Marketing people are incredibly good at what they do, which is convincing the public that they need something they never thought they needed. I of course refer to the extremely commercial bonanzas that have been imported into this country from America. The trick or treat culture and the sales culture in the retailers of Black Friday.
This marketing has become so aggressive in the UK that it now extends for a week, and it is up to the buyer to ascertain if in fact they are being conned by the prices on offer.
Just around the corner is Christmas, with all its “must haves”. Like cards, family presents, food, and the stress, anxiety and for some, the debt to clear all next year.
I am neither a Grinch nor a Santa Claus type, but I feel that all these commercial representations of what is the essence & spirit of the culture need to be emphasised, rather than the goods themselves.
I find the American TV Channels on Freeview that have been screening Christmas Films since October on all aspects of the “ miracle” of Christmas – which is usually about commerce and Santa Claus, to be schmaltzy and a bit nauseating. So I give them a body –swerve. Does all this glitter and tinsel TV induce folk to want a “perfect” Christmas?
I have no idea, but I noticed the other day a story about a father of five who wanted to crowd fund himself in order to give his children a good Christmas. He has raised his target of £2000 for his five children.
I do not like to go back decades to when I was a child and living in a struggling household, where presents were not the norm, and anything given, however small, was gratefully received.
I grew up in what could be termed a time when folks were recovering from yet another devastating world war; and beliefs, customs and practices were all over the place. Deeply ingrained ideas of what society, culture and community meant was being challenged publicly, politically and culturally. In households all over the UK, people were quietly changing their view of life.
The crowd–funder in my opinion felt that he had to “give” expensive presents in order for his children to feel they had a “good Christmas”. There seemed to be little about what this revival of life at the darkest point of the year is about; love, memories, and generosity of spirit. It should be a time of reconciliation, forgiveness, welcoming home the absent traveler, sharing food and memories together, and despite hardship, understanding that what can be afforded is given in love.
I believe that, is a relevant and powerful teaching for our children.
This video has gone viral because of its simple message that a mother who was dying, left her son a decades’ worth of tape cassettes with her voice giving messages of love and support through her old Sony Walkman.
Presents bought in a store will wear out, but the message that the spirit of love is enduring and lasting, has caught the public’s imagination in this video.
There is no greater gift than that.