Celebrations and shopping

By Bernadet Bijsterbosch.
It is getting to be Christmastime, and long before that day comes we are busy with Christmas receptions, Christmas drinks and Christmas parties. It will take until mid- January before everything is back to normal. To be honest, I love Christmas, but I also love to go back to work after a week.

We work very internationally, and so I get invited to many celebrations and parties all over the world. Of course, I celebrate my Christmas in December with my family, which is always a joy, with lots of presents, lots of food and lots of love. Living in Spain, I found out that they celebrate at their Christmas parties, with presents, on January 6 because of the three kings in the Christmas story.

I get new invitations of celebrations every year, and one of them was Black Friday in the United States, the day after Thanksgiving for cheap shopping. Suddenly, I find shopping offers coming my way from many different countries.

Last year, I found offers for products connected to parties I never thought about. I got a special offer for sausage and beer because of Oktoberfest in Germany.
For my job as publisher, I was invited to a St. Patrick’s Day party in the South of France. It was a joy to be there, and a fun party it was.

I got the best wishes from my sweet Chinese friends for the Chinese New Year, with a beautiful drawing in calligraphy and pictures of roses, money and gold, a heart-warming suggestion. My favourite mailbox exposures to international celebrations are the pictures I got of Holi, the famous Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the Festival of Colours or the Festival of Love. Seeing these beautiful colours makes me want to be there.

I love these celebrations because I think nowadays every celebration of love, music, food or friendship is a plus in this angry world. But the businesswoman in me can’t help but wonder if all these invitations to global celebrations in my mailbox aren’t just a great excuse for marketing exposure and an interesting sales push for the retail industry. Too much shopping, too many holiday offers of luxury presents.

Is that wrong? Maybe not, but I have the feeling that we are slowly slipping away from the historical, traditional or religious meaning behind the celebration.

So I hope to do better this year. I still like to remember the meaning of Christmas and understand other global celebrations, and I enjoy the sweet love at every party. But I can’t help but enjoy my wonderful presents as well.

Is it OK to do both?