Have you bought all of your presents yet? Do you think you have bought what people want?
I sometimes wonder if I’m turning into my parents more and more each day. I remember as a child not being allowed to watch certain channels, and being told that my brother and I were very naughty after viewing particular programmes.
History seems to be repeating itself as similar rules are now having to be applied to the next generation. Commercial children’s TV is off the agenda. My children just seem to want, want, want everything they saw advertised. It got so bad that we’ve even worked out how to delete channels from our digibox.
Again, this is where I find myself turning into my parents. We used to talk about how buying presents for the sake of it didn’t necessarily make for a happier Christmas. It can be hard not to be sucked into commercialism – parents feel that if they don’t make Christmas “perfect” for their children, they have let them down somehow.
And how many times have we made sure our little darlings get the exact present they want, only to find that they don’t really play with it at all? A perfect present that looks so alluring on the television doesn’t make always live up to expectations. I remember my children as toddlers, preferring the wrapping paper and the empty boxes to the contents that had been so lovingly chosen.
A message that I hope gets through to my children is that the gift of giving is as important and pleasurable than the gift of receiving, if we are in the right state of mind. And this takes me back to the title of the blog, which comes from an ancient episode of Father Ted, if you were wondering. Good old Father Dougal.
That Christmas thing: whose birthday was it again?
The birth of Jesus Christ is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Jesus taught us how to love the Lord our God, and how to love one another. He was the greatest gift of all. I’d like to think that the giving and receiving of presents can be done in the spirit of Jesus’ birth: we can show love to each other by choosing thoughtful gifts,
Something I find hard to cope with is the term “Xmas”. I know it’s just an abbreviation, but if we take Christ out of Christmas, what are we left with? For some people, plenty of debt and a difficult new year, paying off credit cards. Some people have a sense that Christmas was a bit of a let-down because they tried so hard to make it perfect, and yet the sense of spending time with family and friends could make it worthwhile.
So if, like me, you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet (and are not yet panicking…), spare a few thoughts for the baby who came to teach us about love. There are many ways in which we can show love, and not all of them involve buying presents. Merry Christmas, everyone.
How can you show love to those around you over Christmas?
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