It’s now the festive season. A time where many experience mixed emotions. Most of us may have our Christmas wish lists at the ready, filled to the brim with gift ideas and stocking fillers – conjuring as many wants and needs together as is necessary.
But, despite how joyous and generous you may feel, is the greatest gift you could receive at this moment, the one you’ve always wanted? Or is the true gift the positive people in your life who surround you?
“Family is family.” – Linda Linney
The rise of Christmas adverts that we look forward to viewing in mid December, play up the whole idea that the holidays is about supporting each other, selflessly giving and enjoying the company of those around you. Which, many of you would probably agree with! Is this not what our ancestors did?
No era in history, however, has influenced the way in which we celebrate Christmas, quite as much as the Victorians. Noone had heard of Christmas cards, crackers and trees until Victoria’s reign started in 1837. Even so, the idea that Christmas calls for giving to those in need was encouraged by sentimental do-gooders like Charles Dickens who wrote books like “Christmas Carol”, published in 1843. This actually encouraged rich Victorians to redistribute their wealth by giving money and gifts to the poor.
On the other hand, perhaps the act of gift-giving is, in fact, to spend more time with loved ones. Appreciate and celebrate those with you, those who have come before you and those to come after you. It is a time to reflect on the year, reminisce and share stories. Which helps to create a shared sense of belonging and also happiness.
You may have seen or heard many stories of family coming together, even at the most unexpected times. Television shows such as Long Lost Families and even articles like this one. When hearing stories like these which emphasise the value of family, it can remind you of the importance and significance of family Especially when emotions run high.
Nor a social construction or the sole need for blood relatives, family is truly a gift that is something to be cherished, whether it is the past, the present or the future. Although we may appreciate and value family at any time of year, the festive season can remind us more than most, of the importance and enable us to celebrate and reflect on our heritage and who we are.
What does family mean to you?