorations! I can’t wait to go to carols and watch more straight to TV movies! Lorna xx.