In consumer Britain, Christmas is the time of year when more money is handed over to retailers than at any other.
I was walking past a John Lewis store on Thursday, where the window display comprised entirely of a Christmas theme. On the glass was the phrase: “Everything you need for your home this Christmas”.
Which made me think. What does one actually need for their home, not just this Christmas, but any Christmas?
We have become such a nation of consumers, a habit maintained even amongst the worst economic times many of us have experienced, that seeing a phrase like that will only make us start to think of a whole list of things which we should buy.
The Christmas tree – a real one, which will see just a single festive season.
Decorations – bigger and better than last year’s.
Candles – larger and more “Christmassy” than the ones we already have on the fireplace.
Chocolates – that big box with festive packaging.
Whether celebrated for religious or faith reasons, because it’s a time of year when familes have an annual get together, or simply you have time off from work, it’s nice to add a bit of colour to your home for the festive season.
But the question remains: How much do we really need to buy and spend at Christmas? How much of what is spent ends up being wasted? And how much do we need this Christmas which we don’t already have from a previous year? (ie decorations)
If we’re all honest, the answer is not much. Not much at all.