Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind
I make no secret of the fact that I’m not a big fan of Christmas. Sure, it’s great for younger kids, although you do need to question the sincerity of a religious festival that involves – by default – lying to children: “Why, of course Father Christmas is real!” But hey, you do you, and I do me.
Now having said that, I have to say I love the principle of Christmas: getting together with people you care for, and treasuring their company. Sadly, the principle is lightyears removed from the reality, and the reality is that Christmas has become a festival of greed and gluttony. Society piles unbelievable amounts of pressure on especially parents to buy presents for their kids, driven by the sharpest minds that marketing has to offer, to manipulate you into spending ever more money. I’m all for free trade, but when you start selling Christmas-themed edibles, with a best-before date well before Christmas, then lets not pretend you care about Christmas nearly as much as you do about capitalism, profits and exploitation.
I often joke that my attitude to Christmas is to say bah-humbug, but the truth is that only applies to what Christmas has become. As a midwinter festival – with or without religious connotations – to celebrate love and togetherness with those you care about it’s great. As a festival of greed, gluttony, and rampant consumerism driven by disaster-capitalism, less so.
Christmas is a special time of year though, isn’t it? Infused with the spirit of Christmas, you’re more inclined to give, and that even includes the homeless person you pretend not to see for the rest of the year. Ghandi said it best: Be the change you want to see in the world – and so I have a challenge for you: see what you can do to keep that “spirit of giving” you’re so enthused with right now going throughout the year.
Kindness is not a seasonal thing, and human misery doesn’t magically disappear as Christmas fades away. Again, be the change you want to see in the world: donate to food banks, donate your time to worthy causes, give to charities (the RNLI springs to mind, but of course there are many others), and spread that kindness and special Christmas cheer all year round.