Yes December is here – which means every shop has long been decked out with their Christmas paraphernalia and is repeatedly playing the two Christmas CDs it possesses. And almost everything that the shop is selling has artificial snow on it.
You can probably tell already that I’m not the world’s greatest fan of shopping (unless it’s for something technological, when I could browse for hours), and so Christmas shopping isn’t going to be my favourite pastime. About the only time I really enjoyed Christmas shopping was many years ago when we used to be given half a day off by school to do ours! (Or did I dream this – I can’t imagine schools giving half days off for Christmas shopping now! Anyone else have the same experience?) Fortunately, I’m busy enough with work that I have plenty of excuse to avoid all trips to the shops for at least the next week and a half.
However, Christmas shopping presents me with a dilemma. On one hand, I’m all in favour of generousity. Giving someone a gift for Christmas, particularly a well thought out one, is one of the easier ways in British culture to show your appreciation and love for them. It’s nice to have the opportunity to be generous and give.
But on the other hand, there are not that many things that I really need, and so many of the presents given to us can in reality be just a waste of someone’s money, and a waste of this world’s resources. And when we get lots of them they just clutter up our lives, and cause us a headache in trying to find somewhere to put them. One option is to give money, which you can put together to buy something useful that you really want – but it’s a bit boring.
So what’s the solution? Well one option is to buy a goat! (See www.farmfriends.org.uk or http://shop.christianaid.org.uk/icat/farming for example, if this seems crazy to you) – you help someone who really needs a present, don’t clutter up your house, and you can also treasure a photo / model of your goat for the rest of your life!
Any other thoughts?