An Altruistic Advent

Advent Calendar

A month of multiple birthdays, November always passes me by in a bit of a celebratory blur. Although having a birthday season is fabulous, it always proves quite detrimental to all the good intentions I have for the festive season, with my dreams of creating handmade Christmas decorations and gifts slowly evaporating into the ether. Once the chaos of December begins, there’s generally no hope; my creative visions disappear, and, like so many other people, I get caught up in the race to be ready on time.

The fact is, the ever-growing commercialisation of Christmas means that we are often so absorbed in the idea of buying the latest gadget/must-have present for our loved ones, that we forget the true spirit of the season. As lovely as the sentiment in John Lewis’ ‘Bear and the Hare’ advert is (yes, I did shed a tear at it!), it is ultimately just another marketing tool, the gift of an alarm clock from a hare to a hibernating bear acting as a subtle reminder to consumers that the crazy countdown to Christmas has indeed begun.

The Hare and the Bear

What the advert positively highlights, however, is the notion of thoughtful gifting- giving the people we love the things they most desire/need to make them happy. As someone who tends to appreciate sentiment and consideration over material things, I always believe that Christmas is a time to show others that we care in whatever capacity we can- even if it’s just by wishing someone a happy Christmas. Yet I also get sucked into buying unnecessary gifts for the people I love because it’s quick and easy, rather than giving something more meaningful.

Without sounding like too much of a philanthropist, what I really want to advocate this year (and every year really) is not just buying or making thoughtful gifts, but being thoughtful per se. In a world where so many people can’t afford to purchase gifts from shops like John Lewis, it’d be wonderful if every person/family could do something kind for others, or for a cause they feel strongly about, during Advent. Whether you ask an elderly neighbour if they need anything from the supermarket; buy some charity Christmas cards; do some fundraising carol-singing; or give a couple of tins of dog food to your local animal shelter, any act of kindness will be appreciated by others.

Carol singers 2

There are a multitude of good deeds that people can do without breaking the bank or committing too much time. After doing a little research, I actually discovered a blog (named the same as my post) in which there are reams of amazing ideas to help you have your own altruistic advent, so consult this if you require a little push in the right direction:

http://altruisticadvent.tumblr.com/

You don’t need to do something outlandish or expensive; you don’t even need to mention it to others if you don’t wish to. Just remember to try to spread some festive joy this Christmas, and put a little bit of sparkle back into someone else’s existence-  even just by smiling at everyone you see.

I certainly intend to.

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6 thoughts on “An Altruistic Advent

  1. I totally agree – the media push us to all more hysterical buying that is so unnecessary. Helping others is a way of really capturing the essence of Christmas.

  2. It is, but so many people just get sucked into the consumerist world we live in, spending ridiculous amounts of money on totally unnecessary things. I wish everyone felt the same as you do!

    • My birthday’s at the end of November and that’s bad enough, so I understand how you feel; everything gets eclipsed by increasingly grander events! ‘Tis a strange old season.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.If you haven’t celebrated it already, have a lovely birthday!

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