I've had an intresting comment from Maxz which you can read under the Only 9 Days To Go post I put on here a few days ago.
I agree whole-heartedly that Christmas should be about more than the presents but that would be in an ideal world and we all know damn fine we don't live in one of those...if we did we wouldn't be having this discussion would we?
I love the Christmas story. Mary, Joe, Baby Jesus, the donkey, the wise men, angels and kings...it's a universal tale we all know well but I am not religious. The faith I did have that there was a higher being was tarnished when I saw a family suffer the devastation of watching their Mum die slowly of cancer...a good, kind, religious woman, who held her faith in Christ up like a beacon for others to see. My faith was crushed when I lost my Daddy...a big, brave, funny, loving man with everything to live for who was stolen with no warning. My faith was wiped clean away when I stood by a graveside watching a young couple bury their first born child, a new, innocent life who had done nothing to deserve being taken. So I no longer bow my head when asked to pray to God/Jesus. I no longer believe he loves and protects me. I now prefer instead to believe in Guardian Angels who guide us through life, who help us enjoy the good times and pull us through the bad.
I hold no grudge or issue with anyone who believes anything different from me...each to their own. Lee has her faith and it works for her...I may not share it but I'm glad she has something that she can hold on to.
Maxz made the point that he was disturbed about the amount of gifts that landed in my home at Christmas, that I may be better off sharing my "excesses" with others around me, that maybe my priorities are wrong and I am spoiling my kids. Fair comment. I know there are areas of the world with devastating poverty and that South Africa is one such place which does have problems of this kind but I live in Scotland...a part of the 3rd richest country in the world and I know damn fine that what appeared as gifts in my home on 25th December was pretty much what appeared in houses all over Scotland (and the rest of the UK) on the same day. You only have to look at the news to know that...Scots spent £13 million pounds in the week running up to Christmas.
I make no apology to anyone for spoiling my kids at Christmas. I work to afford it and every item was bought and paid for. My kids are a blessing. I count myself lucky to have been given both of them and I take my job of Mum very seriously. My kids get what I can give them but they also know the value of what they get...they have rules and if during the year they want something they know they need to earn it. They have manners, they know they need to respect their elders, I explain how lucky they are while we watch news pictures of others less fortunate, I make sure they know the world doesn't owe them a living and I make damn sure that when they don't want to finish a meal they know others are dying of hunger. I get so much joy and laughter out of my kids...and if I spoil them at Christmas then so be it! Show me a parent who doesn't or who wouldn't if they had the means??
I alone cannot change the mass poverty in the world. If I could I would. My giving my kids one present each at Christmas will not change the world. As for donating my "excesses" to others less fortunate in my neighbourhood...like I said I live in Scotland...in a small village, full of middle class homes, with neat gardens and well kept homes, where almost every home has 2 cars in the drive so I can't see that they'd need a food parcel from me! Don't get me wrong...we have poor people in Scotland...that's the reason I donate to charity, but we also have a whole host of people who are poor through choice. Women in their 30's who have never had a job....not because they can't get one but because they are happy living off the state with numerous children they can't afford to keep running around their feet. Men who are happy to let others keep them while they father children left, right and centre...do they deserve my pity and my help? In any event they get it because people like me and every other working person in the land who pays tax is paying to keep them anyway.
I'm not perfect...none of us are but I do my bit for others...only I choose who, when and where to give my help. I do not see sending gifts to Lee and her kids as charity or help, I do not look at it as sharing my excesses...she doesn't need either...she is richer than most in a way material minded people will never understand. I sent gifts to put a smile on the faces of 3 kids who have taken a few knocks this year to let them know they have friends in other places who were thinking about them. I sent Lee a gift to let her know the same, to hopefully put a smile back on her face and let her know she has a friend way over here with an open door and an open mind...if she needs it. Lee is trying to make a better life for herself and her kids and that is to be commended...the power of the internet is that it allows you to "meet" people you never would in normal life...as far as I'm concerned she is my neighbour and yes I gave them gifts too!
So while some may believe Christmas should be about a little gift each and sharing excesses and others think it should be about Christ...I believe it is all about family and friends...extended or otherwise. After all the story is about the birth of a new family member. So I'll keep spoiling mine at Christmas and any other damn time I feel like it without guilt over the rest of the world.
I have only one fear in life and that is regret...
I will enjoy what I have while I can...spoiling my kids, travelling, buying too many shoes, eating too much. For who knows when it will all come to an end? I may wake up tomorrow with nothing...or I may not wake up tomorrow at all.