Some may think that I am a little behind the times. Especially considering the appearance of Christmas Decorations in the shops in October, one might think I have been living under a rock! The truth is, I noticed it, I even acknowledged it. However, I refused to participate in the absolute farce of the commercialised Christmas that begins in October and continues through until late January when the tinsel is replaced with Easter Eggs. I do not participate in the Christmas season until December 1st. Having said that, I have finished wrapping all the Christmas presents. The tree is erected and decorated and there are poinsettias adorning the tv cabinet. I don't think anyone could call me a grinch!
I quite enjoy the Christmas season in fact. I love gift giving and taking the opportunity to tell people how much I love them. Although running the gift giving gauntlet continues to cause a great deal of stress. I thought that as I grew up (and became more financially stable) that it would get easier. Unfortunately, this year is not one of financial stability for anyone. So what does one give? The truth of the matter is that it shouldn't matter. But to some people it does. It really matters.
The easy way out used to be the magical "gift voucher." But now there aren't gift vouchers, there are gift cards! These are apparently the perfect choice for the person who is very particular. However, you then need to decide what the gift card should be for, will it be itunes, movies, books, a restaurant or a hot air balloon ride. A simple $20 note seems quite slack now that the gift card business has boomed. You can buy a gift card for almost anything and almost any store these days. The simplicity of the gift card gift is out the proverbial window. Once again we are presented with so many options that you might as well buy your loved ones an actual gift.
The handmade and homemade gift also seems to be another fall back. People seem to be wild for personalised gifts. T shirts with photos of oneself. Calendars with charming photos of the children and the pets. Christmas decorations made out of folded paper or ribbon. Hand painted Santa's that hang from the tree. Mosaic photo frames. If you can make it using the basic supplies in the craft cupboard or a visit to a website then it is perfect. How can anyone say less than "THANK YOU SOO MUCH!" When you have spent your precious time, money and effort making something just for them. Especially if it is something useful! We won't mention the fact that the gift giver actually designed one calendar and got 20 of them printed for all of their friends. We also won't mention that they came gift wrapped and tagged. Meanwhile the morning news shows are producing segments about "the best Christmas gift ideas" followed by "how to pretend you love the gift you hate." (What a cynic I've become!)
This begs the question... have we all forgotten the true purpose and meaning of this joyous public holiday. This so-called silly season does have a reason. A real reason, a real purpose and not a bit of it has to do with gift cards or tinsel. We all need to remember why we give gifts at Christmas, why we travel to be "home" with our families, why we sing Christmas carols and more importantly why our Churches are packed out. We are retelling the true story of journeys made all those years ago. Journeys that all ended in the same place, a stable where a baby was born under a bright star.
Sometimes the Christmas celebrations can be a bit wearing. I know that I was over it by December 2nd. But please, enjoy your Christmas this year and remember why we do it. Go to your local church and thank God for sending his only Son to this earth. If you don't know the story that I'm talking about, the one about all the journeys and the gifts that were brought to this new born baby, ask someone, it's a great story!
Besides, with all the shopping and wrapping and cooking you could probably use the rest! :)