What does Christmas mean to you? Are you consumed by the need to purchase vast arrays of material possessions (even if it means massive financial stress come January) or are you content to concentrate on the relations you have with special people? New socks anyone?
As a young child it is mostly about what Santa will bring. I bet we can all remember that first Christmas after we discover Santa does not exist as having lost the magic. It is generally a beautiful time in a child’s life to enjoy the fantasy of Father Christmas. How sad when it is all over and we are projected into the real world. Yes folks it’s boring old mum and dad who have been buying all the gifts.
But let us consider the true meaning of what Christmas is. For me, I think it ought to be more about strengthening relationships, showing love and compassion to one another. Not everyone has the money, ability or desire to throw the picture perfect Christmas and quite frankly people should not feel under immense pressure to do so.
We parents may struggle somewhat to meet all our children’s wildest dreams but that is perfectly acceptable in my eyes. Children should learn that Christmas is not about ‘getting’ possessions it is about ‘giving’ love. Of course I’m not a mean scourge, my husband and I do try our best to give our children special gifts but we do try to ensure the children reflect on how blessed they are. Yes we have been known to say, ‘you kids have a bed, food in the fridge, some lovely toys in a warm house. That is luckier than many children in this world.’ Cue looks of dismay (oh here they goes again!) and no doubt rolls of the eyes as they approach teen years. But we will persist.
Christmas is a great opportunity to reflect on how blessed we are. Chances are if you have a computer and you can read this article you have more opportunity than some people with no running water, no electricity, no food in this world.
In the Western world we have many people in crippling debt. Christmas is yet another huge expense for the majority of people in these dire economic times.
What concerns me is the ‘want want want’ hyper consumerism we are fostering in our children. The adults want that new coffee machine NOW! Don’t think for a moment your kids are not watching your every move! If you are a ‘can’t help yourself’ sort, your kids will typically mirror your habits.
I have had a wonderful but also difficult year in some respects. I want to give thanks to the very special people in my life who have gone to great lengths to keep us ticking along. Some people are better than any ‘must have’ gift, some people give the gift of love and friendship. They expect nothing in return, they just keep pouring love, kindness and joy into your daily life from one month to the next. That to me is what Christmas truly means. Oh and the odd designer hand bag wont be refused!
So what does Christmas mean to you? Do you focus on the material acquisitions, the religious connotations or the art of giving? I’d love to hear what these holidays mean to you?