A meaning of Christmas

Posted on: 03/12/2008

Written by Emma Ede

A dog is for life, not just for Christmas – but that’s ok, because I’d rather have a pair of Jimmy Choo’s anyway. 
Or why money means nothing until you’ve spent it. 
So, we’ve just reached the month of December, and that means that Christmas is at the back of everyone’s mind. Most of the adverts started to be aired in mid-November, and the music channel Christmas song special programmes as well, technically, but I don’t think you can say that Christmas is close until you start your advent calendar. Or you would do, if you were under 12 (actually, I have one this year, but that’s only because I like chocolate in the mornings). As it’s December, though, some of us (especially the girls, if you believe the stereotyping) have begun to think about Christmas shopping.  

Now, I’m not going to give you a guide to the best bargains, the best present ideas, or the best anything else. I’m not qualified to tell you that, for one thing, as I don’t know, and also because I don’t know your friends, so I won’t know what you’re looking for. There should be articles like that elsewhere in this magazine, so feel free to have a read.  

No, what this article is about is this – don’t be stingy this Christmas. I feel this needs to be said, what with the credit crunch, and my presumption that most people reading this are students. Students aren’t renowned for flashing the cash. I’m not suggesting taking out huge loans, or overspending, because that is especially stupid now and not even advisable when we’re in an economic boom. What I’m saying is really quite clichéd, but always worth reiterating – Christmas is a time for giving.  

The temptation is to buy little presents, or not to buy anything at all. But, whilst the hassle of thinking of, and buying, presents is time consuming, and the lack of funds for yourself an irritant, there is nothing quite like buying something for a friend that you know they will love. Even if you’re doing a secret Santa, don’t be the one who tries to lower the maximum spending. In fact, try to spend up to the maximum and not the minimum, because you’re only buying one gift, and that gift can make someone happy, even if only for a bit.  

Equally, we all know that all the festivities surrounding Christmas costs money. College parties, work parties, friend’s parties. For girls, dresses for all of them. For boys – well, certainly not dresses. Then there’s tickets, drinks, and everything else. It adds up, doesn’t it? But surely going out and enjoying yourself doing something you only do once a year is better than sitting at home, bored but with money to do “other things”. Equally, don’t go out and then whine about how much things are costing – that’s not fun for anyone. Just get into the spirit of things and get on with it – December is for fun and laughter, January is for worrying about your funds, or lack thereof.  

Last year, I wrote a long moan about why Christmas has become commercialised. This year, I’ve realised that that’s the point of Christmas now – and that Christmas is supposed to be open to everyone – so if it’s the presents that people enjoy, why not? Also, I don’t believe that not spending will help with the economic plunge. By all means, don’t overspend, but in a country with industry so dependent on the public service sector and on sales of goods, both primary and secondary, not spending is only going to make things worse. Think about it – most students have jobs in shops or restaurants – Tesco, McDonalds, Argos, etc. If no one goes there anymore, they’re going to lay off staff. This is how our capitalist economy works, so whilst spending wisely is important, so is actually going out and doing the spending. Though you might not think it affects you that much, think about the impact on your student loans, if you’re going to university, or your job prospects if not.  

The high street is already beginning to suffer because of better deals on the internet – and in no way am I saying that we should pay overpriced sums for goods we can get cheaper elsewhere. That’s up to business to study their profit margins. But Christmas is a time for goodwill to all men (and women, children and animals), and a chance to show people that you hang around with them for more than what you can get out of them – that you actually like them enough to give them things!  So show people that; give them something that they’ll actually like. The old cliché is that it’s the thought that counts, and things can only be cliché if they happen a lot. Surely that makes them right?  

So this Christmas, I was going to get something useful, that I actually needed and that I could take to university so that I wouldn’t have to spend the money there. Then I decided to live a little – so Dad doesn’t know this yet, but he’s getting me an outlet, sale price pair of Jimmy Choo’s for Christmas – yes, not as expensive as they could be, but still far less useful than the things I really need. And, far more fun!  

Do you agree with Emma? What is your attitude towards Christmas and gifts? Add your comments below.


3 Responses to "A meaning of Christmas"

I’m really gutted this christmas because I am so horrifically poor I can’t afford to go overboard, or buy anyone anything till the 18th (pay day). Last year I went all out because it was the first year I had a job (so money) and made my mum a mini stocking! So I totally agree with you, chrsitmas is for showing people you’re gratitude towards them, I’m just gutted I can’t give as much this year 😦
Happy christmas though! xxx

I would respectfully like to point out what I believe are some glaring errors in this article.
The title of your argument is “A Meaning of Christmas”. Christmas has never meant what you go on to describe, and hopefully it never will. To me this is a sad reflection of what we value in our lives.
“But surely going out and enjoying yourself doing something you only do once a year is better than sitting at home, bored but with money to do “other things”.” You don’t even sound convinced of yourself, because this foolishly implies that you can’t not be bored without going out. Why does everything have to cost money in this article? Having a night in with mates, laughing and talking, a memory that you will cherish and reminisce about next Christmas- this is free.
You are right- Christmas is a time for giving, Christmas is a time for goodwill to all men (and women, children and animals).
This is exactly the point. You automatically interpret this to translate to material things, as if a inanimate object is the only thing one can give this Christmas, and its worth directly correlates to how much one values their relationship with someone. This isn’t true for many reasons- it is the thought that counts, not the price (you did say that, even though it contradicts your argument). And some people just plain can’t afford the price set for Secret Santa, credit crunch or not. I think this is important to appreciate, your argument seems to have no recognition of people who can’t simply afford it and the pressure that you put unconsciously put on them is unfair.
Instead of filling our boots with things we neither need, nor will make us truly happy, we should maybe give to those who have less, who desperately need more. This would be a far more fulfilling and significant way of spending our money next Christmas.
“and that gift can make someone happy, even if only for a bit.” You really hit the nail on the head here. Gifts are breakable, gifts are often superfluous. And gifts only make you happy for a bit- so what’s the point of spending inordinate amounts of money on them? What’s really important that we should give next Christmas is our kindness,our company and friendship and our love. That is what people remember and reminisce about, not the pair of Jimmy Choos that are worn out and in the bin 2 years later.

Cheer up Jenny, she wasnt saying to become slaves to capitalisam dear, she just said lets not be stingy… which is fair enough.

And good luck with the whole not buying things,

btw what does “because this foolishly implies that you can’t not be bored without going out” mean? isnt that a triple negative?

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