Yes, it's that time of year again.
Turn on the TV, flick through the newspaper, or listen to the radio & there's no escaping the fact that Christmas is only 5 weeks away. There is advertising everywhere & Christmas musak in all the stores. It seems that everybody is trying to prise money from my pockets & you know what? I really couldn't give a damn.
Over recent years, i have become increasingly disillusioned with Christmas.
Now i will state straight away that this is nothing to do with the religious aspect of the Christmas period, far from it. Although i'm not a Christian myself, i have no problem with the religious festival that is Christmas & fully respect it.
No, where my problem lies is with the rampant commercialisation that affects the run up to Christmas.
I can only imagine what a commited Christian must think when they view all that happens around this time of year. In a strange way i feel quite sorry for them.
The whole meaning of why we're celebrating in the first place has been lost amongst a mad dash for cash.
I accept that one of the possible reasons for my increased disapproval is the fact that my children are now far older. This has a big effect on how you feel the "magic" that can happen at Xmas. When your children are younger & they still believe in Father Christmas (& maybe there's the topic for another blog?), the excitement levels are far higher for all concerned. Watching children opening their presents can be a great experience. As anyone who has observed it will testify.
Being with & meeting up with family & friends is one of the traditions of Christmas that is, thankfully, still with us. Although, even this is slowly being compromised in other ways (yet another blog topic?)
Nonetheless, i do feel that things have got a lot worse recently.
Nowadays there seems to be, what can only be described as pressure, being exerted onto us all to spend vast amounts of money & buy certain things. Almost all of which are not really needed.
When did it become almost obligatory to eat & drink to excess? Not to do so is almost seen as being strange & you can often be accused of "not getting into the spirit of Christmas".
Christmas is supposed to be all about giving, not buying. I am more than happy to buy presents & do not begrudge spending money to do so. But, in the real world, we usually just end up swapping money, or vouchers. Or, we buy gifts that the person doesn't really want, or need.
Personally, i would be perfectly happy if i didn't recieve any gifts at all.
I would rather that money wasn't wasted on items i have no need for & that the money was spent on something more worthwhile, or was given to charity instead.
Last year, at work, i sent out an email saying that i would not be sending out Christmas cards for anyone & asking that people didn't send them to me. I then made a donation to a local charity instead & i intend to do exactly the same thing this year. I was amazed at how many people congratulated me on my stance & did the same thing themselves.
Now, i realise that this blog makes me sound like some huge Scrooge like character & that's fair enough. But, i just get increasingly annoyed that the meaning & spirit of Christmas has been hijacked by commercialism & that this seems to be spiralling out of control.
I also dislike being more or less forced into conforming to another persons view of what a modern Christmas is all about.
At a time when the world is in recession & most of us have less money than before. We are being lured into spending money that we don't have, cannot afford to spend & we are spending it on things that we don't really need. Surely that's just plain crazy?
So, if nothing else, think about what you're spending & what you're spending it on. You can still have a great Christmas & maybe an even better one by doing just that.
Save your money. After all, the January Sales start soon!
And to think i didn't even moan about the fact that Xmas seems to start earlier & earlier every year!