Day 25: A Letter To Christmas Shoppers

Attention Shoppers!

Since this is my 25th letter, and it’s the 1st of December I felt there was a nice sense of symmetry in addressing this letter to you. As you are no doubt aware there are only 23 full days of shopping remaining until all bets are off and the focus shifts from purchasing to cooking. The good news of course, is that shortly after the ‘cooking’ comes the ‘eating’ followed inevitably by the ‘sleeping’ for anyone over the age of 40 and all parents who were awake till all hours ‘preparing’ only to woken up pre-dawn by over zealous children for whom sleep was no longer an option.

So

Before you can get to all of thatyou have to make it through the next 23 days. I would like to share some friendly advice in the hopes that it will make these final frenetic days easier on us all.

  1. Carparks are not battlefields.
    Every year I am astounded by the collapse of civilsation that occurs in shopping centre parking lots. Generally speaking,  when we choose to go shopping in the month of December, it should come as no surprise that at least 80% of the population will have had the same idea. Why then, is it such an outrage to people that they will have to spend longer than their accustomed 5 minutes looking for a carpark? This is when you begin to see ‘competitive parkers’ at their worst, most psychotic, finest – they feel that speed and cutting corners will win them the prize. Then there are the ‘creative parkers’, they meander through the stipulated aisles for a time, then simply create a spot for their vehicle, regardless of nature, road markings or intended use. The list could go on forever, I could discuss the ‘irate parker’, the ‘greedy parker’ or the ‘hot-and-bothered parker’ (Christmas Down Under is in summer remember – much of our shopping is done in 40°C (104°F) weather!). Let me just ask that you take a moment before you even leave home to accept that parking is going to be a challenge, instead of succumbing to one of the above, choose to take deep breaths and relax until you find a space.
  2. $$$ Does not = ♥!!!
    Unfortunately we live in a world that is dominated by a commercially driven media. Said media has spent the last 30 years becoming masters at turning ‘wants’ into ‘needs’. Daily, we are bombarded by messages that manipulate and distort the way we see the world, ourselves and each other. At no other time is this more prevalent than during the holidays – “If you really, genuinely, deeply love her, then you must to buy her these amazing diamond earrings!”.
    “Parents, the only way that your kids will ever know how much they mean to you, is if you purchase them another, newer, more realistic (and way more expensive) video game console!”.
    This is so far from reality that it borders on the insane. For most of us, money is tight at the moment, yet millions of families will go further into debt this festive season in the vain attempt to prove that their love measures up to a bar that is designed to always be out of reach. Spend some time (not money – did you see what I did there? :)) and think about what really matters to your true love, is it time, adventure, or romance? Get creative and think outside of the retail grease trap. One  simple gift, filled with thought and love is worth so much more than a generic, expensive and mass produced ‘something’, which – more likely than not also contributes to the subjugation of workers in the third world! Don’t you agree? Spend less, but give more of yourself. 
  3. Christmas is NOT about gifts – It is about THE Gift.
    Don’t worry I’m not going to get preachy, but I feel we need a gentle reminder of what this holiday is all about. I mentioned earlier, the consumer culture we live in dominates the way we celebrate Christmas, the sad thing is it’s only getting worse. It’s sad because the more it becomes about spending and purchasing and gifts and stuff, the emptier we feel at the end. Every year people become more and more disillusioned with the entire celebration. Why? Because it has become a franchise. It has moved so far away from it’s actual meaning that it has lost all meaning.
    Christmas is the celebration of God’s gift to the world – Jesus, not Justin Bieber. People want to celebrate His birthday, yet can get downright defensive and insistent that Jesus has nothing to do with it! Sorry folks, He is Christmas. You can ignore what I’m saying, that’s completely up to you, but them’s the facts and ignoring them wont change them.

So, as you embark upon what is in reality a wonderful and joyous, sometimes insanely busy time of the year, I hope that you take a moment to really examine the things you’re doing. Be it battling in a parking lot, parting with your hard earned (or borrowed) cash or figuring out what it is you believe. I want to encourage you to make room for Jesus in your celebrations, because it is after all His birthday you are celebrating.

I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas.

Love Always

Amelia xo

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