Who stole the joy of Christmas?

22 December 2014
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I’m sitting writing this through a stinking cold, hacking cough and a generally miserable demeanor. And on top of that, I know that that thing called Christmas is really getting me down. Big time.

I really want to feel that “festive spirit”. I really want to feel goodwill to all men – and women and children to boot. But somehow, I just can’t muster it.

Christmas should be fantastic in our house. We’ve got children (too many of them according to some, but Christmas is for the children, right? I was just stacking the odds in my favour.) I’ve put up the Christmas tree.  My husband has put up plenty of twinkling white lights in the garden and I’ve dressed pictures with holly and ivy. I’m endlessly shopping for food, presents, more food and more presents. Ooh, and a few more stocking fillers: just in case… But it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Will a few more brown boxes from Amazon do the trick perhaps? Click. The beauty of Prime membership. I just need to open the boxes that have been accumulating in my bedroom and work out what I’ve bought, for whom and possibly…why?The Grinch stole Christmas

And what of lovely old fashioned Christmas cards? Yes, I really enjoy receiving them. And like the idea of sending them too. But about 18 years ago, I established what I now know was a rod for my own back. I took the much maligned round –robin and decided to tell the family year’s news in rhyme – with pictures.

Every year, I come out in hives, hyperventilate and get ridiculously stressed and grumpy, fearful the muse will not strike me.
Needless to say,  I’m up against the postal wire attempting to finish this Herculean task this evening. I’ll have a stiff drink too methinks. Medicinal of course.

I blame marketing. And maybe the internet a little.

Let’s face it, Christmas started in earnest in October.  In fact, a friend of mine cheekily gave me a chocolate Santa (I detest that Americanised version of His name, by the way. ) in September! Has the world gone mad?

Now, you might accuse me of being a bit old fashioned and I’m certainly in the category of ‘religious believer’  but it’s not just the over secularisation of the festival that gets my goat. It’s the fact that hard as I try, I can’t help but get caught up in the horrid, tawdry commercialisation of Christmas. It has become the most obscene retail rush. Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays. Endless last minute promotions. And don’t get me started on perfume adverts. Really. Don’t get me started.

I hate myself for being as fallible as the rest. I have a bad taste in my mouth and I’ll feel sick when I watch my fantastic and excited boys open far too many gifts next week knowing that I have only myself to blame….

So, how about next year the marketing fraternity get their heads together and help us recapture the true essence of Christmas. Let’s put the authenticity back into Christmas. It’s about giving, it’s about sharing. It’s about putting differences aside. It’s about love. It’s about humanity not retailing.

In the words of one of my favourite Christmas carols:

“What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part
Yet, what can I give him?
Give him my heart.”

I’m not alone, am I?

Has marketing ruined Christmas? We recently discussed whether the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert should be seen as disrespectful http://seriousideas.com/christmas-is-for-sharing/

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