It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And Christmas these days is the season for coveting, envy and desire. We’re inundated with images of the “perfect” holiday season. The twinkling outdoor lights, and the perfectly decorated 10 foot tree. The festive cushions, and the perfectly displayed tablescape. It’s easy to fall for the magic of the holiday season, to step into the fantasy of being able to buy the perfect Christmas.
Whereas once it was only through glossy pages of catalogues and poignant TV adverts, now we have open access to see inside other peoples homes via the realms of social media. And that creates envy like nothing else; the reason why influencers are paid such lucrative amounts to feature brands.
Bloggers and Youtubers fill their social media with luxury items; selling their lifestyle to their audience so easily, with their beaming smiles, sparkling eyes and staged homes. Their carefully crafted persuasion can leave you believing that if you buy whatever they’re promoting, then your life will be just as fantastic as theirs.
It begins with the approach of Black Friday and stretches into the New Year; social media flooded with wish list posts, deal roundups and gift guides. My inbox filled with hundreds of tempting offers and huge discounts, my affiliate networks urging me to capitalize on this festive frenzy.
I had a sense of panic overcome me. I almost succumbed into buying; and into trying to sell. The temptation was all around me. Was I being foolish ignoring these sales with 50% off? But I reminded myself that these were items that I didn’t need or want in the first place. I don’t want to be lured into buying something for the sake of a heavily discounted price. And I don’t want to encourage others to do so, either.
We’re bombarded with images of the perfect Christmas, and see hundreds of beautiful gift ideas, and we become convinced that if we buy what we’re seeing, our lives will be that little bit more enjoyable. But the thing is, you don’t need any of this to have a memorable Christmas.
You don’t need a new car in the driveway, or a designer handbag. You don’t need expensive perfume, the latest makeup collection, or a perfectly decorated tree.
The claws of consumerism drive us into always wanting more. The more you earn, the more you spend. A never ending cycle of dissatisfaction. But you don’t need any of those things for a perfect holiday season. You don’t need any of these things to be happy.
Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
The festive period is about family, thankfulness, and making memories. A time to reflect on the year gone by, and plan for the year ahead. It’s about relishing the small moments and appreciating the things that matter most in life.
We didn’t have much money when I was a child. But I have such fond memories of the palpable excitement as the promise of Christmas beckoned. The scent of pine needles, the sound of Boney M’s ‘Little Drummer Boy’ playing in the background as I helped my mother with the annual tradition of making her famous brandy tarts. The crackle of the fire, and the joy of watching the Coca Cola advert and singing ‘holidays are coming,’ for the rest of December. The family games of Scrabble. These are what gave me magical Christmas memories. Not the gifts.
So this season, let’s not let the persuasive promises and carefully constructed photos keep us from savouring this time. Let’s slow down, and enjoy the simple moments. Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation. Go outside and turn your attention to the many wonderments around you.
Let’s count our blessings, and not the number of items on our Christmas wish list.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
– Melody Beattie