Christmas is upon us yet again. The TV is overrun with Christmas ads, the highstreets are awash with fairy lights, and Bublé is back on the radio. If you head to the local shopping centre, you’ll be sure to find swathes of festive shoppers, buying up this year’s ‘must have’ toys and tech.
But is it all getting too much? For some families, the answer is yes. The cost of your average Christmas is now an estimated £800 according to the charity Money Advice Trust, which is becoming too much for the poorest in our society. Expectations for what a perfect family Christmas should be, however, are getting more outlandish every year.
There are a number of businesses that offer financial budgeting services for families who wish to spread the cost of Christmas over the year. Park is the biggest of these companies.
They offer customers vouchers for high-street shops that can be paid for over a year. The cost of these plans range from £25 to £60 per month, a substantial expenditure for a lot of families. They claim that when Christmas comes you can ‘indulge yourself in a massive guilt free shopping spree’.
It feels wrong that families are being forced to turn to financial services to fund their Christmas. It creates undue stress at a time when people should be free from worries and pressures.
When we think back to what Christmas used to be all about, our modern Christmas seems shallow and tacky in comparison.Companies have managed to commercialise the pleasure of having the family round and enjoying the festive cheer, and it’s sucked a lot of the joy out of the festive season. Adverts are full of shots of presents under the tree, extravagant Christmas dinners and flowing drinks. This creates an image of Christmas that a lot of people struggle to live up to. You just have to look at one of the most controversial Christmas items for sale this year. Zoella,aprominentBritishYouTube star popular among young girls, has released an advent calendar for an eye watering price of £50. She’s not alone either in releasing luxury advent calendars – gone are the days of simple chocolate calendars, replaced by candles, jewellery, and alcohol.
The buzz around the Christmas adverts is symptomatic of how caught up we seem to be in a consumerist culture.
Generally, the most anticipated one is from John Lewis, who create short stories with the intention of gaining access to their wallets through their hearts. Other companies have followed suit, and this year Waitrose was ranked Best Christmas Ad by Metro.
It’s a great shame that we have lost the true sight of the festive period. The usual behaviour of companies can be seen again as they monopolise on the festive spirit. Let’s hope we don’t lose sight of what Christmas is all about; family, love, and a Boxing Day hangover.