Wishing our lives away…

As I was browsing the shelves in my local supermarket last weekend I happened to spot a nice little selection of chocolate reindeer. Beside them were gigantic tins of Quality Street. This can only mean one thing – Christmas is coming!

Except, unless I’m mistaken, it’s only September. Kids have only just gone back to school, and we haven’t had Halloween yet. Surely, if anything, the shops should be full of pumpkins and witches?!

I feel like every year is getting shorter, and people are in too much of a rush to move on to the next big thing. We all know Creme Eggs will be available to buy before Christmas Eve and, as much as I do love them and wish they were available all year round, that’s just wrong.

Let me compare England to Japan for a moment. In Japan, there is a very distinct changing of the seasons, and this is reflected in the goods available in the shops. But there is never any overlap. It’s simply not possible to buy Halloween goods and Christmas goods at the same time in Japan. In England, I sometimes wonder if it might actually be possible to buy reduced Halloween goods, Christmas goods, and early Easter goods all at the same time – late November, perhaps?!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting excited about Christmas already. I’ve seen some lovely Christmas cards in the shops, and I’m already imagining where I’m going to put my Christmas tree in my new flat. But I think we need to slow down. If we’re not careful, we’re going to forget to enjoy the moment completely.

So, what am I looking forward to right now? Moving house (again!) next weekend. That’s just about as far into the future as I want to go at the moment.

If you can’t help get excited, there are:

35 days until Halloween

90 days until Christmas

198 days until Easter

(Image source: I think I received it in an email once, but I don’t know whose image it is originally.)

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Christmas spirit?

“Bah, humbug!” No, that’s too strong
‘Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year’s been a busy blur
Don’t think I have the energy
To add to my already mad rush
Just ’cause it’s ’tis the season.

The above is a quote from ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses, a song I was appropriately reminded of this evening. I’ve been out finishing my Christmas shopping today and, while it is true to say that Christmas is my favourite holiday, I do often find myself wondering about the true spirit of Christmas.

I was raised in a traditional way – Christmas is a time to give presents to your nearest and dearest.  Buying presents is something I enjoy – it’s a great feeling when you find that perfect item for someone you really care about; something you just know will make them smile.  But what about all those other presents you have to buy?  The presents you have to give out of duty?  Or the presents you have to find for the friend who already has everything?  I can’t help wondering if somewhere along the lines Christmas has gone wrong.

To be honest, I found a whole bunch of things in the shops today that I would have really liked to receive for Christmas.  But I won’t get them, because people who buy me presents don’t know what I want, or aren’t in Japan to see what I see.  I’m not complaining, I’m happy for anything I receive for Christmas, and I would be happy receiving nothing, but I can’t help thinking “Wouldn’t it make more sense if we all bought ourselves the things we want instead of buying for others?”.

Would that take the fun out of Christmas?  I don’t think so… Personally, I LOVE shopping.  So, if I was allowed to go Christmas shopping for myself, that would be awesome!  Especially here in Japan, where most shops gift wrap (beautifully) for free.  I could buy myself all the things I fancy,  have them all wrapped, then go home and put them under my Christmas tree!

I think as we get older it becomes more difficult to buy presents.  My friends have jobs and houses now, and they can buy what they want for themselves.  I’ve known them for so long that it’s hard to think of something new.  And when you add having to post it to another country into that mix, well, it can be hard to find something good.  So, I say we start a revolution!  Take Christmas back and keep it for yourself… 😀