THIS year has flown by—like a speedboat through the ocean–and suddenly Christmas is upon us once again!
While I don’t want to be a ‘killjoy’, I freely admit feeling a strong urge to crawl into a corner and hide away for the next couple of weeks.
In some respects I love Christmas. The build-up, excitement and anticipation we all share with our grandchildren—especially the younger ones—is a certain level of magical.
Yet, just this week, I had to ask the dreaded question: “What would you like for Christmas?”
The responses were quick and to-the-point. From the teenage fraternity it was: “Money please!” While the younger ones bleeted out they’d like a new phone and branded trainers. Eeeeeek!
Mmm…. Money seems okay, as there’s little work involved in that. Just draw it from the bank and stick it in an envelope. Job done! However, a new phone and branded trainers? This could involve taking out a new mortgage!
The trouble is, we’re always trying to please the grandchildren, not wanting to acquire a reputation for being ‘meanies’. But we have to ask ourselves, at what point do we draw the line and say: “Too much money?”
Martin Lewis (of MoneySavingExpert.com fame) has been very vocal again this year, appealing to people to be smart and not cripple themselves with debt this Christmas. And he’s right; we do have a tendency to overspend on gifts, food, decorations and Christmas jumpers!
If you feel sick-to-the-stomach at the thought of spending money you don’t have on gifts family and friends probably don’t need or want, then why buy them? It’s far easier to be honest and say you’re opting out of gift-buying this year because you simply can’t afford it.
They’ll respect you for your honesty—and very likely admit to being relieved.
Christmas spending on gifts, just for the sake of it, has become a nightmare for so many of us—and it’s about time we woke up and realized that starting the New Year without credit card debt would be the best Christmas present ever!
Then we have decorations. Now, of course, we all love to decorate our homes with the tree as a centerpiece. And, if you’re like us, you’ll use the same decorations every year—which I see nothing wrong with. Some of ours are actually as old as our children and still going strong. They have memories attached to them, so are special. Plus, we don’t need new ones every year. Many of the baubles are plastic too, but whatever they’re made from, they’ll be eroding the planet’s natural resources.
2018 has also been a year of smack-in-the-face realization of the damage we’re doing to our planet. With food being just one of the problems.
The shops are now closed only on Christmas Day. So why do we buy enough food to last us a month? It’s because the supermarkets spend thousands of pounds on advertising campaigns tempting us with a neverending array of treats to stuff ourselves with over the festive season.
But is that what we do? No. And, as a consequence, there’s massive food wastage and enormous amounts of plastic packaging to be disposed of.
And how much deforestation takes place to make way for palm trees which produce the oil that goes into the products we buy to keep our cupboards stocked with Christmas treats?
We need to bring sanity back to Christmas, wrestling back control from the shops and stores that so effectively and seductively lure us in with their beautifully dressed windows. Especially as, upon heading inside, you find they’re essentially selling the same stuff as last year? Maybe in different packaging, but the same, nonetheless?
I find it depressing when I go out looking in the shops for ‘something different’—when, in reality, I know there won’t be anything. Just ‘tatt’, ‘tatt’ and more ‘tatt’!
Then there’s Christmas jumpers. A recent phenomenon which add layers to the stress and financial burden of Yuletide. Yes, they’re fun. But if you have a family, it means everyone has to have one—which can be a ridiculous expense. We managed for years without them, and can do so again!
Finally, let’s bring an end to the endless rounds of ‘Round Robin letters’… please!
I have to hold my hands up and admit to having sent them out with my Christmas cards in the past. But I only sent them to people who knew my family, and who we didn’t see from year-to-year.
However, by reducing my Christmas card list, we now only receive one and honestly, I have no idea why? We haven’t seen the people for 25 years-plus, have no contact at all with them during the year and, worst of all, only knew one of their children—when he was a teenager. But, nevertheless, we get news on all the children and grandchildren, home improvements, holidays, health and anything else you can think of that’s simply not relevant. Ugh!!!!!!!
Every year, with grit and determination, I strike names from my Christmas card list. Yet then live in fear that one I’ve ‘struck-off’ will still venture through our letter box. And, when it does, I reluctantly send one back. With the cost of postage rising every year, I definitely need to toughen up!
On a lighter note, I recently saw the new Grinch film, and realize I’m in danger of becoming ‘Mrs Grinch’.
So, in the true spirit of Christmas, I wish everyone a wonderful Yuletide spell and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
See you in 2019,