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‘Tis the Season To Buy Stuff You Don’t Need AKA Christmas

christmas consumerism
It feels as if Christmas is about a day away. It’s not of course, but the amount of Christmas consumerism that hits me each and every time I leave my house lately is giving me serious anxiety. I’m panicking about the presents I have yet to buy. I will end up spending a small fortune on plastic rubbish because I will leave it too late and panic buy. I’m anxious about the cards I have to send. I’m slightly dreading the volume of celebrations that will happen between now and then and what that will mean to my liver, waist line and sanity.

The children are excited. We got our tree today. It’s majestic, befitting of Downton Abbey rather than our house, but who cares. It’s Christmas! We don’t need a massive tree, but we’ll sure as hell have one. We went to the garden centre today to get a housewarming gift for friends and I was hit square between the eyes with acres of beautiful Christmas decorations, not a bauble in sight, but hand made intricately designed items so exquisite they’d never last a second on our tree. And for about £15 per decoration they will never see our tree. I showed genuine restraint, it was hard. But our tree is covered with an eclectic collection of decorations curated from the last 20 years of my life, each one tells a story, some less memorable than others granted, but stories nevertheless.

When did Christmas get so bloody anxiety inducing? I’m worried that Father Christmas will somehow fail to get the right presents, or he’ll make a mistake and wrap them in paper the same as I’ll use, or he’ll somehow have the EXACT same handwriting as me, or he’ll leave the price on, or leave the girls’ presents lying around somewhere in our house where they’ll find them. What if Father Christmas fails and the girls stop believing?! It would all be MY FAULT. Oh the pressure is almost too much to bear. How do mothers deal with it?

I am struck with the sheer amount of cash we will all spend this year on Christmas. While him indoors is busy spending his Wednesday afternoons off work packing up shoe boxes for children less fortunate than ours, a far more noble occupation than racking up the credit card bill, I’m worrying about not getting the right things or not getting enough things for all the people who I need to buy for. It’s utterly ridiculous. Somewhere along the line this whole thing has got out of hand. It’s become a consumerist festival, and my God I know I sound like some aged hippy, but really it has don’t you think? The point is no one I know and love would be upset or offended if I gave them something I made, and it would be good for the children to make stuff, but then there’s the lack of time and the anxiety about my actual making skills, which are fairly thin to be honest.

For a few years after my mother died, I loathed Christmas. I dreaded it. I never really knew what I would be doing for Christmas day, there was never a default place to spend it, so I drifted between my sisters, my dad, my stepdad, my aunt. I managed to get away for a few years, once for a highly memorable trip to Goa with Jonathan. But now, with my girls, I love it. I really do. It’s a very special time.

I just wish I wasn’t so damn skint in January, and I hope and pray that next year I heed this blog post and don’t buy my kids a load of junk they think they want but don’t, and think they’ll play with but won’t. We’ll go all Victorian and give them one wooden toy to last the year and they’ll be grateful.

Yeah, of course we will…

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