As soon as we walked in I knew it was a mistake. Basket in one hand two fed up girls tagging along we fought through the crowds in the supermarket. All I needed was some milk, tea bags and washing powder but the aisles were loaded with mayhem, chaos, retail anarchy, people queuing, trolleys loaded high with Christmas booty. We didn't make it to the teabags. We turned and fled empty handed.
Tonight I thought of the unbridled lavishness that Christmas unleashes as people over spend to over eat for just one day, a day in which they don't even believe. I thought of the excess that Christmas has become as I stood on the doorstep of a family handing over a donated Christmas hamper. I thought of the festive overload that we buy into to have a good Christmas as I looked into the one small room where this family live. I thought of the 'merry' gluttonous overload that we condone as I looked at the three half plastic bags of shopping in the doorway. She catches me looking at the bags on the floor.
"I've just got some things together for Christmas... but this is so helpful"
I had to deal with the lump in my throat as her eyes and smile communicated everything, as I left she pushed a carrier bag into my hand with a bottle of grape juice. "It's our culture ... our way of saying thanks...!"
I get home and look at our bulging cupboards waiting for Christmas to start and to set them free. I feel painfully humbled.