It’s ‘Black Friday’, a day where we are bombarded with special offers and discounts – even the websites of some retailers have a queue! It can feel overwhelming and the focus on spending can be difficult for those struggling financially. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with treating family and friends or, indeed, yourself. It can also make Christmas a bit more affordable for some families when it comes to items like children’s toys, which can only be positive thing.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that our consumer culture can cause financial and emotional issues. TV broadcaster and journalist Martin Lewis recently coined the term ‘Pre-Christmas-No-Unnecessary-Presents’, a prenup of a different kind! He believes that our generosity at this time of year is often misplaced and, rather than bringing festive joy, can actually cause stress and misery. We have come to associate generosity with buying stuff and, more often than not, stuff we don’t even want or need. Lewis suggests that we free ourselves and others by simply agreeing not to buy polite gifts (e.g. the slippers, bath sets and buckets of chocolate for extended family), perhaps even giving the money to charity instead.
Shunning material things and embracing the deeper meaning of Christmas is not a revolutionary idea. In fact, most of us would feel relieved to be unburdened. So why do we find it so hard to get off this treadmill of unnecessary gift giving? Perhaps we worry about being perceived as mean-spirited, tight-fisted or a kill joy. Yet choosing not to give unnecessary gifts can be a way of being kind to others and ourselves.
If you are interested in simplifying Christmas a little this year, why not use this short video to start the conversation with family and friends? If November is already a bit too late for that discussion, it might get you thinking about the issue of gift giving in 2019!
Have you ever put a ‘ban’ on Christmas presents or decided to give in a different way? Get in touch to let us know about your experiences!