Excess

Here we go again. It’s that time of year. The time when we celebrate with excess. What is supposed to be a happy time of year seems to become stressful. People race around shopping for a crazy list of friends and relatives they just have to buy something for. Exactly what they don’t know, just something, anything. I’m guessing someone is buying all the piles of “gift” ideas currently crammed on the shelves in all the shops, the microwavable slippers, the beauty bath-time sets, the executive desk top stress-busting toys. Certainly our home town is jammed with shoppers, all striding around laden with plastic bags looking like they might just scream.

We buy food as if the shops will never open again or nuclear war may break out. People are spending hundreds of pounds on food and drink for just one day, and sometimes hundreds of pounds they don’t even have. And I guess our economy has come to depend on it. Without our excessive spending at Christmas, the ringing of the tills, all is doom and gloom for the year ahead. But can we really eat all that food? Trolleys piled high like something from a modern day medieval banquet. I wonder how much will be thrown away.

I’m no Scrooge, honestly! I don’t count myself amongst the Christmas crazy but I love the excitement, especially now we have children. We buy gifts, mainly for the children, but also for a few adults in our family who just wouldn’t feel like Christmas was Christmas without them. Opening a raft of presents wouldn’t make Christmas day any better for me. It’s the other things about it I love. Waking up and listening to my girls shouting that Santa has come and left an ashy footprint on the hearth, cooking a roast lunch, watching a Christmas film, having the fire lit all day, playing games, doing a treasure hunt, wearing a paper hat.

I love this definition of excess, “the state of exceeding what is normal or sufficient”. Normal? Obviously December 25th is never going to be a normal day (in most Western homes at least!). But there must be a point at which we reach sufficient (sufficient gifts, sufficient food, sufficient spending) and maybe we just need to try and stop when we get there.