Sometimes we forget the true meaning of Christmas. Turn on the television, and it’s impossible to escape the barrage of advertisements for the latest re-gurgitation of previously released material on DVD, over-priced exotic smelly water, celebrity biographies and cookbooks, gadgets, gizmos, games and garments. Let’s not forget food and drink either, and the somewhat ominous re-running of adverts that I’m sure I remember seeing years ago – budgets tight this year perhaps? And don’t even get me started on toys – a toy dog that actually urinates? Please (and I mean “no thanks”).
Of course, Christmas is big business. I’ll bet the two people that actually read this post will have spent lots of money on gifts, and the likes of Amazon will have raked in gazillions. In my house Santa’s list has been changed at least 4 times, and that’s just me – at least he got my eldest daughters’ letter a couple of weeks ago, giving him time to sort out the required gifts before the big freeze prevented him from doing any more online ordering. I have it on good authority that Mr Claus has adopted I.T. in a big way in recent years you know, and having checked via email I’m 100% certain that he’s not bringing me a Panasonic GH2 upgrade this year. Bummer.
With iPhones, iPads and iPods topping the teeny Christmas list chart this year, and parents aplenty happy to actually part with the cash just so their little darlings don’t suffer the embarrassment and humiliation of a cheap Chinese knock-off in the playground come January, it looks like it’ll be a bumper festive season for Apple. I wonder how many iTunes vouchers will be gifted this year too, especially now that Uncle Eddie can get the Beatles digitally. On iTunes. For the first time. Ever. What, you didn’t know?
As if the excesses of pre-Christmas shopping weren’t enough, there’s the big day itself – up at 5am with the over-excited children, starting the dinner preparation just after breakfast, realising you forgot to get enough AA batteries, the in-laws (and out-laws) arriving amidst a flurry of scarves, gloves, hugs and parcels just as you’re sitting down to lunch – and of course there’s the singing, the laughing, the emergency chairs, remembering no-one actually likes sprouts, the indulgence of 3 desserts and realising that the jokes inside crackers really aren’t that funny.
We’re all responsible to some extent for commercialising Christmas, turning it into the circus it has become and enduring the same rigmarole year in, year out – it’s time to stop and consider what Christmas is really all about. Everyone will have different memories of Christmases past and be living different Christmas nightmares presently, so what are my top tips for making the most of Christmas, coming out the other end sane, and being better prepared for Christmases future?
Turn off the telly (after the Queen’s speech of course), put the iPhone down, don’t take 100 photos when 1 will do, make sure you cook the turkey properly, stop playing with action figures and just enjoy the time you have in the company of friends and family. Be thankful that you can share another Christmas with them, and spare a thought for those less fortunate, who for whatever reason, can’t be with their loved ones at this special time of year.
Above all, have a Happy Christmas!
Click here to view my Christmas message on flickr 🙂