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It’s all too easy at this time of year, and the media don’t help much either, to get carried away and equate the amount of money that you spend with the success of Christmas.

In recent years commercialism has confidently informed us that the way to show love is to buy more. To this end, advertisements abound with the promise of shiny new mobile phones, fancy beauty appliances, the latest gadgets, designer clothes and perfumes, all tempting us in with their promises of acceptance, fulfilment and joy.

Christmas values

But the more cynical amongst us, me included, know that all this is just an illusion sold to us by the materialistic, consumerist society that we live in. And the rub here is that in my opinion, the real Christmas values – giving, sharing, helping, respect, forgiveness, family, faith, love and being grateful, are being slowly eroded.

There’s no disputing the fact that as humans we are social. So surely to get our deeper psychological and emotional needs met, we should be forming deep bonds and connections with others. Forget the amount of money we spend, the real gift is surely spending quality time with loved ones and appreciating the gift of presence, not presents.

Rebalance the Christmas equation

This Christmas I am taking a stand and hoping to escape the trap of consumerism if only for a day. So, to do my bit, I am hoping, albeit in a small way to address this imbalance. Not only am I requesting fewer gifts, it’s good to have a lighter footprint on our planet, but I also want to do something that will:

– Give me a sense of achievement and purpose

– Help me to feel part of a community

– Make me feel better about myself (improve self-esteem, wellbeing and confidence)

– Increase my sense of self-satisfaction by giving back some time

– Be intrinsically rewarding

The power of volunteering

This Christmas, my family celebrations will take place on Boxing Day, leaving Christmas Day clear for me to volunteer and help people on what can be an exceedingly difficult day for many. I am currently looking for options local to me in the Daventry area, so if you know somewhere that is looking for extra assistance, please get in touch.

Did you know that volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It reduces stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings by releasing dopamine. And when you spend time in service to others, you feel a greater sense of meaning and appreciation. Plus, if you’ve never heard of ‘emotional contagion’ then read on. If a person is feeling positive and enjoying their role as giver, this spreads to other people who also can find themselves more likely to give as well.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and wish you a very merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. Watch this space for big news about Total Spectrum and what’s happening in 2024.

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