Yesterday I lad the Brigade Service at Church on the theme of “A Different Christmas”. We had a quiz based around the following Christmas statistics (source) and then reflected on them and what they say about how we ‘celebrate’ Christmas:
- £600 million – spent on decorations annually
- 2 million metres – of fairy lights put up each year
- 15 hours – average time spent Christmas shopping (presents only, not food)
- 8000 tonnes – of wrapping paper discarded (enough to wrap island of Guernsey)
- 46 million – toys thrown away each year
- £1.2 billion – value of unwanted gifts each year
- 64% of over 45s said – they felt Christmas had ‘lost its magic’
- 50% of teachers said – their school would be incorporating a non-Christian Christmas celebration
I mentioned that I’ve had two conversations since Christmas with young people whose excitement about presents was bursting out of them – and they weren’t typical gifts. One was bought an alternative gift by her mum which fed a donkey for a month, and the other had bought a gift for her mum which would provide dinner for 100 school children. We talked about the benefits of different ‘alternative’ gift catalogues such as Living Gifts from Tearfund, Great Gifts from World Vision, Unwrapped from Oxfam and Present Aid from Christian Aid, before moving on to consider the needs of those around us. We then spent about 10-15 minutes in small groups considering the question:
How can we live differently and meet the practical needs of our neighbours next Christmas?
Next we discussed the thoughts of the groups, making notes as we went. The Amicus members will be considering the feedback in September, and we’ll seek to encourage everyone in the Church to put the ideas into practice at the end of the year with the intention of enjoying a different Christmas. We’ll revisit the topic in our October Parade Service and kick things off.