Amidst the copious amounts of Christmas gift guides, clever marketing tactics and delicious recipes, I wanted to touch upon something that I wish was discussed more often.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve felt differently about Christmas. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but volunteering at Crisis and my trip to Malawi are certainly contributing factors. DON’T PANIC, I haven’t turned into a massive Scrooge; my values have simply evolved with age, and that’s completely natural.
I adored Christmas growing up, surrounded by family and friends and unnecessary amounts of tasty treats. I’m incredibly privileged, which perhaps gives me no right to have Christmas sadness, but nonetheless there it is simmering away like a sad brussel sprout.
We’re all aware that Christmas is a celebration of mindless consumerism at its finest. I came to terms with that a long time ago, but I think it really hit me this year when somebody asked me (in early October?!) if I had finished buying all my Christmas presents yet. No, Hortencia, of course I haven’t you raging lunatic.
A small part of my Christmas sadness comes down to the fact that most of the festive celebrations that I loved so much as a young whippersnapper are no longer in existence. The main part is my internal eye-roll when Hortencia boasts about spending £3500 on her guinea pig. It’s the unrealistic expectations of perfection, the unnecessary pressure to be happy, the set of rules and regulations that can be so difficult for a lot of people.
I know I am being hypocritical; over the festive period, I will most certainly be partaking in activities such as visiting Winter Wonderland and spending £92345 on a mug of mulled wine which contains 1% wine, 99% water.
I’ll also be volunteering* again, running a LOT, working, and of course spending time with my favourite people. I will be gifting people with experiences rather than mindless tat/unwanted presents and cards.
I hope this doesn’t come across as preachy; I know that I’m not doing anything ground-breaking and of course I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about enjoying Christmas! However, I do believe that you should focus on whatever makes you feel happy and fulfilled, rather than what you feel you ‘should’ be doing over the festive period.
In the least dramatic way possible, Christmas will never be what it once was for me, and that’s a good thing.
*I will write a separate blog about Crisis and some of the other charity work that I will be doing. I would like to emphasise that I strongly agree with the mantra ‘Volunteering is for life, not just for Christmas.’