For all those people who believe in a consumer led Christmas, then this will probably not be the article for you, and I would like to take this time to wish you a happy Christmas however you choose to spend it.

For those people who understand that my aim with regard to my blog has always been to encourage people who are open to change to think,  then I hope that you will continue to read this post.

I have always loved Christmas, to add to it my son was born on Christmas Eve. But over the past, probably, three years I have found myself becoming more and more jaded with the consumerism that has gobbled Christmas and it’s real meaning up.

I myself have been caught up in this what can be described as hysteria. Even last year, when I was so disenchanted with what Christmas had become, I still ended up buying more stuff than we needed, it’s two days for Christ’s sake!

People get caught up in the “let’s set a budget for what we are going to spend on each other.” Then off they go spending £20.00 or £30.00 or more on each other, often buying things that people don’t need or want, with money that they often can’t  afford,  and ending up in debt for the next three months of the year.

An air of competition creeps in, do we have enough presents under the tree?  Does all of my wrapping paper match the colour scheme I have picked? Only to find after hours of wrapping gifts that when you exchange presents the other persons colour scheme clashes with yours and looks awful!! What is wrapping paper all about? People spend a good £20.00 if not more on wrapping paper that is torn off and thrown away (in your already overflowing bin) in a matter of seconds.

What happened to the true meaning of Christmas?  The ‘gift’ that God gave to us was his son. So surely the ‘gift’ we should be giving to each other should be time, or perhaps help. A visit to an elderly aunt, or even a phone call to someone who is on their own most of the time would mean so much more. As would patience with so many of our relatives which seems to be lacking in abundance as Christmas comes along.

Rich and I have been giggling at the adverts over the past two months or so. The image they sell to people is amusing on one hand, because it is so ridiculous. it is sold to people that Christmas must be perfect and it won’t be unless you spend “only” (that frequently used word) £300.00, or only £600.00. That you must buy them the newest games console, phone, or television, interestingly things that stop people from speaking to each other – when isn’t that what Christmas is about? And let us not forget that if you don’t buy a new dining table and chairs your Christmas will be ruined because Granny will have to sit on an outside table, or perhaps a small side table. Why has it got to be Granny? Why can’t someone younger sit on the crap chair?

What about your sofa? If you don’t have a decent sofa in case someone ‘pops’ in unexpectedly then that’s it Christmas is ruined!! The underlying cynical message is “what will others think of you if you don’t have enough chairs? What will your peers think if your parents haven’t brought you the latest computer console, tablet or phone? Oh no you must be poor!!!

For Christ’s sake people (because after all this is a holiday to celebrate his birthday) can you not see the con?

The other hand to this sad situation is that people end up in debt, they are consumed by worry that then leads to stress, and at times anger. Christmas gets ruined anyway because people aren’t happy because they have overspent, or people didn’t appreciate what they had bought them, or, and most importantly, everyone is not enjoying themselves in the way the adverts have said they would be!!!

Coming away from the madness has been a Godsend, because it has given me a true gift, the ability to reflect on how I have spent Christmas in the past, and the freedom not to get caught up in the hysteria in the future. I have moved to a country that does celebrate Christmas, but not in the same consumer driven way. In addition I have chosen to live a simpler life, but with a lot less pressure, so I now look at things and think how much? I have come to appreciate the very simple things in life, and am now able to remind myself (because I no longer have that hidden, but all to real, pressure to keep up) that it is for two days. In actual fact it is just two days the same  as the rest we have just named them something else.

So this is how I am going to celebrate Christmas… I am going to put a Christmas tree up. I have an artificial one and I don’t need to buy a real one, which for some reason I have in previous years! We have chosen a box of special chocolates each from Aldi, and bought a stollen, that is enough for two days. I am going to have a go at making a Malteser Christmas pudding cake, and  I will have time to enjoy what I do.

We will be spending 10E  each other and are going to be inventive in what we buy so that we will have a present to open in the morning and a present to open after Christmas dinner. The thought will be what counts not the amount that we have spent.

We are going to buy the dogs a couple of pull toys because they give us hours of pleasure watching them play together, chasing each other (doing zoomies) around the garden. I am only buying a small turkey, not beef and pork because I do not need them. We are going to ask our friends to bring us back some white sliced bread from England, with some pickled onions and red cabbage so that we can have turkey sandwiches and pickles on Christmas night and cold meat and mash for boxing day. We have realised what is important and what is not. Hallelujah!!!

We will get up late on Christmas day, when we want in fact. We are looking forward to taking the dogs for a long wintry walk down the lane where we live, enjoying the wildlife and the peace and solitude; returning to sit in front of our log fire, with a sherry or even a copy of a well known cream and brandy drink that we will buy from Lidl! We will have Christmas dinner when we want and change back into our pyjamas when we want. But most importantly when Christmas is over we won’t have any debt, or that underlying feeling of disappointment because Christmas did not live up to the perfection we had been sold. We will have a meaningful and real “good” life.

My gift to you is that I hope this post will make some people think, and also make them laugh at the madness of it all.

Have a wonderful Christmas I hope it fulfills all of your expectations.

Joyeaux Noel