The Art of Giving….(or not)!
A guest post by Jenny Timms of Vitreus Art
A few days ago I spent a very pleasant evening at my first Christmas Shopping Evening. Mulled wine and mince pies, Christmas tree and decorations – all in place to make those coming through the door get into the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. Already I hear you cry… It’s only November!!
For me personally Christmas should be about being with your family and friends, eating lots for food, playing silly family games and possibly having one or two glasses too many of Gran’s sweet sherry.
But, for so many it’s all about the ‘bad’ advertising running on the TV (and this year seems particularly bad too me). The kids making a list of all the nasty plastic toys, that will probably just about make it into the New Year, if the batteries last that long; the latest electronic gadgets, the most expensive perfumes and the list goes on.
What happened to the wonderful jumpers granny used to make and wrap? I hear children talking with each other about the most expensive gifts (yes, more than one!) on their list, and they’ll put them at the top, ‘coz mum and dad think what’s at the top is the most important!
Mum and Dad are stressing because most of the gifts on the kids’ lists are around £100 or more each, and they still have the turkey to buy. The children give little or no thought to the cost, it’s just the latest thing in the playground and they must have it.
So what to do?
Say ‘No you can’t have it’, and potentially ruin Christmas because you will ultimately upset the children and they will sulk all day?
Or buy the gift on the top of the list and have a semi-happy day because they have received at least one gift on the list?
Well, for me personally I would say ‘No’; they’ll get over it (bah humbug, I hear you cry) – honestly they do, mine did. And because of my saying ‘NO’, they have learnt the importance of what Christmas means in our house – family time, not purchasing power!
All of my personal views don’t mean you can’t buy gifts. Indeed, I do buy gifts for the family, but they are gifts that have thought associated with them – not advertising power! Hence why I spent last Thursday evening at the Hertfordshire Craft Collective at their Christmas Shopping evening – it’s a place that makes and sells some lovely arts and crafts and interesting vintage fashion.
Also, over the next few weeks in the run up to the ‘Big Day’ – why not take time away from the High Street and visit some of the wonderful Arts & Craft Events that spring up at this time of year.
At these events you will find art, craft and gifts being sold by the artists and crafts people that actually made them – these are not items that have been mass produced or mass advertised, but lovingly created with time, energy and creative thought by an artist.
So before you hit the High Street or the online shopping button – think, what do your gift ideas say about you?
Advertising power, children power – Do they have you in their grip?
Or thoughtfulness and family times – special gifts that you have gone to the trouble to find?
I will now leave you to ponder this.
And to help divert you for the High Street may I recommend you visit the St Albans Christmas Art & Gift Fair on the 3rd December –10am to 5pm?
This is an event organised by Herts Visual Arts and you’re sure to see a wealth of tasty craft and art work, handy for Christmas!
Mike and I will be there with our stained glass Christmas decorations too!
The Old Town Hall, Marketplace, St. Albans AL3 5DJ. www.hvaf.org.uk
And another little suggestion – if you must go to the High Street, why not take a look in some of the lovely arts and craft galleries that have sprung up recently?
Take a look here for some handy places near our studios to visit –
http://www.vitreus-art.co.uk/buy.html – you’ll find them listed on the right-hand side of the page.
And dare I say it before the 1st December?! Happy Christmas to you and your family.
P.S. To those of you that are religious I apologise, I do know that Christmas has more important values for you – but this blog is written with the world of consumerism in mind.