What does Christmas mean to me? I found this quite difficult to answer as it has a very different meaning now from the meaning it used to have. But that is probably true for most of us. Nowadays it means greed. Almost obscene greed, and I hate it. Not the holiday, the greed, and the manipulation of people.
I don’t know if I was ever manipulated into buying unnecessary things. I know my parents certainly were not. They didn’t have much, and so Christmas for us was a nice meal of lamb and pork with Pavlova for dessert (no Turkey thank goodness! I will never understand why people choose a turkey over other more tasty meats – though I don’t eat meat any longer) and usually two gifts each – one a book and another, an item of clothing my mother had made. She was an excellent seamstress. Even later, when they had more money, this didn’t change. We perhaps got some chocolates to add to it, but the book and clothing were the gifts we looked forward to.
This is why I don’t buy into the whole peer thing. People say their children expect gifts because their friends and schoolmates get them, but this was ever the case. I don’t remember feeling envy when one of my friends showed me all her gifts, though I may well have felt it at the time. But if I did it certainly didn’t scar me so much that I still think about it! I think if children are brought up to value what they have and not what they want, we see them grow into far happier and more compassionate humans.
Adults should be leading the way, but of course far too many are susceptible to the nauseating advertisements etc leading up to Christmas, while some feel their love for others is not shown if they do not buy them as expensive a gift as possible, and again, they are being manoeuvred into thinking this. I used to buy expensive gifts too for a time, a period of four or five years. I also continued giving to local charities and helped out where I could, but I’m sure, I’m positive, I could have done a lot more.
Some might say I feel like this as I spend Christmas alone nowadays, but that’s not the case. The last twenty years or so when my partner was still alive it was the same. We always had a nice meal on Christmas Day, and he always gave me a book while I gave him an item of clothing, and that was it.
But I do understand how difficult it is to resist. Whenever I am invited to a friend’s for Christmas, I decline, unless I am certain no gifts will be exchanged or expected. Though if they are people who, like me, get pleasure from receiving a handmade soap or similar, that is a different matter. Something useful and nice. Do we need more? If you think you do, ask yourself why.
Socialist always. Journalist and ESL teacher while travelling the world in better days.
Times change, my values have not.
I am grateful to my comrades at Critical Mass for giving me the opportunity to write for ‘the masses’ once more. and it is such a pleasure. During difficult times it has giving me something to focus on while also contributing as part of a very, very good team.
And you can also read my blogs on https://revbluessusie.blogspot.com
Thank you all for your support.