A Festive Frenzy: A Christmas Rant – Christmas 2023

The Christmas Rant – Christmas 2023

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Childhood Christmas – with Christmas spirit

I always remember the excitement of the tree coming out of the attic and the smell that filled the room. Once the tree was up, we would take a step back and admire it in the big window at the front of the house!

Gifts would start appearing under the tree, and it took everything in my might not to peek (or at least when my Mum and Dad were in the room!) As soon as they were gone, I would get to the back of the tree and have a feel of the gifts and see if I could spot my name on the tags!

The advent would appear, gracing me with that beautiful chocolate treat first thing in the morning. I was never allowed chocolate in the morning, but it’s December so anything went. A quick visit to Santa in the shopping centre and a school panto. Family would start turning up for the holidays – Christmas prep – DONE! (or in the eyes of the 8-year-old me!)

Those memories are Christmas for me. Simple. Family. Fun. But despite my love for Christmas growing up… for some reason this year did not feel the same. The same can be said for a variety of people, I have herd many people have a Christmas rant. Why doesn’t it feel the same? where is the Christmas Spirit.

For me – is it because I’m now knocking on the door of 42 years of age? No, it cannot be that I am a child at heart. I LOVE Christmas and even if I am married to the Grinch and the kids managed to soften his heart over the years, it cannot be that! After much thought, there is one word to describe the feeling, “consumerism”.

The countdown begins: October 2023

Are you ready for my Christmas rant? The countdown to Christmas begins earlier each year. The collision of holiday displays – Christmas ornament next to Halloween décor – is a testament to this shift.

We have lost our way and we have lost the true Christmas spirit. We have turned a religious festival into a consumerism nightmare. Kids do not carry a Bible about, they carry their version of the Bible, “The Smyths Catalogue!” They spend hours, looking through all the latest toys, with their pen ready to circle an item from each page… they cherish it right up to when they have sent Santa their “list of demands” as the Grinch would say!

Not only this,

Friends and family are making themselves skint, to gift their loved ones, only to feel the emptiness in their pockets through January. Most people walk around in a blind panic, looking for anything to gift that remotely reminds them of that person. The trouble is we are in an age where most people buy what they want all year long. What can we buy the person who has everything? “we will just get them one of these..”

The Pressure is real!

In all this chaos the Christmas spirit has been lost on a lot of people. The stress has taken over, we must have the perfect Christmas dinner, with a Christmas tablecloth with matching plates and cups and wine glasses, oh and the biggest turkey we can fit in our oven! Do not forget the Christmas tree-folded napkins! who has the best wreath on the door, matching Christmas baubles or the most presents under the tree on Christmas morning,

green fancy napkin on Christmas plate
green fancy napkin on Christmas plate

What happened to having ornaments passed down from generations, and throwing it all together in a vast array of colours and sparkles, like Christmas had thrown up on the ceiling? We did not care about it all matching back then! and I for one think it looked great.

I am sure you agree… social media has a large part to blame for the “perfect Christmas” pressure which in turn makes us spend more on keeping up with the socials!

Do not forget the days out!

Remember when we could go to the shopping centre to see Santa? Now we must book a whole day out in a magical land with reindeer and elves, and then there’s breakfast with Santa and there is one that visits the school, one that comes down the street on a tractor… Last year it was a £100 day out 3 days before Christmas, I know we don’t have to spend this money but the dreaded mum guilt kicks in when you see everybody out on their little days out with the kids plastered all over Facebook and Instagram. We paid £17.50 to see a Santa who had to hold his beard on the whole time in case it fell off! where is the magic? I am sure the magic of wondering what Santa was like – is what kept the magic alive.

So, what did we spend?

Brits were expected to spend an average of £602 each on Christmas gifts in 2023, an increase of 40% from an average spend of £429 in 2022*. And we spent a staggering 13.7 billion on food in the run-up to Christmas** (that is 7% more than last year!). After the year we have had with all the bills going up, this surprised me! Some people cannot afford to heat their homes, and I find it so sad that we still compare ourselves to everybody else. I do wonder how much food waste there was, or how many toys have not been played with, or haw many people will go without during January.

So, what can we do?

I have been seeing a whisper on the internet that people have had enough. People in the comment sections have a rant about the lack of feeling festive due to the pressure of buying and doing! We want our old traditions back, less gifting, less stress, easy living and going back to basics! We could start some new traditions, and pass them down to our children, like sharing the gift of time or activities, homemade gifts, or simply just getting together and enjoying each other’s company. I think this year I will turn my social media off and try to put less pressure on myself. In a few years we will remember the good times, not the matching napkins or perfect Christmas crackers!

In Conclusion

Let’s remember the true values of the Christmas spirit:

Family, friends, a time for being generous to others, giving back to the community and if you are religious supporting your local church.

one more thought…

Maybe the 80s and Grinch were right after all…

“Maybe Christmas (he thought) does not come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more”. — The Grinch 

So think to yourself the next Christmas, what can you do to break the cycle of spending! Any ideas please comment below!

*According to Finder.com’s statistics

** https://www.yourmoney.com/economy/brits-spend-record-13-7bn-on-christmas-food-shopping/