Christmas Time: Christmas or Cashmas?

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“Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”

Snowmen, Santa, baubles, tinsel, carol singers, turkey, mince pies… Wherever you are in the world, there’s no getting away from Christmas.What’s the best thing about it? Is it the holiday from work or school? The buying and giving of Christmas gifts? The wonderful food we get to eat? Receiving Christmas presents? Celebrating the birth of Jesus, or simply being with family?

I love Christmas. The twinkling lights and decorations. The smell of a real evergreen in the house. The garland and lights hanging on everything from stair banisters to fireplaces. The red stockings and trill of Frank Sinatra’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The cosy evenings with just the tree and fairy lights illuminating the room. Of course, I love giving and receiving Christmas presents and cards.

And come on, who doesn’t love a bit of turkey at Christmas, not forgetting the Christmas pud? I also enjoy being with family and friends and sharing the warmth and festivity of this time. Every year, my Dad tacks holly and ivy around the lounge and across the fireplace. It sounds a little odd, but it really gives a Christmassy, touching feel to the home.

On Christmas Day, it’s tradition in my family, after Christmas dinner, to relax in front of a movie, armed with Mum’s homemade “Snowball” cocktail. Mum serves endless mince pies and Dad normally ends up falling fast asleep in his armchair half way through a film. My brother usually resorts to chucking a cushion at him in an effort to stop his ear piercing snores.

Being a bit of a romantic, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a fan of the flick Love Actually and especially love the “to me, you are perfect” signs scene, not to mention the bit where Hugh Grant dances to “Jump.” And I also have a soft spot for The Muppet Christmas Carol. Is that really such a bad thing?

As for Christmas shopping, I tend to start mine around October time. And, I’ll admit, I get into a bit of a flap when it comes to choosing Christmas present ideas for, well, just about everyone on my list. Especially my boyfriend. Watching someone un-wrap a pressie is a joy in itself, unless, of course, you choose the wrong Xmas gift ideas.

So you see for me, this festive season is a lot more than just Xmas gifts. To me, Christmas is a time for all the family to get together and enjoy each other’s company and forget about things. And for some, including me, Christmas is about remembering the birth of Jesus. But perhaps this time of year is a lot more to do with other things than the real meaning of Christmas.

I’m not getting on my high horse here, as I don’t go to Church every Sunday, but it seems like the whole thing has been robbed, repackaged and sold back to us as a festival of eating, drinking and splurging. Aren’t we forgetting the original Christmas message? The celebration of Jesus Christ is slowly but surely transpiring into a corporate, celebrity-endorsed spend fest.

Shop signs and advertisements scream “Christmas gift ideas!” “unusual Christmas gifts!” “cheap Christmas gifts!” blah blah blah, begging us to spend, spend, spend and spend some more. I walked into a restaurant the other day which was already promoting Christmas menus. Seriously. The summer’s only just come to an end.

And another thing that irritates me about this time of year are the tacky lights, humungous blow-up Santas, snowmen and reindeers that people put up outside their abodes. Then they put signs up outside their houses saying, “If you like our Christmas scene, put some money in the tin and we’ll give it to charity.” Or is that really to cover their phenomenal electricity bill?

The true meaning of Christmas is different for everyone. For some, it’s about spending time with family and friends, remembering the birth of Christ, reliving old traditions, or giving to those in need. So aside from the Christmas gifts, carols, decorations, shindigs, boozing and the gluttonous indulging of food, let’s not forget the real Christmas message: the birth of Jesus Christ.

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