Cllr Karen Chilvers

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Christmas, a time to care?

by Cllr Karen Chilvers on 4 December, 2010

Twitter has been full today of talk about a Daily Fail article (I’m not a fan….) and I have just had a chance to read it. It’s from a well off woman who wants to cancel Christmas because she has fallen on hard times (only bringing home £2000pcm & her husband’s salary) and can no longer shop in Harrods and spend £50 on velvet & silk ribbons for her presents, can’t afford £90 per ticket for a Christmas theatre outing, is struggling to afford her second home in The Cotswolds and can’t afford an iPad for her daughter or a violin for her godson (a Stradivarius I assume).

Wow. When a recession hits, it hits hard doesn’t it? I defy anyone not to find this article crass in the extreme.

But, back here in the real world, I have found a different attitude to Christmas. Everyone I know is being cautious, perhaps because work is slow or their job is under threat and it is really nice. My friends and I have set a £10 limit on presents and family have decided on a “one present” rule – no need for loads of silly extras that cause a quick laugh and then end up stuffed in a cupboard for years. I love this way of present buying – why? Because it means that a lot of thought goes into what is actually bought and it takes the pressure off everyone.

We have largely shopped this way in my family though since my parents split up, leaving my mum to look after two daughters aged 17 and 14. So many Christmases I don’t remember when we had plenty, but the one I do remember is the one where the three of us set a limit of £15 each and really put tonnes of thought into it. We were happy, and it only cost £30 in presents (and a tin of tuna for our cat)!

Perhaps this is a wake up call for everyone – time to think about what is important and realise that maybe, just maybe, what matters is not to be found in an iPad?


2 Responses

  1. Linda Price says:

    How sad if this woman really believes that it takes velvet ribbons to make her family’s Christmas. I have had many Christmases where I really did not know where the next penny was coming from but, with the help and support of my two lovely girls we made it through. We’ve had some rough times as a family for many reasons but we always loved and cared for each other. That to me is worth more than gold. Money and big presents do not in themselves mean anything if they are not given with love. I know I have passed this onto my daughters and in turn my little grandson is being taught to be a loving and caring person and that makes my heart glad. I hope the lady in question is not too disappointed that her gifts may not come up to scratch but will she be sitting alone on Christmas Day because she did not give what her family really want – her love and time. I’d rather have a cuddle from my little Freddie than a diamond bracelet any time.

  2. tonybrett says:

    I say it so often – happiness and fulfilment are provided by our relationships with those around us. They are not provided by possessions or power.

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