Let’s go back a little – to the Victorian era when romanticism was at its height. When Christmas came to be depicted in a rosy haze of sparkle that over decades has become not just an expectation but a ‘must-have’, persuading people to ‘buy into’ (literally) the lie that spending more and eating more is the key to the romantic fantasy of hearth-and-home.
It’s hard to resist. All addictions are and buying ‘stuff’ at Christmas is addictive: and like any addictive behaviour hopes to avoid, or at least postpone, connecting with ‘lack’ in some form or other. But, of course, over-spending, over-consuming, over-anything at all, brings with it its own suffering. And this is the suffering we are responsible for. Which also means – and this is the up-side – that we can relieve it. We can actually let ourselves out of this self-imposed prison and celebrate Christmas any way we want – so long as we’re able to face the feelings we might have been trying to avoid or postpone in the first place. And I say ‘we’ because this is my yearly challenge too.
So, my Christmas wish is something like this: ‘I wish for you a gentle, un-driven, Christmas; a time to slow down and breathe.’