Monthly Musing – December 2021 – The Christmas Itch
“Are you suffering from the Christmas Itch?”
It’s an expression that I saw on social media the other day and on investigating, I discovered that I do! It’s that moment when you think you’ve finished buying everything you need … but then you spot one more thing. And another. And another. Especially when things are reduced at the last minute – all kinds of little treats that you know your family will love but are completely unnecessary as you’ve already bought the presents you know they want.
The answer, my friends, is to stay strong and resist! Ha! So much easier said than done and although on the whole I’ve managed pretty well, a certain person might have faltered over the Christmas-tree-shaped shortbread (actually, any shape of shortbread) in a festive tin. It turns out that I am as much a sucker for a festive tin as I am for the biscuit-y contents! (And yes, that would be a present for me! 🙂 )
We’re bombarded from all sides these days, aren’t we? Adverts on TV, radio and social media plus so many emails counting down the days and the deals, and it’s so much easier to have what we want NOW so waiting until Christmas isn’t the necessity that it used to be years ago – making it even harder to find gifts for the people who really do have everything. It’s no wonder that our eyes wander to those buy-me-now offers at checkouts or online. I am finding myself missing the days when my girls’ Christmas lists consisted of most of the contents of the Argos catalogue (they have always lived in hope!) because at least everything was contained in one place!
It has been easier to resist this year, though, knowing that so many other people are not going to have the happiest of Christmases again. It feels wrong to buy nonsense gifts that we absolutely don’t need when our local food bank gave parcels to over 130 families in 3 days recently (I know this because I went with not so small daughter’s Guides unit to hand over their collected donations) and I know that it will be similar in other places. My Christmas Itch has been replaced by Christmas Thankfulness that I am even in a position to think about spending money on something that we don’t actually need.
It puts us in a place where we want to do everything and be everything – generous with our friends and family, supportive to businesses who have struggled over the last two years and to offer a helping hand to those who are relying on food banks and other agencies to get by. Fortunately, it is possible to do all of those things, and I know that many people have been far more mindful of where they bought their gifts and how they spent their money this year and perhaps, in the most unexpected sort of way, it has brought the true meaning of Christmas to the forefront of our minds in a way that it wasn’t always in years gone by.
We may not be “back to normal” again this Christmas, but our desire to help others is not contained by any virus and if anything, I think that our collective sense of goodwill has grown stronger over the past two years. This makes me feel Christmassy far more than any last-minute gift prompted by the Christmas Itch could do … even a tree-shaped shortbread biscuit!