It’s right there on calendars across the world. Most households celebrate it, those who do not tolerate it. But one thing is for sure. Christmas is a firm fixture in the lives of many, regardless of where you live. Every year loved ones gather for a certain amount of time, perhaps exchanging cards and gifts with one another and spending quality time together. Sounds great so far right?…  Even for those of us who start out with the intention of having a Christmas that most advertising companies would foam at the mouth over, it does not always happen.

One thing though that always annoys me is those who go “Oh my, is it really Christmas so soon?” The date never changes, and retailers across the land put up garishly large and bright Christmas ornaments and products and blast Christmas tunes from late November onwards, how can people NOT miss it? This then leads to people fighting and then paying through the nose for products that they wouldn’t necessarily consider getting as a result of their bad organization. But on a side note though, do employers have a part to play in consumers losing out?

Whilst yes, some employers do give their employees time to shop before Christmas, what about those who may not have such a luxury, especially in industries that are famously “24/7” such as the care industry. A friend of mine who loves her care job unfortunately has not got a single day off work up till the 23rd of December, and has a long commute between shifts, she asked her employer to give her time off before (having not had a single day off in six months) they told her no. I know of a number of people in the same predicament. Yet the people making these decisions will quite happily make time off for their friends or for the “office Christmas party”..  Getting the priorities right there.

Though  having said on the topic of retailers, are they really helping spread the true meaning of Christmas? With prices of items at a record high and people in employment at an all time low; are they really doing all they can to help struggling families? Unfortunately that is a firm no. Of course retailers need to sell their products but is it fair to cause such a demand that it causes consumers desperate to buy them for their loved one that they are willing to seek out a cheaper (and unwittingly dangerous) imitation product elsewhere. But then again, is that really a good idea… of course parents love to get what ever they can for their children, but in the selfish culture we live in, is it really a good idea to get everything the little darlings demand (i.e. a new iPhone for little six year old Jane as she wants to keep up with her peers… *true story, irony being when I was that age all I got excited by was a new Barbie or a new coloring book) yet schools and the media always allow this competitive culture to thrive. So many people, young and old seem to forget the true value of things and the gift of giving that they do not appreciate what they have, so much so you now have Trick or Treaters on Halloween moaning long and loud about the “wrong brand sweets”. Needless to say, they did not get the response they were hoping for.

Honestly though, Christmas regardless of your upbringing or religion or background shouldn’t be such a time of stress or competition, there is enough bad in the world without constant worrying that so and so’s gift isn’t expensive enough or have I really lost enough pounds to fit into that dress for the Christmas party? Or will I need to buy yet another Christmas Jumper.  It should be a pressure free time where people can simply enjoy being with one another, remembering those who are no longer there and celebrating the lives they had and the lives we do have. I for one cherish the little things in life, to be remembered for the person I am. Regardless of what Christmas means to you, I think as people we should never lose sight of what is important in life. And that is being with those we love.