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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Day 19: A Letter To Santa

Dear Santa,

Define Good…?

Do you mean ‘good’ like Mother Theresa good? Because I don’t know anyone with leprosy, and if I’m being really honest changing a nappy makes me nauseated , I just don’t know how I’d go with bits of people falling off.

Does that mean that I’m not good?

Or do you mean ‘good’ like Steve Jobs was good? Because while I really really love gizmos and gadgets and all things techno, I don’t have the slightest idea how they work and I don’t know my 1’s from my 0’s when it comes to binary! How am I supposed to measure up with a guy that has changed the face of technology for longer than I have been alive?

I really think you could have been a little clearer on this stipulation you’ve put out there for us! Good, what is good? How good? How often? Are we meant to be good all the time? If that’s what you had in mind, then only Jesus should expect a visit from you at Christmas. That’s kind of ironic since Christmas is also his birthday, and that would mean he’s going to get presents anyway – not that he doesn’t deserve them, he does because he’s good. That’s my point! Do you see my dilemma? I really love gifts at Christmas time but with all this confusion over your qualifications I’m more than a little concerned that I’ll be disappointed on Christmas morning.

Do you have a scale of ‘good-ness’? Are certain behaviours rewarded more than others? Are those times that I am good, cancelled out by those times that I’m not? Do my acts of kindness get erased by my moments of bitterness or selfishness? When I speak with anger and my words cause hurt, does that nullify the times that I seek to comfort or encourage? It’s all very confusing, and I’m a grown up, how are kids meant to understand what you want from them?

So I’m just going to go out on a limb here and come clean. I’m not good. Not really. I know what I think when I’m hurting or angry, I know how I’ve wished for others to be bought low just so I didn’t feel so bad. I have have lied, I have cheated (at pictionary) and I have stolen. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pretty sure none of those things qualify me as being ‘good’. It’s much easier to sigh and accept the fact that I don’t measure up than it is to constantly try and convince you and myself that I am better than I probably am.

There it is, the facts. I am a human being. I make mistakes, I hurt people, I make bad decisions, I get grumpy for no reason and sometimes I get really bad road rage. So, if that means that I miss out on a visit from you this year or (baring a lobotomy or sudden divinity) any year, then I guess I will just have to accept it.

However.

Just in case you decide to be a wonderful and upstanding example of ‘good’, please find attached a list of things I would like for Christmas this year.

Anything from Pandora
Lots of stationery
Pretty red shoes
An air-conditioner
Anything sparkly and shiny
*You have always had wonderful taste in the past, so if you think you know better feel free to improvise 🙂

Sincerely (trying to be good)

Amelia xo