There are so many wonderful things about Christmas — the food, the music, the movies, the inordinate surplus of wine and gin and Baileys… and no matter how selfless we all claim to be, everyone loves presents! The whole culture of gift-giving is completely seeped into the festive season; from family to friends to the dreaded workplace Secret Santa, it’s no wonder our bank balances end up looking rather skinnier than our post-roast selves this time of year.
The excitement of waking up on the morning of the 25th to a pile of glossily-wrapped apparitions of the Argos catalogue was the main draw as a kid (admittedly getting gifts is still pretty rad) but I think now I’m getting a bit older and quite possibly wiser, I can definitely appreciate how lovely giving can be. Knowing that I’ve found the perfect present for the perfect person and picturing their face when they open it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
That being said, I’ll hold my hands up to getting carried away with the present purchasing, because sometimes, the perfect gift isn’t quite perfect without four or five added tat-tastic extras. You know, mini shower gels, scented candle votives, hanging decorative do-dads, the kind of thing you find in the stocking-fillers aisle of B&M. It’s the gift-wrapped equivalent of the tacky toy you find in Christmas crackers.
I know I’m not the only one. If the height of the average Tesco trolley in the four weeks running up to Christmas Day is anything to judge by, the amount of unnecessary spending at this time of year is totally appalling.
At the risk of paraphrasing my homie C. Dizzle’s A Christmas Carol, the central theme of yuletide should not be greed and gluttony. When I think about the good that so much wasted money could do, it makes me feel a little shameful. It’s near impossible to walk the streets of a city centre without spying evidence of someone who lives on them; countless people nationwide won’t have the warm, Christmassy creature comforts this year that many of us will take for granted. And we’ve all been watching Blue Planet, right? Where do we think all that extra tat packaging really ends up?
Recently I had a good clear out of my wardrobe and donated two black bin bags of clothes, shoes and bags to my local charity shop; I also picked up a tenner’s worth of pet food for my nearest animal shelter when I spotted the donation box at the supermarket. I’ve also booked a table for dinner with my girls instead of us buying gifts for each other as usual. I’m not intending this post to be a soapbox of sorts, but every single one of us is capable of doing something good, and Christmastime is a perfect opportunity.
So before you get to the checkout (real life, virtual or otherwise), inspect your basket. Double-check yourself picking that gag gift off the shelf. If you have to ask yourself Do I really need to buy this?, the answer is probably… no.