So, as we all are more than aware of now, Christmas 2011 is officially over. We have all written, probably a number of times already, about our Christmas traditions, the kind of Christmas we just had, and indeed, our New Year’s Resolutions. Yet, I have chosen to write another post about Christmas. Apologies to those who are fed up of reading such posts but I promise it won’t be a list of my presents or the delicious food I ate over the festive period. This post is more of a reflection on Christmas and what I expected from a recession fuelled Ireland.
I could go on forever in posts like this so I decided to break this post into short points to save you from my rambling.
Christmas in Ireland is being ruined by consumerism. Unfortunately I think this is very much the case. Having spent half of the Christmas season in Germany, the only country in Europe which is actually doing well at the moment, I was shocked to see their attitude towards Christmas. There was no mad rush in shops, no extravagant spending which in reality couldn’t be afforded. Instead, Christmas was more about enjoying the festivities. The shops were quiet in comparison to the markets outside where people enjoyed food and drink with friends and bought local made gifts, something which people Ireland really should do where possible. When back in Ireland, I felt an immense pressure to spend and to my shame felt put out that I didn’t have as many new items as I would like.
Speeding is still as robust as ever. Carrying on from my last point, for a country in the height of recession, I found spending to be manic. The Celtic Tiger attitude is still within us; the attitude of want, want, want. Of course it is completely the choice of the individual what they choose to spend their money on and how much they choose to spend, it is the pressure which is put on us to spend is the problem. This comes from others, from the retail market and from restaurants which in my opinion have lowered their quality without lowering their prices.
Christmas cheer is falling rapidly. This is understandable among people as the recession is enough to drag anyone down. What I was extremely disappointed in was the lack of festivities around the city in terms of music and decorations. The décor in Cork City this year was extremely poor in my opinion and I feel that the least that could have been done was to put up some extra lights around the city in an attempt to lift some spirits.
I am aware this post is making me sound like The Grinch but this is not my intention as I truly had one of the best Christmases this year. This was because I felt I was able to look beyond material happiness and was just extremely happy to be at home with my family and friends and enjoying the true meaning of Christmas.