As the years go by the materialism surrounding Christmas tends to fade. I know, for me, the older I’ve got the less I’ve cared about what I’m opening as I wake up to the festive feel in the air. There’s no denying it’s nice to tear open a perfectly wrapped present to find an item on your desired wishlist but when you look around the room and observe the faces surrounding you, only then can you conceive a mental image of what really is important.

 It sounds cliche but it’s not what’s under your tree, it’s who’s around it. Christmas has become more than just photographable tinsel and trimmings, expensive gifts and an empty bank account. In fact, that’s just a secondary component. What matters is family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, others who are significant in your life; relatives or non blood related, and the rest of society who aren’t always as well off.

 It’s about forgetting about the adversity for a second and having fun until the pain diminishes – with a sausage roll in one hand, and a glass of bubbly in the other. It’s about peace and goodwill, appreciating what you have, giving back to those you love, and those in need. It’s about nostalgia, the happiness memories bring. It’s about community; bringing people together. And of course it’s about the real reason we celebrate – the joy around the world when Jesus Christ was born.

 For some, however, it’s not a joyous occasion. Understandably it can be tough. Not just because of financial issues, but because of lost loved ones who aren’t present on earth to sit around the table, pull crackers, and wear silly hats with you. It also could be because you don’t have anyone at all to do just that with. Christmas time could bring back ghosts of the past – and not just the scrooge kind. Or it could be a day you’d rather avoid for several reasons.

 There’s so much added pressure at Christmas. The season of great indulgences causes pressure to buy the most lavish gifts and in turn remoulds into the season of sorrow. I remember when watching The Martin Lewis Money Showjust a few weeks back, he spoke to so many individuals who said they feel obligated to buy unwanted and unnecessary presents that are going to go to waste just because there’s this social demand that almost forces people to do as others are doing and it’s so easy to fall into the trap, and that’s something that’s stuck with me ever since.

 I agree that it’s a mentality that needs to be ceased. Especially when the inauguration can bring on so much hard-pressed stress that you start forgetting to take care of yourselves and stop focussing on the value of what Christmas actually represents. The extra impact on both physical and mental health isn’t worth it, especially when there’s so much more you can immerse your efforts in.

 When done right, gifts can and do create such warmth and merriment but that doesn’t mean you have to splurge until you drop. It’s not a retail festival; it’s a time to perpetrate goodness, show someone how much they mean through personal gestures, be selfless and kind.

 

So, instead of bleeding yourself dry, why don’t you smile at random passers by and wish them a happy festive season? Write and send a heartfelt card as a pleasant surprise. Hug harder. Laugh louder. Reach out to the vulnerable. Help and connect with those who may be in the same boat. Donate to charity. Provide what you can from the nobility of your spirit and soul, whilst also looking after yourself.

 

The greatest gift you can give is yourself; your good heart, your compassion, and your efficacious offerings. Don’t let commercialisation and capitalism get in the way of that! That’s my final word on my final article for a while, now, and I wanted to leave you all with a message to really think about. You are enough.

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