On 1st November every Halloween decoration had been shifted to the clearance shelves and replaced with large sparkling pine trees and obnoxious life-sized Santas, staring as I walked past the high street windows. It was too early. It felt like Christmas was being forced upon me before I had even handed in my first university essay.
When I was younger, the magic of Christmas and the excitement leading up to it made this time of the year the best. But it wasn’t the over-commercialised shop windows breaming with unnecessary decorations or the same 10 tunes playing in a loop on Heart FM.
It was the advent calendar my teachers would buy to share each day with a member of the class. It was the biscuits and mince pies we would bake as a family together in the kitchen. It was pulling out the familiar decorations from the roof that we had used for as long as I could remember. It was going out with a group of friends to find those personal gifts to give on Christmas day. It was preparing a special Samaritan’s shoe box for a child who wouldn’t even dream of the kind of fuss we make for this festive season. And to be honest if they saw it I don’t think they would understand the point of it all.
There is so much pressure every year these days for Christmas to be a grand event with weeks of celebrations leading up to the big day. Families break their backs in their jobs trying to work overtime and scrimp and save so that their children can afford the new Sylvanian Families set or a more powerful Nerf gun. It is all such a shame because we have (perhaps unintentionally) got stuck on a consumer-oriented Christmas conveyer belt.
It is never the material items I remember most about this season; it is the time spent altogether as a family, enjoying the meal everyone has played some role in, and the games we play in the evening – all that time spent together becomes so precious as everyone is busy and stressed for the rest of the year.
So I would say it is perfectly okay to be a Scrooge at Christmas, because Ebenezer got it right. To refresh your memories on the ending to this classic Dickensian tale, the grumpy old miser realised that money was of no importance if you didn’t have family or friends to share it with. The character that represented greed amongst the Victorian aristocracy can unfortunately still be applied to society today as we let ourselves be blindsided by the excitement of extravagance and grandeur when really that is not what Christmas is meant to be about.
To finish with a favourite Dr Seuss quote: '"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"'
Featured Image: Pixabay @kaboompics