Whilst Black Friday appeals to our base instinct for a bargain; most of the big retailers and their adverts at Christmas try to embody those wonderful lines from The Grinch ” What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” (despite the obvious objective to get us to spend more at their stores and websites).
Think John Lewis’ Man on The Moon (buy an extra present to give to someone lonely); Sainsburys’ First World War advert last year (chocolate can solve all problems, even war); you might also have seen German supermarket Edeka’s guilt trip of an advert this year where a grandfather has to fake his own funeral to bring his family together or the Dolmio-style puppets advertising the Spanish lottery Christmas draw (OK, these all made me cry).
For children this time of year is often filled with treats, Christmas parties, sparkling fairy lights and excitement. Trying to remind them that maybe Christmas means a little bit more can be an uphill battle.
At Rainbows, Brownies & Guides, as well as Christmas crafts, performing at the Scout & Guide Carol service (Collection for our local food bank), and our end of term celebrations, we wrapped soaps in flannels and decorated them as reindeer (Thanks Aldbourne Brownies for the idea). Next Friday we will deliver them to a local dementia care home.
Other units have been asking girls to donate pocket money for those less fortunate, filling shoe boxes with small gifts for children impacted by domestic violence, carol singing to raise funds for charities and many other community action projects that remind the girls that not everyone is as lucky as them and that they can make a real difference.
So we can be proud that we offer our children a chance to understand the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not some over commercialised, overly sentimental, idealised version of family life. It’s not about turkey or goose, how crispy your roast potatoes are, or what we lovingly refer to at camp as SPS, sponge pudding syndrome, that bloated feeling you get after eating so much that you feel you may never move again. It’s not even about the wonder of small children as they realise Father Christmas really did visit, and the reindeer left carrot tops on the floor as proof. It’s a chance, not limited to Christmas, to help those less fortunate than ourselves and to spread a little happiness.