Without blowing my own trumpet, I’d like to think the I am kind, generous and thoughtful. So why is what I’m about to say making me feel so uncomfortable?
I don’t want to upset people. I don’t want you to think I don’t care about you nor your kids. I don’t want to sound like The Grinch but….ok here it is….I don’t want to exchange Christmas presents this year.
I have wanted to say this to people for a long time but this year I’m just putting it out there! It’s the result of what feels like a multi-pronged attack to my system. Boots have regurgitated the same old 3 for 2 offerings, just in marginally different packaging. I have seen the magical “elf on the shelf” on sale in pretty much every store going, in full view of the children. Plus I’ve not been moved by any of the Christmas Adverts this year. When I found out how much the Elton John Lewis advert is supposed to have cost, it didn’t make me feel Christmassy at all. It made me feel colder than the snow that I’ll wish for on Christmas Eve. Just an opinion but I would have felt far more receptive to the spirit of Christmas if I had sat in front of a black screen for 30 seconds with subtitles explaining there is no John Lewis ad this year as the money has gone to those who need it most.
Christmas isn’t about what you buy. I don’t need presents to know I am loved and I know that you don’t need that either. The support friends have given me during this difficult year has been the most priceless of gifts. The pointless exchange of goods to a similar value is bonkers. So why am I afraid to tell you this?
Don’t get me wrong, if I see a present which is original and is “perfect” for someone, and the budget allows, they I will get it. But that could be in the middle of March. It doesn’t have to be enforced upon us for “Christmas” and it doesn’t mean you have to buy me something back. That’s exchanging, not giving!
Often, kids can’t appreciate the gifts they receive on Christmas morning due to the assembly line of unwrapping which awaits them. I know this but I still feel pressure. Social media hasn’t helped. When I grew up there was the term “keeping up with the Joneses” which meant wanting to have all the possessions and social achievements that your neighbours do. But now, thanks to the Internet, the whole world is our neighbour. We get to see hundreds of photos of the insane and quite frankly vulgar mountain of presents under some people’s trees. How sad it must be for those children who are so gentle and kind but get so little, to think that Santa thought less of them than a spoilt little madam with a rich family.
My children will have enough presents under the tree. I’m spending what I can afford and buying them things they will love. It won’t be a huge pile. My children have everything they could wish for. They have unconditional love and the luxury of time with people who they adore and who adore them. When I look back at my Christmas Days growing up, I can’t remember the presents I received at all. What I can remember is the people around the dining table, and the gaping hole that was left on Christmas Days after we lost someone we loved. Make memories with those people instead. Spend money on doing something fun together and sharing experiences which will be remembered for years….not on 3 for 2 tat! Make new fun traditions which our kids and grandkids can continue long after we are gone.
Happiness isn’t a material acquisition and reciprocation shouldn’t be a competition but we are all guilty of it. I’m not religious but from now on December is going to be a memory making month rather than a retail festival. Unnecessary Christmas gift exchanges cost time and money and the majority of us are lacking in at least one of these commodities and for many of us both.
So instead of fighting your way through aisles to find something for me or for my kids…please save yourself the stress, time and money* I’m setting you free from it…and that is my gift to you. Instead, spend the time you would have otherwise spent with your family and friends. After all, that is the most precious gift of all.
*Unless it is a Range Rover 😉 – felt the need to lift the mood there!
Lots of love x