Christmas materialism

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Leo Govan

Leo GovanI must admit that I do like Christmas. The glorious taste of mulled wine; brandy butter sliding invitingly down a Christmas pudding; Cliff Richard songs being overplayed on the telly…

I even unexpectedly enjoyed the showing of “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (I’m sure I don’t remember quite so many Nazi soldiers being in it and don’t get me started on their ridiculous mission that surely would’ve compromised any genuine invasion plans for Britain… but I digress).

There is then the wonderful moment of opening up the presents. From this point onwards any discrepancy between the various efforts made by people is laid bare for all the family to see has passed and the relaxation can begin.

We attempted to head this off somewhat by opting for a Secret Santa approach and a clearly defined value limit and all in all it seemed to go rather well. Of course the kiddies received all and sundry with more colourful pieces of plastic then they could ever be truly grateful for.

I am so certain that when I were a lad [dons flatcap] there may have been one relatively “big” present that was something that I truly believed I wanted and a few odds and ends (like sweets and stuff) to pad out the stocking.

And I guess this is where I get a bit sad. I’ve never been a particularly materialistic kind of person (at least outside of my childhood where I always believed more stuff = happiness) and some of the big ticket items that are presented to people slightly depresses me.

Everyone knows at least one person that constantly talks about acquiring more things as if this is the Holy Grail to happiness. It’s nice to have goals but when it’s related purely to materialism it brings a tiny metaphorical tear to my eye.

Don’t get me wrong though, I like stuff. In my time I’ve spent a small fortune on guitars and associated equipment, recording and home studio kit, bikes and gym/sports club memberships.

I’m not immune to gadgets either with a famous computer manufacturer’s mobile phone that is my constant companion. But for 90% of this I like to think that I have got more out of it than the price of the items… my bike gets me around to work and saves me from jumping in the car for every journey; my guitars have allowed me to learn to play a musical instrument.

Even my phone has allowed me to engage and compliment the activities I like doing (I have an app that locates and maps your position on an Ordnance Survey map – was very handy for checking my position when in the Brecon Beacons!).

While I don’t think my approach is the most utopian it’s certainly something that I will try and encourage in the Small Human. I can already see that we don’t get anywhere near the amount of stuff that other children seem to receive. Sure she needs some toys to keep her occupied but at 8 months old she probably won’t be able to appreciate a mountain of gifts three times the size of her.