And here we are again.
It’s Christmas or at least will be soon. Soon Christmas decorations will come up bathing our streets will the light of a million colored bulbs. Shop windows will be covered in snow spray, plastered with messages that while wishing you a great holiday, also tell you to buy. And Buy. And Buy.
It's seems part of the modern day Christmas tradition. From mid-November we start seeing subtle messages in the media of what we should buy. Toy commercials become more common (as if children only exist around Christmas). Than there is the rush to buy the dreaded Christmas presents, which; let’s face it, sometimes end up in a drawer or on a shelf never to be used or seen again. You see people's faces as they think “I’ve got no idea what to get X this year" followed by the realization that a few days before Christmas and you haven't bought all the stuff.
There is the mad rush and rush in the shopping centers. Crowds pushing and bumping into each other in the streets. Sometimes a push leads to an exchange of angry looks and occasionally followed by a few words in anger. Traffic builds up as cars spend hours looking for parking, spending too much time staring at the tail lights of the car in front thinking what the hell am I doing here. Tempers flair.
Than there is the inevitable realization that you have spent a shit load of money. Is this the modern Christmas spirit?
In the winter of 1914 Germans and allied troops stopped fighting for one day, Christmas Eve. They sang Christmas carols and greeted one another much to the dismay of their superiors. Remember this is Belgium in the First World War, one of the bloodiest conflicts in modern history.
That is the Christmas spirit. Good will to you fellow human beings, charity and bringing a bit of happiness in someone's life. But this seems to have taken a back seat in today's modern world. Now it is buy, spend and give useless gifts to each other and regretting every cent you spend.
The Other Way.
So what can we do about it? Simple. Buy Nothing. Let’s face it… we could be much better off for it. In countless ways. Firstly the most obvious of all. The money you save. In these times of economic hard times we all need to save cash. At the end of the day we all have more important things to use the money on. Than there is all the useless crap we will avoid throwing away sooner or later (and in most cases quite sooner). The plastic packing, paper wrappers, fuel spent going to and fro shopping centre endlessly looking for parking....well the list is endless.
And there is less stress.
But there is something you can give to the people to care for. You can give time. Something money can't buy. Spend more time together, have a coffee and a long chat and a good laugh. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone is yourself. Give them a smile. Be more kind to the people around you. At home, at work and even in the streets while driving. Maybe, just maybe we can achieve the spirit of 1914 :) If you really want to give something why not make an effort and make something yourself? And even though it is a little early but I really from my heart wish you all a happy Christmas and all the best.